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27 Best Weekend Trips From San Francisco for a Terrific Getaway

San Francisco is a great city in its own right, with plenty of splendor on offer. But, what truly makes this place special is the number of attractions within a couple of hours from The Golden City. Whether you go up north, east, west, or down south from the city, you’re bound to find something that piques your interest.

Thanks to being in the heart of California, there are plenty of weekend trips from San Francisco that suit all travellers. Adventurers can enjoy hiking and breathtaking scenery at the Big Sur. Nature lovers can take in natural beauty at Yosemite, and wine enthusiasts can sip on reds at one of many vineyards — the list goes on.

To help you narrow down this long list, I’ve written this comprehensive guide on the 27 best weekend trips from San Francisco. I’ve made sure to include stops with the best California landmarks, awe-inspiring beaches, jaw-dropping landscapes, and more.

california_livermore_mcgrail-vineyard-view
The view from McGrail Vineyards

27 Best Weekend Trips from San Francisco

Whether you’re a San Francisco native or a Golden City visitor, there’s plenty to see in the bay area. Regardless of your interests, I’m certain you’ll find something that draws you into one of the following weekend stops from San Francisco.

I’ve listed the weekend getaways in order of the time it relatively takes to reach each destination and their similarities.

1. Sausalito

Distance from San Francisco: 10 miles or 25 minutes

Located within an hour of San Francisco, Sausalito is the perfect place to begin your weekend trip away. Use it as a pit stop before continuing the drive to another destination.

When here, I recommend visiting the Point Bonita Lighthouse for panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge. If you’re a marine life enthusiast, you’re in for a real treat at the Marine Mammal Center where you can learn about various marine mammals.

san francisco sunset golden gate bridge

The water fun continues with a selection of water activities, including kayaking and sailing. If you’d rather enjoy a leisurely outing, set up your towel on Stinson Beach and sunbathe with dramatic cliff views in the distance.

For fun away from water, there are several hikes waiting in the area, with the SCA and Slackers Hill high on my list of recommendations. They offer up some of the best views in the Bay Area.

sausalito
sausalito

2. Half Moon Bay

Distance from San Francisco: 30 miles or 45 minutes

Located under an hour from San Francisco, Half Moon Bay is another great start to a weekend trip from San Francisco. While it’s not filled to the brim with attractions like some of the places on this guide, it’s still worth a visit.

half moon bay
half moon bay

See some of the west coast’s best scenery while riding a bike across the 4.7-mile Half Moon Bay Coastside Trail. If you prefer exploring on foot, then make your way to Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve and take on their various trails — beware though, I think most of them are suited to experienced hikers.

When you aren’t lazing around on one of the town’s beaches, go view the elephant seals at Ano Nuevo State Park before continuing to some of the more eventful destinations.

half moon bay
half moon bay

3. Pescadero

Distance from San Francisco: 47 miles or 1 hour and 10 minutes

Pescadero, a beach town, is another excellent place to start a North California escapade from San Francisco. It’s a relatively short drive from The Golden City and may warrant an overnight stay, depending on how enticing it is to you.

Upon arrival, I recommend getting something to fill the stomach from one of the many spots in the town. Grab a crab melt sandwich from Duarte’s Tavern, sink your teeth into the Mercado & Taqueria De Amigos’ fresh tacos, or enjoy pastries and coffee courtesy of Downtown Local.

Pescadero
Pescadero

Once you’ve re-energised, get ready for a cool tour of Pescadero. Start at the historic Pigeon Point Lighthouse before making your way to Bean Hollow State Beach to catch a glance at Pebble Beach.

Alternatively, you can make your way to Pescadero State Beach. On one side, it boasts large dunes and on the other, it features rocky coves.

Pescadero
Pescadero

If you’ve got the time to, birdwatch at Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve or hike under redwoods at nearby Butano State Park, which also has campgrounds for overnight stays.

4. Napa

Distance from San Francisco: 48 miles or 1 hour and 20 minutes

Thanks to its proximity to the city, you could include Napa as the second stop of a San Francisco weekend trip. It’s one of California’s most popular wine regions, meaning it’s a must-visit for anyone who enjoys decadent grapes and has the budget too.

things to do in napa
The Napa Valley Wine Train

Staying true to its reputation, the drawcard here is wine tasting, and you’ll be spoiled for choice with over 400 wineries. You can explore the rolling vineyards atop a hot air balloon while getting some insightful info if you aren’t afraid of heights.

