Discover these fascinating day trips from San Francisco
In an incomparable landscape of rolling hills overlooking a dazzling emerald-green lake, San Francisco is close to some of California’s most stunning seaside towns and natural attractions. So many great attractions are within easy reach to the north, south, and east of San Francisco, from a 30-minute drive along the coast to a 4-hour drive to Yosemite, which is absolutely worth a journey. Let’s take a look at the top-day trips from San Francisco.
Day trips from San Francisco.
Here is the list of day trips from San Francisco.
- Yosemite National Park
- Lands End
- Santa Cruz
Sausalito is a fast walk, hop and leap over the Golden Gate Strait from San Francisco, making it one of the easiest excursions the Bay Area has to offer. The Sausalito Ferry will take you to the base of this waterfront area, where you will be embraced by leafy hillsides, lush, bay-front paths and plenty of nautical charm. Start by exploring the amenity-packed Bridgeway Promenade and then finish at Cavalli Point for prime Golden Gate views. This is one of the most interesting day trips from San Francisco.
- Yosemite National Park
The magnificent beauty of Yosemite astounded all, from landscape painters of the 19th century to famed photographer Ansel Adams to naturalist John Muir, who described this amazing place “where nature will cure to cheer and offer power to both body and soul.” A majestic corner of the High Sierra Mountains, the Yosemite Valley features landscapes so beautiful that it is a marvel to think that evolution accidentally formed the landscape. During the last Ice Age, glaciers sculpted granite monoliths with sheer rock walls lining the seven-mile-long Yosemite Gorge. Awe-inspiring scenery is a world of its own, with beautiful surprises like 1,000-foot waterfalls, crystal-clear streams, flower-white meadows, and old-growth sequoia forests. This unspool wilderness is home to more than 250 bird species, black bears, coyotes, chipmunks, endangered bighorn sheep, and other animals. This is one of the best day trips from San Francisco.
- Lands End
You don’t need to wander far from downtown for a beautiful, wave-shaped coastline and invigorating walk. Residents want to take the bracing trails around the Lands End. Start at the Sutra Baths, a 19th-century former ocean spa, and take the Lands End Trail to stir the lookout spots and the cypress groves. Detour to the Lands End Maze, a piece of public art poised over the foaming water, press east along the road. From here, travel to Baker Beach for some of the city’s finest views of the Golden Gate Bridge, or plunge south to Richmond for tasty restaurants and Russian delis, such as New World Market – a trove of pickles, sweets and Eastern European wine. This is one of the most unique day trips from San Francisco.
You’ll discover the next big love in Oakland with a hive of edgy nightlife, pretension-free bars and outdoor cultural activities. De-stress after a busy day with a trip to Oakland on the first Friday, a festival of art, music and cuisine held every month. Every Friday, a party is hosted at the Oakland Museum in California, with food trucks, live music and an outdoor bar in the gardens of the museum. Weekend activities include a range of farmers ‘ markets, such as the Jack London Square Farmer’s Market and the Temescal Farmer’s Market (both on Sunday mornings). On sunny days, take a walk around Lake Merritt and, on every night of the week, drink liquor ice (vodka, grapefruit juice and a wedge of grapefruit placed on top) at Café Van Klee. This is one of the most sought out day trips from San Francisco for food lovers.
- Santa Cruz
Just 70 miles south (a two-hour drive) of San Francisco on the picturesque Monterey Bay is a balmy beach-town playground with a carefree atmosphere. Santa Cruz attracts a lot of visitors to its historic Beach Boardwalk amusement park throughout the summer. Fronting the Beach Boardwalk is Main Beach (also known as Boardwalk Beach), a large coastline with shallow waters suitable for diving, body-boarding and paddle-boarding. Main Beach is also a perfect place to sunbathe, create sandcastles and play beach volleyball. Many isolated beaches, such as Sunset State Beach and Natural Bridges Beach, offer calm and serenity. Surfers go to Cowell Beach, or if they’re very seasoned, to Manresa Beach, which has incredible swells that only the strongest wave riders can manage. Other top attractions include the Santa Cruz Mission, founded in the late 18th century by Spanish missionaries; the downtown area for shopping and eating; and the Fishing Pier for watching sea lions, fishing or eating in a seafood restaurant. The Roaring Camp Railroad is an enjoyable experience for families with children. This steam train takes travelers for an adventurous trip through the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains which makes it one of the most interesting day trips from San Francisco.
From UC Berkeley sporting meets to funky shops up and down Telegraph Lane, Berkeley delivers a wide range of attractions in a compact bundle. Residents go to Wat Mongkolratanaram on Sunday mornings to enjoy the famous brunches served in this popular Thai temple. Buy tokens, then follow the queues for pad thai, green curry and Khanom Krok (miniature coconut-milk and rice-meat pancakes). For peace of mind, go to Tilden Park for a dip in Lake Anza, or climb up to Grizzly Peak for an epic sunrise or sunset.