San Francisco has a lot to offer - just ask the 26.5 million visitors who stopped by in 2019. But venture beyond the city bread and you’ll find beautiful destinations and extraordinary sights to rival the Golden Gate bridge itself.?
So, if you fancy escaping the city and swapping sourdough for Sequoia trees, we’ve lined up five of the best day trips around 100 miles’ drive from SF.
Distance from SFO: 1.5-2 hours, 106 miles
When it comes to impressive roadside scenery, a trip Monterey immediately comes to mind. Made famous as a sardine packing town before World War II, Monterey is a coastal destination with a rich history: the city was the previous capital of California, and celebrated its 250-year anniversary in 2020. Now, it’s famous for the Bixby Creek Bridge (pictured) quaint tourist shops and boutique coffee houses.?
If time permits, we recommend the 17 Mile Drive where you’ll have views of Pebble Beach golf course, considered one of the most prestigious public courses in the country. And of course, no trip to Monterey is complete without seeing the Monterey Bay Aquarium.?
Yosemite National Park
Distance from SF: 190 miles, 3-4 hours one way
You’ll need to get up early for this one to make a day of it, but we promise it’s worth the trek! Plus, you’ll have plenty of space to stretch your legs when you get there.
One of the largest California’s 9 national parks, Yosemite is known for its landscapes, beautiful views and epic hikes and climbs. Typically visitors spend 2-3 days here, but if you’re planning a day trip, the good news is it’s possible. Be sure to soak up every second of this 130-year old National icon.
Sonoma & Napa Valley
Distance from SFO: 1.25 hours, 65 miles
If you’ve always fancied learning about wine, where better to do so than California Wine Country? This world-renowned region is a must-visit destination for connoisseurs and curious alike.?
Located less than 70 miles from San Francisco, Napa makes for a perfect day trip year-round, though peak season tends to correspond with the harvest season (August through October). Known for its plentiful hillside vineyards, Napa is considered to be one of the premier wine destinations of the world. Don’t forget to look out for the Napa Wine Train - a vintage train and restaurant which travels up and down the county.
If wine isn’t your thing, just enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings and award-winning restaurant scene instead. We recommend heading Northwest of Napa Yountville where you’ll find world-class wineries, bakeries and quaint gift shops.?
Muir Woods National Monument
Distance from San Francisco: Around 1 hour / 32 miles
If you don’t fancy driving all the way to Yosemite or Tahoe, Muir Woods is much closer but no less epic.
Named after naturalist John Muir, Muir Woods is famous for its towering groves of Giant Redwoods trees. In fact, this National Park is a conservational haven, protecting over 500 acres of land and 240 acres of ancient Sequoia forest.
Given its proximity to the coast, Muir Woods remains cool year-round. Together with great hiking trails of varying difficulty - the park makes for a family-friendly trip especially in the warmer summer months.
We recommend dropping in to Sausalito on your way back to SF - this Mediterranean-style village is full of quaint shops, art galleries and waterfront restaurants - surprisingly without an over-tourist feel.?
Silicon Valley Tech Day Tour from San Francisco
Distance from SFO: Around 30 minutes, 28 miles
Chances are, you own a smartphone. Chances are you wouldn’t, if it wasn’t for Silicon Valley.?
Home to some of the most important and innovative companies of our time, Silicon Valley is the backdrop for so many “where it all began”s.?
From the world-famous Apple Campus, to the Computer History Museum, home to the first mega-computers and commercially-produced machines from 20-30 years ago - the Valley is a bucket list destination to learn how our world transformed to digital.
Keep your eyes peeled and we’re sure you’ll spot some Silicon Valley stereotypes from the? eponymous HBO show. Always blue!?
While you’re here - why not check out our California Road Trips Guide and best Wine Tours in California. And don’t forget to tag us on social! @KlookTravel #YourstoExplore
Things To Do Transportation
How To Get Around California Easily
California is without a doubt the best US state for road trips! Enigmatic sites like Yosemite, Big Sur and Death Valley are not only best discovered by car, they are almost impossible to reach by public transport, which is why most people prefer to explore California with their own rental car. Check out our pro-guide on how to get around California, totally hassle-free.