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10 Scintillating Weekend Trips from San Francisco to Drive Away your Blues

By | Last Updated: 19th August 2020

San Francisco, situated in the northern part of California, is extremely versatile when it comes to its accessibility to unique destinations adjacent to it. Scenic landscapes, national parks, camping spots, beaches, wineries, and several other exciting things are in store if you intend to plan a weekend trip from here.  Check out the list below to know more about the nearby destinations from San Francisco, where you can travel by car (the best available option), or even train and bus (wherever possible).

Weekend Trips from San Francisco

1. Yosemite National Park, California

If you are planning for an exciting weekend trip in the chilling winters, then you ought not to miss out on the adventurous ice skating amidst the snowy landscape. The Ice Skating Rink at Curry Village is the place where you should go to have a whale of a time. In between your skating spree, enjoy the warmth of the fire pit and cherish upon the spectacular view of the Half Dome. Besides its daily schedule (3:30 pm -6 pm; 7:00 pm-9:30 pm), it also remains open on weekends and holidays (8:30 am – 11:00 am and 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm). The tentative ice rinks prices are $9.75 (adults, seniors) and $9.25 (children below 12), while skate rentals come at $3.75; the helmets are, however, free. The ticket for the ice rink is valid for two hours.

In the warmer months, you could get a spectacular view of the wildflowers which bloom from the middle of June to August. Enjoy boating along the Merced River, or picnicking in the Sentinel Beach Picnic spot.

Yosemite National Park Weekend Trips From San Francisco Winter

Yosemite Ice Skating Rink Winter Weekend Trips From San Francisco Half Dome Village Ice Skating Rink Best Weekend Trips From San Francisco

How long does it take: 4-hour drive from San Francisco

Best time to visit: March, April, May (Spring and Summer)

How to Get Here

2. Half Moon Bay, California

The Half Moon Bay, located in the southern part of San Francisco, is a perfect weekend getaway for a delightful romantic trip or even to hang out with your family because of its splendid beaches and picturesque landscape. The jagged cliffs, lush green hills, the array of beaches (including the Half Moon State Beach), hiking spots, and a fantastic sunset view (at the Pelican Point Beach) would take your breath away. The surfing competition held in winters, alongside an eye-catching look of the fifteen thousand gray whales that migrate to the Baja California region, is a pleasure to watch.

Half Moon Bay Great Weekend Trips from San Francisco

Half Moon Bay Romantic Weekend Getaways from San Francisco Half Moon Bay Short Weekend Trips for Couples from San Francisco

How long does it take: 40 – 45 minutes

Best time to visit:  Late spring, early summer

How to Get Here

3. Mendocino, California

The Mendocino Coast in the northern part of California is another fabulous place to spend your weekends. The sandy beaches, scenic gardens, incredible sunset views, and luxurious beaches being enough to keep you in awe. Gualala, a coastal town in Mendocino County is a place worth visiting where you can go kayaking, picnicking as well as hiking. When in Mendocino, the Brewery Gulch Inn would be apt for your stay since it provides luxury rooms with ocean views.

Mendocino CA Great Weekend Trips from San Francisco

Mendocino Long Weekend Trips from San Francisco Mendocino Weekend Trips near San Francisco

How long does it take: 2 hours 45 minutes by car

Best time to visit: Summer

How to Get Here

4. Monterey & Carmel, California

The magnificent beaches, picturesque coves, and lovely wineries of the place would enthrall you to the fullest. The Monterey Bay Aquarium famous for the jellyfish and great white shark will be a treat for your kids if they are accompanying you on the trip. For an overnight stay, the Old Monterey Inn and Garden Cottage are a perfect pick. You would get luxurious rooms, a sumptuous breakfast, and a whole lot of other amenities. If on a romantic trip, do not miss out on Carmel-by-Sea (Carmel as called by the locals) located on the southern side of the Monterey Peninsula. The white sand, plush beach, and beauteous landscape would woo you to the fullest.

