8 Best Road Trips from San Francisco

By Dejan B.. Published on November 23, 2018

Everyone loves going on road trips and luckily there are many cool places near San Francisco worth visiting. Whether you are searching for a boardwalk with amazing views, a nice winery where you can taste some of the finest wines from California, or family resorts that offer spa treatments, there is so much to choose from.

Pescadero, CA

Distance: 46 mi, 1 hour 3 minutes

If you are looking to spend some time at the seaside and escape from all the hustle and bustle of San Francisco, go to Pescadero. It is a perfect place for picnics and chilling on the beach. Make sure to check out the Pigeon Point Lighthouse that was built in 1872 and is 115-foot high. It is not possible to enter the lighthouse, as it is falling apart from the inside. You can also visit the famous Harley Farm that houses llamas and goats.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero, California, USA

Santa Cruz, CA

Distance: 73 mi, 1 hour 20 minutes

Famous for its amusement park and the lovely beachfront boardwalk, Santa Cruz is a historic town that offers plenty of sightseeing options including the Victorian downtown, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and Mount Hermon. This town is also full of college kids and there are several clubs that host bands from all over the country. If you decide to visit Santa Cruz during the winter season, you will have a chance to see over 100,000 butterflies at Monarch Grove.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park

Yountville, CA

Distance: 56 mi, 1 hour 8 minutes

Home to several wineries, Yountville is definitely a place worth visiting if you are looking to have some peace and quiet. Go to Mayacamus Mountain to catch a killer sunset and visit Bardessono where you will find deluxe suites and organic linens. Wine tasting is part of the culture here in Yountville and the wine they make here in Northern California is amazing. This country spot is also famous for its spa treatment facilities where you can spend the whole day getting massages and relaxing in the sauna.

Domaine Chandon is in Yountville, California

Lake Tahoe, CA

Distance: 188 mi, 3 hours 20 minutes

Spend a weekend at Lake Tahoe that offers amazing mountain views and has a nice selection of restaurants and bars. For more information about the history of the lake and for a map of the area, go to the Taylor Creek Visitor Center. The Stream Profile Chamber allows you to see the life below and above the water through a curved diorama. Accommodation at Lake Tahoe is easy to find and places like Basecamp Hotel and Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe are a good option if you decide to spend a couple of nights here.

Lake Tahoe - California - Nevada

Bolinas, CA

Distance: 30 mi, 1 hour 9 minutes

Bolinas is a quite popular destination for a short road trip among the locals in San Francisco. It is a great place for surfers and you can get your equipment at the Mile Surf Shop. This small town also features several cool bars like Smiley's Schooner Saloon which is one of the oldest bars in all of California. Head out to the Alamere Falls and check out the Bolinas Art Museum.

Alamere Falls. Bolinas, California

Sebastopol, CA

Distance: 55 mi, 1 hour 12 minutes

If you like wineries and delicious food start your engine and go on a road trip to Sebastopol. This Sonoma County city is full of wine yards and some of the wineries offer tours of their facilities. Our personal favorites are Lynmar Estate Winery and Dutton Estate Winery. Check out the unique junk art collection at Patrick Amiot Junk Art and go to Ragle Ranch Regional Park. In the evenings, go for dinner to Peter Lowell's for a rustic Italian vibe or make a reservation at the Hopmonk Tavern which is famous for its Tuscan-inspired garden and live music performances.

Welcome to Sebastopol, California

Los Gatos, CA

Distance: 51 mi, 56 minutes

Los Gatos is a charming city in Santa Clara County with a population of 30,000 residents. Take a short stroll through Vasona Lake County Park, see the Castle Rock Falls, and don't forget to visit a couple of wineries like Left Bend Winery, Loma Prieta Winery, and Burrell School Vineyards & Winery. If you are staying in Los Gatos for dinner, go to Dio Deka that serves authentic Greek and Mediterranean specialties. Manresa Restaurant is a good option for those who wish to have vegetarian food, while Andale Mexican Family Kitchen offers the best tacos ever.

Vasona Lake County Park, Los Gatos

Sausalito, CA

Distance: 11 mi, 27 minutes

Located just a short ferry ride from San Francisco, Sausalito is known for its amazing views, nice boutique shops, and tourist attractions like Bay Area Discovery Museum and Bubble Street Gallery. This place also offers plenty of activities such as hiking, sailing, and kayaking. When booking accommodation, make sure to ask for a room with a view of the San Francisco Bay or Angel Island. There are many outdoor eateries and bars where you can go for lunch and have some beers. Scoma's Of Sausalito offers seafood specialties, while Bar Bocce focuses on Italian cuisine. Don't leave without trying ice cream at Lappert's.

Sausalito Waterfront


Amy on 1/10/2019, said:

Thanks, great list! I totally agree with Sausalito and Bolinas, my two favorite spots to visit in the bay area. Be warned! The ice cream place in Sausalito is great but it has loooong lines at the door, always!

Huu Loc Nguyen on 7/3/2019, said:

8 Best Road Trips from San Francisco

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