day trips from San Francisco

7 Of The Best Day Trips From San Francisco

If you need a break from the busy metropolis then the good news is there’s plenty of half-day, overnight and day trips to discover. Try these day trips from San Francisco for a change of pace and to see a different side of the region.

While San Francisco is a fun destination in and of itself, consider an adventure outside of the city limits.

Best Day Trips From San Francisco

1. Napa Valley

Just one hour north of San Francisco, you’ll find some of the world’s best wineries, with over 400 wineries there’s a lot to choose from. We’ve narrowed down some of our top picks; V.Sattui Winery, Darioush, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Castello di Amorosa and Beringer Vineyards. Just to name a few!

If you’re not into wine, day spa are plentiful, from Hot Springs to holistic and healing treatments. You’ll be sure to find something for everyone here.

2. Yosemite National Park

Experience the breathtaking beauty of this UNESCO national park, this is a full day trip as Yosemite is about 170 miles away from San Francisco which is about a 4-hour drive. To make the most out of the day, it’s recommended to leave early morning. It’s impossible to cover the whole park in one day, however, here are some bucket list things to see; Glacier Point, Yosemite Falls, and Yosemite Valley.

3. Monterey & Carmel

Drive along California’s stunning coastline (Pacific Coast Highway), roughly 130 miles south from San Francisco and you’ll reach Monterey,  head little farther south to find the sleepy town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both towns are equally as breathtaking as one another.

If you’re looking for a scenic lunch by the sea, make sure to check out Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar in Monterey. If you plan on also visiting Carmel be sure to check out the amazing Carmel Mission Basilica Museum.

4. Muir Country

One of the shorter day trips only 16 miles north of the city, you’ll find Muir Woods. Muir Woods has a rich and varied history, you can learn about the culture of the Coast Miwok people and explore the Mount Tamalpais Mill Valley Scenic Railway.

Hiking is the most sought out after activity in Muir woods, with 6 beautiful miles to explore for those who want a peaceful stroll. More experienced hikers can hike along Fern Creek or trek all the way out to Stinson Beach and Muir Beach.

5. Sacramento

Sacramento is packed with amazing things to do! Although you might find it difficult to fit them all in, here are some of our favourite picks. Stroll Tower Bridge, rent a bike and cycle the American River Bike Trail, step back in time and learn about the history at the California State Railroad Museum.

If you’re feeling indulgent, be sure to check out the famous Kitchen Restaurant and If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush Raging Water water park is a must!

6. Mendocino National Forest

A short trip from the city, explore and enjoy the wilderness of Mendocino National Forest. Boasting close to one million acres of densely forested woodlands, open meadows, secluded flats along river banks, and breathtaking panoramic views of majestic mountains. A truly peaceful escape from the city.

day trips from San Francisco

Photo Cred: lady_yoshi

7. Silicon Valley

Home to iconic technology companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Uber. Silicon Valley is not just all about tech, there’s a lot more to explore. With parks, museums, culture, history, and mountains, you’ll forget it’s the tech capital of the world. Although some must-see ‘techy’ sites include The Intel Museum, Tesla Motors Show Room, and the NASA Ames Research Center.

day trips from San Francisco

Want to explore more of the state? Check out the best road trips in California here.

Siobhan McKenny