Don’t miss a visit to the lovely little town of Calistoga and perhaps even stay the night and enjoy the Solage Spa.

things-to-do-in-calistoga

There’s more to Napa than just its wines, though, with some fun waiting downtown. Put your swing to use at the golf course, enjoy scenic river views, and fill up with delicious food in the Oxbow Public Market. Further north, Vichy Springs, a renowned Northern California hot spring, showers you in bubbly natural waters.

Or head east from San Francisco and enjoy a visit to the lovely Livermore wine region.

5. Sonoma

Distance from San Francisco: 44 miles or 1 hour and 30 minutes

If you’re travelling with a budget in mind and don’t want to spend most of it in Napa, you can opt for Sonoma. It’s also a renowned wine region, but at a fraction of the cost of Napa.

sonoma farm trails
sonoma farm trails

Many wineries are waiting to give you a taste of some of the world’s finest wines. While sipping on wine, you can enjoy countryside views of rolling hills and vineyards from various wineries.

sonoma county vineyards
sonoma county

Like Napa, there are a number of attractions that can easily substitute for the wine tasting if that’s not your vibe. At the top of the list is a visit to the Sonoma Coast State Park, which boasts sandy beaches and easy hiking/walking trails. As an alternative, there’s also the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, an hour away from the town.

sonoma county vineyards
sonoma county vineyards

6. Healdsburg

Distance from San Francisco: 70 miles or 1 hour and 20 minutes

Healdsburg is another wine region near San Francisco famous for its wineries and vineyards. This weekend trip is like visiting Napa and Sonoma but without having to spend a ton of money as it’s way less expensive.

Healdsburg
Healdsburg

Wine tasting in the region saves you money as some wineries and tasting rooms offer complimentary sips. The best part about these vineyards is that they’re so close to one another, you can walk or bike from one to the other. I strongly recommend stopping at Williamson Wines, where all wine tastings come paired with different foods.

Healdsburg vineyards
Healdsburg vineyards

Like Napa, wine isn’t all there is to the region. You can explore the viewpoints downtown or view incredible artwork in the art galleries. Kayaking on the Russian River and strolling through the Del Rio Woods Regional Park are other fun activities on offer.

7. Yountville

Distance from San Francisco: 57 miles or 1 hour and 30 minutes

If you’re ever in search of a relaxing getaway highlighted by days of pure bliss doing nothing, I strongly recommend Yountville. It’s a countryside city where quiet surroundings are only disturbed by the sounds of animals and nothing else.

Yountville
Yountville

It’s a great base for exploring Napa and the Napa Valley, although it does have its own set of attractions. It’s a foodie magnet, with restaurants like Ad Hoc Restaurant, Bottega, and Brix Restaurant ready to delight your palates.

There are also some wineries in the area, meaning you don’t have to travel to Napa, Calistoga, or other nearby towns and cities for wine tasting. You can even see some of the vineyards’ beauty while biking through them.

Yountville vineyards
Yountville vineyards

In addition to the food scene, Yountville has a remarkable art scene led by the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville. There are also rotating sculptures to be seen during the Yountville Art Walk and Audio tour.

Once you’ve toured the city, turn to one of the many spas to rejuvenate your mind and body with a number of expert treatments.

8. Guerneville

Distance from San Francisco: 75 miles or 1 hour and 45 minutes

While a beauty all-year-round, I recommend visiting Guerneville in the summer. As the Russian River is the area’s magnum opus, a summer visit ensures you can enjoy all the water fun on offer.

Guerneville
Guerneville

Once you’ve packed your floaties and other essentials, kayak or canoe over the river while marvelling at the surrounding greenery. Apart from the Russian River, there’s Johnson’s Beach as an alternative when the river has too many people.

After fun out on the water, continue the nature exploration on foot at the Armstrong Woods State Natural Reserve. This redwood forest has plenty of hiking trails dotted with trees and other flora.

Guerneville
Guerneville

Located in Sonoma County, there are several wineries nearby in addition to the restaurants and breweries in Guerneville.

9. Santa Cruz

Distance from San Francisco: 71 miles or 1 hour and 15 minutes

Want a weekend trip away from San Francisco but don’t want to sacrifice city life? Then I recommend spending time in Santa Cruz, a quirky city with many attractions and fun activities.

sunset santa cruz california

At the top of the list are the many beaches in the city. While swimmers and sunbathers frequent the beaches, they’re most popular amongst surfers. In fact, surfing is so popular in this part of California there’s even a surfing museum set in a former lighthouse.

