10 Best Day Trips From San Francisco Bay Area, California - Updated 2022

day trips from bay area

Think of the San Francisco Bay Area and The Golden Gate Bridge comes to mind. One of the most modern cities to live in, the San Francisco Bay Area is known for its Victorian homes. The place is also well-known globally for the fine wine that it produces. San Francisco is also home to some of the finest beaches in California, as well as the Silicon Valley (which is in the southern part of the Bay Area). Apart from the main San Francisco Bay Area, you can travel to many nearby places like Oakland and Yosemite National Park. A visit to the U.S. would be incomplete without a trip to this part of the country, even if it is only for a day or two. Here is a list of the 10 best day trips that you can undertake from San Francisco Bay Area, California.

1. Sausalito, Muir Woods (from USD 79.0)

This half-day tour of Sausalito and Muir Woods includes visiting and traversing through the forest of Sausalito and passing through the Golden Gate Bridge to reach the fabulous Muir Woods. This place is home to not only some of the tallest trees on our planet but also the oldest. It is just a short distance from the city to these woods and it feels like a totally different world, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can experience nature at its best here.

Muir Woods & Sausalito Half-Day Tour (Return by Bus or Ferry from Sausalito)

Duration: 5 hours

3395 reviews

2. Napa and Sonoma Wine Country (from USD 149.0)

The next on our list is a tour of the Napa and Sonoma Wine Country. This is a full-day guided tour from San Francisco and would include visits to various wineries in both Napa and Sonoma, where the tourists get to taste the regional varieties of wine. Visitors also get to watch the whole process of winemaking. The commute to and fro from San Francisco is via a luxury coach which is air-conditioned. Free Wi-Fi is available in most coaches.

Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Full-Day Tour from San Francisco

Duration: 9 hours

2985 reviews

3. Oakland

Oakland Marina Rowers (15203549277)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tony Webster used under CC BY 2.0

The distance of Oakland from San Francisco is just a few miles. Tourists can spend the day in this city and return to San Franciso at the end of the day. Some of the major sightseeing places here include the Oakland Zoo, the University of California Botanical Garden, and the Oakland Storybook Theme Park. The visit would be the perfect choice if you have children with you. For tourists who like to visit museums, this city provides quite an eclectic choice to choose from, including the Aviation Museum.

4. Yosemite National Park (from USD 185.0)

A good choice for a full-day tour in the San Francisco Bay Area is the Yosemite National Park. It is one of the best known national parks in the world. It is home to diverse natural wonders. The tour includes passing through the Central Valley, the Sierra Foothills and the Sierra Nevada Mountain to reach the national park. One would gasp at the breathtaking views this tour has to offer, not to mention the tour is a photographer’s delight.

Yosemite National Park - Full Day Tour from San Francisco

Duration: 14 hours

655 reviews

5. Mariposa

Old Valley Oak in Mariposa, Calfironia
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hasmodius used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Mariposa is the largest town near to the Yosemite National Park. This place has a vast heritage and the museums here depict it. The California State Mining and Mineral Museum is a must-visit. For adrenaline lovers, the Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch will be the perfect way to spend the day. Situated in Trabucco Building over two floors is the Mariposa Marketplace, which is a shopper’s delight.

6. Mount Diablo State Park

Mt Diablo Summit - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Annette Teng used under CC BY 3.0

Watch the beauty of nature at Mount Diablo State Park. With varied and numerous wildlife and wildflowers, this state park gives the tourists to spend the day between untouched nature. Other activities that are on offer at this park are hiking, biking, camping and horse riding. This site is also known for the presence of early aquatic fossils. Mt. Diablo State Park has a Visitor Center with numerous exhibits on display. The shop nearby sells souvenirs.

7. Monterey Bay

Monterey Lovers Point Aaron Burda
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user http://wikitravel... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Monterey Beach is a must-visit for the experience it provides. There is no doubt that the scenery is breathtaking and one would never be satisfied and will long for more. Visitors can spend some time on the beach, or go hiking nearby. The Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Pebble Beach are some of the must-visit spots here. You can spend some time shopping here, or visit the nearby Camel-by-the-Sea, which is a small beach city.

8. Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach, California (Unsplash)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user esthercuan used under CC0

Around 32 km (20 miles) from San Francisco, Stinson Beach is a popular tourist destination. It is also one of the busiest beaches in the region. The sand of this beach stretches for around 4.82 km (3 miles). Surfing, kayaking, and beach volleyball games are some of the activities you can indulge in here. There is a dedicated picnic spot, where there are barbecue grills placed, too. Pets are not allowed on the beach, but are permitted in the picnic area and the parking lot. There is no entrance fee for the beach.

9. Point Reyes National Seashore

McClures Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Frank Schulenburg used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Around an hour north of San Francisco is the famous Point Reyes National Seashore. It is home to over 1500 plant and animal species. The Point Reyes Lighthouse is something that should not be missed. After you climb the 300 plus stairs to the top of the lighthouse, you will get panoramic views of the Pacific. If you are visiting this place, don’t forget to pack your binoculars as there is a lot to see.

10. Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Artico2 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The county of Santa Cruz is for those visitors who like sunny weather. Do visit the Garden of Eden which will be a unique experience. It is a swimming hole that is hidden within a redwood forest. Then, there is the well-known old cove landing trail which is a two-and-a-half-mile stretch from where one can stare at the beauty of the Pacific. If hungry, visit the nearby Abbott Square Market.

Take a splendid day trip from the San Francisco Bay Area

Escape the busy life of the San Francisco Bay Area and go on a day trip outside the region. Savor wine, explore nature or relax on the beaches. A day trip from San Francisco Bay Area will leave lovers of nature, adventure, history and culture spellbound.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Sumit lived in the UK for 10 years and experienced the hustle and bustle of the urban life. However, the serene Scottish country side is where his heart lies. He is still unable to understand Welsh...Read more

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