Northern California is full of amazing places, many of which are located right outside San Francisco. Embrace your adventurous side and check out some of the Bay Area’s best day trips.
From tech-savvy Silicon Valley to surf central Santa Cruz, there are plenty of things to do and places to visit just outside San Francisco. If you find yourself with a spare day or two, here’s where to go.
Though it feels a little polished compared to characterful San Francisco, Sausalito offers small-town charm and a stunning waterfront that is located right across the Golden Gate Bridge. Known as a hotspot for early-morning endurance athletes, Sausalito has excellent running and biking routes as well as kayaking, rowing and sailing clubs. After getting your sweat on, make sure to refuel at one of its great restaurants, perhaps local institution Fred’s Place or upscale Mexican joint Copita.
San Franciscans have mixed feelings about Silicon Valley, the world-famous hub of technological innovation south of the city. The tech industry here brought a cultural change to the city, and with it, sky-rocketing rent. The Silicon Valley phenomenon is laid bare at the comprehensive and surprisingly gripping Computer History Museum in Mountain View. Step inside to marvel at gigantic old processors and state-of-the-art self-driving cars. Nearby, take a guilty selfie at the colorful Google Android lawn statues. Though the neighboring town of Palo Alto doesn’t have the character of downtown San Francisco, there’s a reasonable restaurant scene – try Burma Ruby (and ask for it spicy). You can even take a Silicon Valley Tech Tour here if you’d like to go into even more detail about the world’s best tech city.
Known for big waves, striking rock formations and charming cafés, Santa Cruz is another laid-back beach town located about an hour and a half outside San Francisco. With dozens of great surf spots along its beautiful coastline, Santa Cruz is the perfect town for adventurists; get up on that board with a little help from Club Ed. For a spooky insight into the past, Evergreen Cemetery is the resting place of Santa Cruz’s gold-rush pioneers. After a long day of hiking, history and catching waves, visit the much-loved Pizza My Heart.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Susan Blick.