There are a lot of things to do, like when you are in San Francisco. The busiest waterfront in the region, Fisherman’s Wharf, a famous former home of Al Capone, Alcatraz Island, the ultimate and iconic landmark that is the Golden Gate, and the vibrant neighborhood of Union Square and Chinatown – the days can be spent sunbathe languidly along one of its serene beaches or trek through the rugged terrain of the Santa Cruz Mountains. San Francisco is also blessed with spectacular scenery, an abundance of vineyards and wineries, and boasts small towns and big cities just a short charter bus ride away.
Located just outside of San Francisco’s bustling city center are mysterious caverns, challenging state parks, deep canyons, rock climbing, redwood forests, campgrounds, ranches, beaches, and nature filled with adventure. After all, if you’ve been to the Golden Gate, Alcatraz Island, the world’s classiest aquariums, seen the best shows at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, or hiked up for breathtaking views of Twin Peaks , you may be ready for something different.
1. Shark and Angel Island
Distance: 45-minute drive from San Francisco via I-580 E and I-80 W
Tiburon Peninsula and Angel Island, both collectively and individually, have made waves in the San Francisco travel scene. With fewer tourists compared to other towns and cities, you can easily enjoy a walking tour as you explore quaint shops and pass charming bakeries or rent a bike for a city and island tour. You can customize your own tours to tour beaches, ferry terminals, and magnificent mansions, visit the Angel Island Immigration Station, which houses countless documents left behind by many immigrants who traveled across the vast Pacific Ocean to reach San Francisco via Angel Island (it served as a detention center).
When you feel like drinking a few glasses of beer or cups of coffee, take your pick from the countless picnic areas scattered around the island. Just look around you and you’ll see that the streets are lined with quaint restaurants, fast food joints, and world-class restaurants for date nights and corporate dinners alike. The shoreline along Tiburon, meanwhile, is postcard ready; ready to show off the San Francisco sunset across the bay. Thanks to the fact that Tiburon is now considered one of the fastest growing commuter and tourist towns in San Francisco, it enjoys fast ferry services and has a very high concentration of fancy retail stores, shops, cafes and bars.
Places to visit in Tiburon – Angel Island
- Angel Island – Shark Ferry 21 Main St, Tiburon, CA 94920-2533 (415) 435-2131
- Sausalito Visitor Center 780 Bridgeway, Foot of El Portal Street at the Ferry Pier, Sausalito, CA 94965-2159 (415) 331-1093
- Blackie’s Pasture Tiburon Peninsula Foundation, Tiburon, CA 94920 A monument dedicated to a horse that used to roam the park expanse all his life
- Model 2100 San Francisco Bay Bridge, Sausalito, CA 94965-1753 (415) 332-3870
- Tennessee Valley Trailhead 591 Tennessee Valley Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941-3627 (415) 331-1540
- Vista Point Us-101, Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, CA 94965 (415) 921-5858
- Bay Area Discovery Museum 557 McReynolds Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965-2614 (415) 339-3900
2. Skyline Boulevard, Woodside
Location: 35 minute drive from San Francisco via I-280 N
Escape to the woods and cool foothills of the Woodside Mountains for spectacular panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and its bay area. Stop by quaint restaurants like Alice’s Restaurant for BBQ and burgers, sample gluten-free beer, and then head to Thomas Fogarty Winery to sample delicious signature wines in the romantic wood-paneled gazebo. If you’re looking for a little self-reflection or inner calm, bring the charter bus to the Jikoji Zen Center. The center was founded by Steve Job’s mentor, Kobun Chino Otogawa. It’s entirely up to you whether you want to feel comfortable meditating in its tranquil zendos or take a stroll through its tranquil grounds to get your mental ducks in order.
Woodside is an intentionally small, stylish neighborhood with a small but distinct number of shops, restaurants and pubs. While its Michelin-starred pub-restaurant is a good reason to visit Woodside, many cyclists are also magnetically drawn to the town. The Tour of California bike race previously made its rounds along CA-84 and Skyline Boulevard. If you love the laid back side of California, Woodside is the place for it.
Places to visit in Woodside, Skyline Boulevard
- Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, USA (650) 691-1200
- Midpeninsula Regional Open Space For horseback riding, bicycling, mountain biking
- Alice’s Restaurant 17288 Skyline Boulevard, Woodside, CA 94062 (650) 851-0303
- Thomas Fogarty Winery 19501 Skyline Boulevard, Woodside, CA (650) 851 6777
- Jikoji Zen Center 12100 Skyline Blvd, Los Gatos, CA 95033 (408) 741-9562
- Filoli 86 Canada Road, Woodside, CA 94062-4144 (650) 364-8300
- Stanford Shopping Center 680 Stanford Shopping Ctr, Palo Alto, CA 94304-1400 (650) 617-8200
- Rodin Sculpture Garden Stanford University, Stanford, CA (650) 723-4177
3. The Cats
Location: 50 minute drive from San Francisco via CA-85 and US-101 N
The proper word to prescribe a place like Los Gatos is ‘affluent’ but many would also say that it is a charming and eclectic town nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains where the wealthy groups and individuals of Californian society congregate to They have their lunches and teas. With the number of Michelin-starred restaurants, quaint cafes, popular bistros, and old-school sweet shops lining the streets, walking the streets of Los Gastos would be like stepping in and out of a time machine. It exudes nostalgia without giving in to the rapid modernization of California.