Monterey and Carmel Family Weekend Trips from San Francisco

Monterey and Carmel Weekend Trips in San Francisco Monterey and Carmel Easy Weekend Trips From San Francisco

How long does it take: 2 hours

Best time to visit: April and May

How to Get Here

5. Napa Valley, California

One of the fastest and easiest getaways from San Francisco, this place has scenic wineries, lip-smacking food, and amazing views around. If you are with your beau, then the two of you could take a view of the scintillating landscape via the Napa Valley Wine Train.  For a panoramic view of the beautiful area surrounding the valley, do not miss riding on a hot air balloon in the early morning hours.

Napa Valley Hot Air Balloon San Francisco Family Weekend Trips

San Francisco Weekend Trip to Napa Valley Napa Valley Short Weekend Trip near San Francisco

How long does it take: 1 hour by car

Best time to visit: March-May; August- October

How to Get Here

6. Bodega Bay, California

Located in Sonoma County, the natural beauty of the Bodega Bay because of its beauteous coastline and wondrous farmlands makes it a perfect destination for a short trip. While on your way, you could stop at the Bodega village to get a view of the location that had been used by Alfred Hitchcock for his 1963 thriller Birds. You may also take pleasure in fishing, whale watching, or sightseeing on boats, available at the Bodega Harbor. Do not forget to dig on to the delightful spread of seafood the restaurants here have to offer, some of them being the Drakes Sonoma Coast, and the Terrapin Creek Café. You could also entertain yourself by surfing along with the Northern Light Surf Shop and Bodega Bay Surf Shack, providing surfboards and several other pieces of equipment on rent.

Bodega Bay Weekend Trips from San Francisco Summer

Bodega Bay Weekend Trips From San Francisco in July Bodega Bay Fun Weekend Trips Near San Francisco

How long does it take: 2 hours

Best time to visit: July is the peak season though June and August are also moderately crowded

How to Get Here

7. Sacramento, California

California’s capital city is one of the ideal places to visit, particularly during fall because of the extraordinary landscape, as well as the host of activities conducted here during this time of the year. The taste of authentic beer alongside lively music during Oktoberfest, as well as a visit to the annual bicycle film festival mostly held during September, would be the perfect entertainment for you. The Sacramento Valley Museum located at the center of the valley is also something that you need to keep on your to-do list when you go there.

Sacramento Weekend Trips from San Francisco Fall

Sacramento Weekend Trips from San Francisco During Autumn Sacramento Weekend Trips from San Francisco in November

How long does it take: 1 hour 30 minutes

Best time to visit: Fall (September, October, November)

How to Get Here

8. Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California

The oldest state park of California, established in 1902, is a flourishing camping ground with beautiful woody trees like oak, chaparral, and conifer. Besides various trails, the park also boasts of beauteous waterfalls and is also home to bobcats, deer, raccoon as well as a variety of birds. To camp here in one of the 142 sites available, you need to book in advance, and the charges are $35 for one night and an additional $10 for vehicles.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park Best Weekend Camping Trips from San Francisco

Big Basin Redwoods State Park Weekend Camping Trips from San Francisco Big Basin Redwoods State Park Summer Weekend Trips San Francisco

How long does it take: 1 hour 30 minutes

Best time to visit: June to September

How to Get Here

9. Leggett, California

Another exotic camping destination to go in summer, you could put up at the Big Ben Lodge, which possesses private beaches and facilities for a variety of games like volleyball and basketball.

Leggett San Francisco Weekend Road Trips

Leggett Cabin Trips San Francisco Leggett Things to Do in San Francisco Weekend Trips

How long does it take: 1 hour 40 minutes

Best time to visit: Summer

How to Get Here

10. Big Sur, California

While driving to this location, you would come across picturesque bridges and other spectacular views, enough to stun you completely. The white sandy beaches, rugged mountains, and the great hiking trails make this an ideal place for your weekend fiesta.

Big Sur Weekend Trip from San Francisco

Big Sur Great Weekend Trip from San Francisco Big Sur San Francisco Weekend Trip

How long does it take: 3 hours

Best time to visit: September to November

How to Get Here

These fabulous destinations would indeed be a treat for you to laze away your weekends with your loved ones. So what are you waiting for, get into your traveling shoes, and set out for a ravishing experience!

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