People in the San Francisco Bay Area work really hard to keep up with the competitive demands of the booming, innovative culture. It’s easy to find yourself staying late at work and end up grabbing a few quick drinks with your coworkers by evening. With the size of the city being only seven-by-seven miles, everything is packed tightly together and it’s hard to find time to relax when you’re seated just inches away from the next party over. Even if you love the hustle and bustle of the very busy city, you won’t regret treating yourself to a relaxing weekend getaway.
One of the biggest reasons why I love living in the Bay Area is because of its proximity to a myriad of different sceneries within a few hour drive. Whichever direction you choose to drive, California won’t let you easily forget its beauty.
Heading North of San Francisco to Wine Country
Sonoma, Napa, you name it—some of the best wines come from California’s very own Wine Country. In just under two hours, you can find yourself in a beautiful vineyard, sipping on a glass of fine wine. This is an excellent weekend trip that can easily entertain your friends, family, and significant other.
Plan this as a day trip or an extended weekend activity because either way, you won’t run out of wineries to visit. The experience ranges from sparkling wines at Mumm to Domaine Chandon, dessert wine offerings from V. Sattui to Acacia, and crazy good cabernets from HALL Wines. The Dean & Deluca in St. Helena also serves as a great spot to pick up your sandwiches and snacks to enjoy with a bottle of wine on-site in many of the wineries.
Cruising Down South Along Highway 1 to Big Sur
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more active and outdoorsy, you won’t be disappointed by driving down Highway 1 towards Big Sur. The three hour drive will fly by as you head down California’s beautiful coastline and if someone gets cranky, just grab a bite to eat at Aptos St. BBQ with your choice of a cold glass of beer (out of 30) on tap.
There are many little beachside cities you can stop by on your way down Highway 1 including Santa Cruz and Carmel-by-the-Sea. You can experience the true Northern California beach vibe in these areas, with their laid-back atmosphere and fresh seafood joints.
Driving East to Explore Oakland and Berkeley
A quick drive over the Bay Bridge will take you to the other side where you can embark on an urban adventure through Oakland and Berkeley. They are both very distinct cities with a charm of their own. You can take a nice stroll along the waterfront until you get hungry and settle down for a hip restaurant in Jack London Square like Haven or enjoy some beers with bowling and bocce at Plank.
Unleash your rebellious self by taking a trip over to the Albany Bulb to explore through the graffiti covered walls, art sculptures, and an open view of the bay. If you’re not in the mood, shift gears to check out the Bay Area’s first cat cafe at Cat Town for a cup of joe served with a side of quality time with kitties.
You can continue up north in the East Bay to visit Berkeley, a free-spirited city, home to the oldest campus in the University of California system. After you’re done wandering through the streets, you can treat yourself to a nice plate of warm, cheesy poutine from Smoke’s Poutinerie. You can also check out Gather for a hearty meal inspired by local farmers, ranchers, and artisan food producers. Wherever you go, the San Francisco Bay Area is chock-full of adventures for anyone to find.
Where’s your favorite spot for a Bay Area day trip? Tell us in the comments below.