I was just watching this show about fun not-so-touristy things to do in San Francisco (note to self: book sunset kayaking tour), and it made me think I should gather up all the posts I wrote about our road trips in California. Summer isn’t really the best time weather-wise here, so sometimes I forget that it’s still the main tourist season. But regardless of when you come, these are all road trips I would recommend taking at some point.
Close to San Francisco:
Take the ferry from Tiburon in Marin County for a day trip or overnight camping. Lots of history and beautiful views of the city, bay and bridges.
Point Bonita Lighthouse and Crissy Field
Great places to escape the crowded city and take photos, especially at sunset.
Not far from the city you can really escape to this little beach on the ocean.
One of our favorite places to relax is Limantour Beach, and it is just one of many cool places to explore in Point Reyes.
Frances Ford Coppola’s winery is really worth a visit up north. It has a museum about his cinematic roots plus a swimming pool and restaurant. And of course, wine!
Napa’s less-snooty sister, Sonoma is a really relaxing getaway less than an hour from our house.
North of SF:
Bodega Bay and Eureka
Bodega Bay for fresh crab sandwiches and spectacular ocean views. Eureka for the Avenue of the Giants, which better be on your bucket list.
And Lake Tahoe is one pretty place I intend to visit much more.
South of SF:
I loved LA much more than I expected to. The hipster food culture doesn’t hurt. And there’s so much to explore in all the different neighborhoods.
One word: tacos. Actually two words: al pastor.
This is a really beautiful side trip if you can swing it. Touristy, yes, but you can also escape the crowds and go for a hike.
Palm Springs is hot as hell and super quirky, but we really loved it. Don’t miss the Ace Hotel and the crazy mountain tram.
Sequoia National Forest, part I and part II
Unfortunately, this trip always makes me think of being 8 weeks pregnant and super nauseous. But man, was it spectacular. I highly recommend you explore the giant sequoias and King’s Canyon if you get a chance.
Mono Hot Springs
Will I ever make the extreme journey to Mono Hot Springs again? I don’t know. But I’m glad I went once. It was beautiful, peaceful and endearingly weird.
Monterey and Big Sur
In this case, I definitely saved the best for last. The drive along the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur is absolutely incredible. It’s right out of a movie. And when you get to Big Sur, the redwood forest is equally amazing. Airstream glamping there is on my life list.
Putting together this post has made me realize how much we need to get back in the car and start traveling again! As many places as we’ve been, we still have many more to see (thinking of Joshua Tree and Yosemite, for starters). Anywhere else we should go?