With Los Gatos ranked as one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, it is also the site of choice for the headquarters of renowned companies, notably Netflix. And as expected. During the city’s expansion and development, it also gained a reputation as an arts colony. It regularly brought in musicians, painters, actors, writers, and producers including Joan Fontaine, Olivia de Havilland, and Yehudi Menuhin. It developed slowly over time as a quiet suburban community in bustling San Jose. There’s plenty of green space to enjoy, a Paris emulated Ponte des Artes bridge along the Main Street bridge, mountain bike trails, picturesque mountain scenery, space reserves, and a major mining museum that documented the influx of immigrants during the gold rush and the city. Mining was to visit when in town.
Places to Visit in Los Gatos, CA
- El Sereno Open Space Preserve Los Gatos, CA 95030, USA (650) 691-1200
- Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve 16800-17162 Alma Bridge Rd, Los Gatos, CA 94022 (650) 691-1200
- New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum 21350 Almaden Rd, San Jose, CA 95120 (408) 323-1107
- English Camp Loop Scenic views of surrounding towns, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding along rivers flanked by wildflowers when in bloom
- Vasona Park 333 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032 (408) 356-2729
- Mount Umunhum A mountain peak in California, sometimes called Mount Um, ‘The Cube’ or ‘The Box’ by locals. New hiking and mountain biking trails, as part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, recently opened in 2017, come with paving, restrooms, and interpretive displays.
- New Los Gatos Museum 106 E Main St, Los Gatos, CA 95030 (408) 354-2646
- Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad 233 Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos, CA 95032 (408) 395-7433
4. Kings Point
Location: 1 hour and 45 minutes from San Francisco on US-101 S
Just know that when you need to get away from the traffic, the bustle of city life, and the constant whirlwind of social buzz, there are 71,000 acres of nature preserve along the Pacific Coast, dramatic falls, and habitats for local wildlife to see and experience at close range. from San Francisco to Point Reyes. In addition to its majestic lighthouses, overwrought colony of elephant seals, cheerful school of migrating Pacific gray whales, and ancient Douglas fir forest, it boasts vantage points where you can see the best sunrise and sunset, as well as beaches like Heart’s Desire Beach on Tomales Bay, where sunbathing is the staple.
You can also join Point Reyes Safaris and West Marin Food and Farm Tours to see the finer things in life, watch elk, coyotes, and seabirds make their way through the slightly challenging terrain at Tule Elk Preserve, and enjoy the delicious local food. and drinks at Heidrun Meadery and award-winning artisan cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery, which operates out of a restored hay barn. Visitors can also enjoy an offbeat 2-hour horseback ride on beautiful, well-trained horses with Point Reyes Arabian Adventures, or soak in the sights while soaking up the sun on the private boat with Tomales Bay Sailing, which starts at Point Reyes Station. Kings. Offering a good mix of incredible adventures and slow-paced activities that allow you to relax a bit, Point Reyes is the perfect destination for a day trip or quick weekend getaway.
Places to visit in Point Reyes, CA
- Tomales Bay Sailing Point Reyes Station, CA 94956-1027 (415) 787-4886
- Point Reyes Arabian Adventures 11925 Hwy 1, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956 (707) 477-7181
- Bear Valley Visitor Center 1 Bear Valley Visitor Center Access Road, Point Reyes National Seashore, CA 94956 (415) 464-5100
- Chimney Rock – Point Reyes National Seashore
- Cowgirl Dairy 80 4th St, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956 (415) 663-9335
- Point Reyes Books 11315 CA-1, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956 (415) 663-1542
- Earthquake Trail Bear Valley Rd, Point Reyes National Seashore, CA 94956
- Heart’s Desire Beach Station Point Reyes, CA
- Marconi State Historic Park 18500 Ca-1, Point Reyes Station, CA 94940 (415) 663-9020
- Toby’s Feed Barn 11250 Ca-1, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956 (415) 663-1223
While the wraparound coastline and access to the vastness of the Pacific Ocean are reason enough to take you on the many ‘wild escapades’ around San Francisco, they give you plenty of headspace to reflect, wide open space for exploration, and activities that transport you to a whole new world. Seeing the seals, walking the trails, meditating, and tasting wines are wonderful activities that will help you refocus and rebalance from the business of city life.
So is San Francisco the right place for your family day trip?
You can customize your own tours to take you past beaches, ferry terminals and magnificent mansions, take in immersive views of the Pacific Ocean and bay area, stop by famous restaurants and cafes for delicious local delicacies. There’s something for everyone, from wineries to award-winning cheesemakers.