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When we kicked off the summer, the first thing I said to Travis was that I wanted to see more of our own backyard. These best Bay Area weekend trips are just a few of the destinations that we’ve come to love over the years. So often I forget how many gems are here, not far from San Francisco. The best part? No flying required.

Our favorite kind of weekend getaways is usually a mix of outdoor adventure and downtime. Places like Monterey Bay, the Russian River, and Point Reyes are all nearby and offer a mix of experiences. My top travel tip? You don’t have to go far here. When we don’t feel up for a big day, we will hop over to places like Muir Woods that is only thirty minutes from the city.

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*This post was originally published June 2018 and updated March 2019.

Best Weekend Trips From the Bay Area

The Best Bay Area Weekend Trips


Location: Yosemite, California
Drive time from SF: 3+ hrs
Suggested amount of time: 1-3 nights
Read: The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Yosemite + The Ultimate Weekend Guide to Yosemite

This one takes the cake for me every time. I can’t get enough of Yosemite National Park, and often we will drive up just for a quick getaway. There’s so much to see, and every season is beautiful. The last time we booked last minute cabins in the park and enjoyed an extended weekend exploring the endless hiking trails. Best Weekend Trips From the Bay Area


Location: Big Sur, California
Drive time from SF: 3 hrs
Suggested amount of time: 2-3 nts
Read: The Ultimate One Week Itinerary to Northern California

When I think about a little getaway, Big Sur comes to mind immediately. It’s the place that soothes my soul — the high cliffs, turquoise waters, and the ability to disconnect. We like to go for 1-2 nights, head out for hikes, and enjoy the sea breeze for one of the best weekend trips from the Bay Area. If you’re going to head down the coast, be sure to check out Santa Cruz as well!

Best Weekend Trips From the Bay Area


Location: Mendocino, California
Drive time from SF:  3.5 hours
Suggested amount of time: 2-3 nights
Read: The Coastal Holiday Guide to Mendocino

Mendocino has this let go and let loose feel to it, with a down to earth edge. I love the number of outdoor hikes, quaint boutique hotels like Little River Inn, and small eateries perfect for a weekend away. It’s a bit of a further drive but I think it’s somewhere that often gets overlooked as a weekend getaway. Oh, and did I mention glamping at Mendocino Grove? It’s a dream.

Best Weekend Trips From the Bay Area


Location: Lake Tahoe, California
Drive time from SF: 3+ hrs
Suggested amount of time: 2-3 nights
Read: A Quick Summer Guide to Lake Tahoe + Best Airbnbs to Rent

I may be biased as I grew up going here, not too far from home, but this place is something else. Winter for ski, summer for days at the lake and everything else in between is pure magic. Lake Tahoe isn’t the best option for day trips on the weekend due to traffic, so be sure to time your travel accordingly. Best Weekend Trips From the Bay Area


Location: Forestville, California
Drive time from SF: 2 hrs
Suggested amount of time: 1-2 nights
Read: A Weekend at the Farmhouse

Somewhere Travis and I cherish going to every year is the Farmhouse Inn, located in Sonoma County. It’s not too far from Healdsburg, one of our favorite wine region destinations and it’s a complete zen-out kind-of-place in Sonoma. A few nights here cures all and we always come home feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

Best Weekend Trips From the Bay Area


Location: Half Moon Bay
Drive time from SF: 1 hr
Suggested amount of time: Day trip or 1-2 nights
Read: Modern Guide to Half Moon Bay

For those looking for a coastal escape not too far from home, Half Moon Bay makes for a great day trip. With over 10 beaches, there’s plenty to discover here for one of the best weekend trips from the Bay Area.

*Image credit


Location: Auburn, California
Drive time from SF: 2+ hrs
Suggested amount of time: 1-2 nights
Read: The Auburn, California Guide

Over the years I’ve watched my home town transform and change. Today, it has that small-town charm, where breweries and wineries are popping up, the old town is revitalized with boutique shops and cafes, and there’s plenty of outdoor experiences. Think river rafting, hikes to waterfalls, and endless trails to blaze.


Location: Napa
Drive time from SF: 2 hrs
Suggested amount of time: Day trip or 1-2 nights
Read: How to Spend 24 Hours in Napa Valley

Napa is close to home, so we often frequent there just for the day. It’s a great spot to catch a day at the spa, wine taste, and stroll the downtown. Wine country is always a great weekend getaway and who can’t get enough of crossing the Golden Gate Bridge?

Best Weekend Trips From the Bay Area


Location: Point Reyes
Drive time from SF: 1.5 hours
Suggested amount of time: Day trip or 1-2 nights
Read: Point Reyes Weekend

This is another one of those close to home gems that often gets overlooked. The coastal town has incredible food and wine scene, with a great farmer’s market over the weekend. We come here to get fresh oysters, stroll the paths along the ocean, and more.

Best Weekend Trips From the Bay Area


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Best Weekend Trips From the Bay Area

PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


Xx,
Jessica

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