If you live in San Francisco, you’re used to being near the water and enjoying beautiful views of the city. But sometimes you just need to get away for a change of scenery. Given the current Delta variant situation, it’s understandable if you’re not ready to board a plane but want to do something that can be done with a mini road trip. We’ve rounded up the 8 best weekend trips from San Francisco (or even just day trips from San Francisco) less than 100 miles away.
1. Glen Ellen
If you’re looking for weekend getaways in the Bay Area, you could go to the small town of Glen Ellen. The former home to author Jack London, the city also has a park of his namesake. It’s located in the Sonoma Valley, so you can enjoy wine and food in a quaint setting. If you want something besides wine, you can dine at the Glen Ellen Inn Grill & Martini Bar and get your fix of a dirty martini or martini with a twist (just no drinking and driving, obviously) while enjoying steak or seafood. You can find more info about Glen Ellen here.
Distance from SF: 50.2 miles
Length of time: 1 hour and 10 minutes one-way
If you’re looking for day trips from San Francisco, a place nearby that is charming and near the waterfront is the city of Sausalito. You can check out the Spaulding Marine center or the Bay Area Discovery Museum and go to the Seafood Peddler for dinner. You can find more info about Sausalito here.
Distance from SF: 11 miles
Length of time: 26 minutes one-way
3. Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz has a famous boardwalk and is home to a lovely beach to catch some waves or dip your toes in the sand. The boardwalk has roller coasters and games for fun as well as restaurants and bars. On top of that, the city has a Surfing Museum as well. You can find more info about Santa Cruz here.
Distance from SF: 73.1 miles
Length of time: 1 hour and 16 minutes one-way
4. The Muir Woods National Monument
If you need a little forest therapy, get yourself to the Redwood forest at Muir Woods, a protected National Monument since 1908. You can be among majestic redwoods, which are considered the tallest living things in existence, and take advantage of six miles of trails. Be sure to grab a parking pass ahead of time at gomuirwoods.com. You can find more info about the Muir Woods National Monument here.
Distance from SF: 16.8 miles
Length of time: 43 minutes one-way
5. Pescadero State beach
If you’re looking to be near the water in a more secluded area that has dramatic views, consider Pescadero State beach. Pescadero is home to beautiful dunes as well as sandy coves and cliffs to explore. Nearby there’s also the Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve, a popular place for bird watchers. You can use eBird to track what you see and compare notes. You can find more info about Pescadero state beach here.
Distance from SF: 47.9 miles
Length of time: 1 hour and 14 minutes one-way
6. Point Reyes National Seashore
The Point Reyes National Seashore is a charming place to go when considering weekend trips from San Francisco. You can check out the elephant seals or go whale watching or simply go for a swim, a walk on the seashore, or even go kayaking. If you want some culinary delights and are a cheese lover, stop by Cowgirl Creamery or Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company. You can find more info about Point Reyes National Seashore here.
Distance from SF: 37.4 miles
Length of time: 1 hour and 16 minutes one-way
7. Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay is a lovely coastal city that also is home to a charming downtown area full of art galleries, music, restaurants, and historic buildings. If you go between May and December, stop by the Coastside Farmers Market on Saturday at Shoreline Station. You can also partake in beach activities like paddleboarding or kayaking or simply curl up with a good book on the beach while getting some sun (don’t forget the sunscreen!). You can find more info about Half Moon Bay here.
Distance from SF: 29.6 miles
Length of time: 40 minutes one-way
Looking at weekend getaways near the Bay Area but want something a little different? Consider Guerneville, an unincorporated community nestled along the Russian River Valley. You could hang out near the river, go fishing, boating, and more. There’s a quirky downtown Guerneville area with shops, restaurants, and a market with a suggestive name called Big Bottom Market, which happens to be home to Oprah’s favorite biscuits. The city has also been an LGBTQ-friendly vacation spot for decades and is a gem for all travelers. You can find more info about Guerneville here.
Distance from SF: 75 miles
Length of time: 1 hour and 43 minutes one-way
The bottom line
If you’re looking for weekend trips from San Francisco or just day trips from San Francisco, these eight options offer you various choices depending on what you’re looking for. You can find peace in the woods, or healing near the water, or find some quirky charm in small-town cities nearby.
If you live in San Francisco or in the surrounding areas, you might be considered a low-mileage driver. If you’re driving mostly on the weekends, check out your rate with pay-per-mile car insurance to see if you could save.
Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.