Weekend Adventures Outside of SF (90 minutes-4 hours from SF)

Napa Alley Cat Guides San Francisco
Photo cred: Aurimas

WINE COUNTY (Napa & Sonoma)

Possible also as a day adventure, but fun to stay overnight. There are plenty of same-day car services that offer transport between wine country and SF.
How to reach? Car, bus, or limo.

  • Napa County: Wineries, restaurants, spas, oh my!
    Made famous in 1976 after the Judgement of Paris Wine Tasting, Napa County remains a world-famous wino destination. Although possible for just a day adventure from SF, there’s plenty to do (& drink!) in Napa to keep you overnight. If you need to keep your trip short, but still want to indulge in the world-famous wine, there are plenty of same-day car services that offer transport between wine country and SF. Napa’s fine dining and sophisticated spread of activities pair well with the Cab.

    • Napa Wineries to Check out:
    • Calistoga: Famous for warm mineral pools, mudbaths, and spas, all while keeping a low profile. Phifer Pavitt Winery, Solbar, Vincent Arroyo Winery.
  • Sonoma County: A more down-to-earth version of Napa, Sonoma County is Napa’s rustic little sister who prefers backroads to highways. Sonoma boasts just as robust a wine scene and assortment of non-drinking activities, but with less crowds and sophisticated amenities. Although making the map for winos, most tourists miss the signs to Sonoma.
    • Sonoma Wineries to check out:

North of San Francisco

Russian River: tube, kayak , or camp alongside this lazy river. A more down-to-earth version of Napa, Sonoma County is Napa’s rustic little sister who prefers backroads to highways. Sonoma boasts just as robust a wine scene and assortment of non-drinking activites, but with less crowds and sophisticated amenities. Although making the map for winos, most tourists miss the signs to Sonoma.

Guerneville: Along the Russian River and protected by famous redwoods, Guerneville harbors environmental and gay activism.

Mendocino County: Rugged coastline, ancient redwoods, quaint towns, and artisanal wineries, Mendocino County is most definitely off the beaten path.

Inland from San Francisco

Yosemite: Home to 750,000-acres, thousands of lakes, 1,600 miles of streams, and 800 miles of hiking trails, Yosemite National Park offers nature in immeasurable proportions. Among the most famous highlights stand Half Dome (permit required), Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and Mist Trail. Each season offers advantages: wildflowers and roaring wateralls repleted with snowmelt in the spring, park-wide access in the summer (albeit crowded with tourists), continued park-wide access with less tourists in the fall, and snowy solitude in the winter.

Lake Tahoe: Snow sports by winter, water sports by summer, Lake Tahoe equals paradise for action junkies. For less action-packed escapades, charming towns offer comfort-food cafes and total-relaxation day spas. Your options don’t disappear with the daylight—end your day by playing poker along the Nevada border or board games cuddled up inside a storybook cabin.

Sacramento & Davis: If you make it to California’s state capital, make a stop over in neighboring Davis, a cute college town with an impressive craft beer culture.

South of San Francisco

Santa Cruz: An atypical American suburbia replete with surfers, skaters, and UCSC banana slugs.

Monterey & Carmel: Just south of Santa Cruz and north of Big Sur, this area is a great launching pad for California’s central coast. A testament to the region’s deep love of the arts, no-longer-canning Cannery Row remains famous from John Steinback’s novel. The nearby legendary golf courses also beckon to be titled works of art. Just south of Santa Cruz and north of Big Sur, this area is a great launching pad for California’s central coast. A testament to the region’s deep love of the arts, no-longer-canning Cannery Row remains famous as the setting for John Steinback’s novel. The nearby legendary golf courses also beckon to be titled works of art. Monterey Aquarium. Agricultural center. 17 Mile Drive. Pebble Beach. Laguna Seca

Big Sur: Big Sur spans hundreds of miles of untamed coastline which can be taken in curising down the 2-lane Pacific Coast Highway (or Highay One). The rivers and redwoods provide the perfect setting for escape from the chaos of normal life, just ask authors Henry Miller or Jack Keroac. Big Sur can be as rugged as you make it – the region includes the vast Ventana Wilderness where you can climb, hike, and mountaineer.