Don’t fret if that’s not your forte, there are also redwood forests to hike through, cliffside views on the West Cliff Drive, and whale watching galore in winter. The Natural Bridges State Park continues the natural fun, boasting views of ocean rock formations and fantastic flora.

Natural_Bridges_State_Beach_Santa_Cruz
Natural Bridges Beach

For those of you who’re kids at heart, I recommend visiting the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to explore the rides the amusement park has. End your day with dinner or shopping ‘til you drop at one of the many shops in the city and don’t miss one of the best California sunsets.

10. Sebastopol

Distance from San Francisco: 55 miles or 1 hour and 25 minutes

This small city sits north of San Francisco and it boasts a slow pace thanks to its low population numbers. It blends its current vibrant lifestyle with its artsy and hippy ways of the past.

Sebastopol
Sebastopol

One of the bizarre, yet still interesting attractions here is the 14-mile long outdoor gallery dotted with “junk art”. It’s not the only place with old gems though, as the city is full of antique shops selling rare books, decorations, furniture, and more. There are also some spots for thrifting for old clothes, which I don’t think you should overlook for style inspiration.

Sebastopol church
Sebastopol church

While wine tasting is on offer at several vineyards, I’d recommend using Sebastopol as a base for Sonoma County explorations. If you enjoy your drinks on the stronger side, visit Crooked Goat Brewing, Seismic Brewing Taproom, or Woodfour Brewing Company for the ultimate brewery experience.

11. Point Reyes and Tomales Bay

Distance from San Francisco: 55 miles or 1 hour and 15 minutes

Like Sebastopol, Point Reyes is a sleepy town perfect for anyone keen on a slower pace. Plus, its proximity to San Francisco means you can explore the town and other areas during the weekend getaway. Although, it does have enough to cover the entire weekend by itself.

point reyes lighthouse california
point reyes lighthouse

Here, the show’s star is the Cypress Tree Tunnel stop, which is lined by Monterey cypress trees. Apart from this stop, there’s plenty of flora and fauna to be seen with strolls and hikes in the area. Trails lead to the glorious Alamere Falls, a historic lighthouse, a leaning tree, and more. Beware, though, the Alamere Falls trail is a long one.

point reyes lighthouse california sunset
point reyes lighthouse

There are also some sandy beaches perfect for soaking in the sun, with Drake’s Beach at the top of the list. As a fishing town, you can’t be in Point Reyes and not taste the delicious seafood delicacies — think fresh oysters, prawns, shrimp, and more.

As for activities, you can enjoy some red and white wines at the Point Reyes vineyard or kayak around Tomales Bay.

12. Sacramento

Distance from San Francisco: 88 miles or 1 hour and 30 minutes

Sacramento is another great weekend getaway from San Francisco if you’d love to have the urban city feel. The dozens of historical attractions highlight the slower pace of life you’ll experience here.

Sacramento
Sacramento

Go on a free tour of the State Capitol Building, jump on a historic river cruise, or marvel at the displays at the various museums. The Old Sacramento State Historic Park also takes you back in time on cobblestone streets.

Sacramento bridge
Sacramento bridge

For some more lively fun, visit one of two zoos to see some animals and take on the Scandia Family Fun Center rides. If visiting in summer, which I never recommend for inland California, there are two water parks ready to cool you down. In the colder months, there are two ice rinks waiting for you.

13. Monterey

Distance from San Francisco: 115 miles or 1 hour and 45 minutes

Monterey represents another city weekend trip from San Francisco. The city is typically upper class and laid back, making it an excellent option for a romantic getaway.

monterey wharf
monterey wharf

Monterey is most popular for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is animal conservation with a museum feel to it. If you’d rather see sea life in its natural habitat, you’re in for a treat as the city offers whale watching during winter and spring.

monterey sea
monterey sea

For romance, I recommend watching the sunset at one of the beaches with your partner or enjoying a picnic at Lovers Point Park. Or, you can enjoy scenic views while driving along the 17-Mile Drive.

Afterwards, grab dinner from some formidable diners or shop ‘til you drop on the Monterey Wharf.

14. Carmel-by-the-Sea

Distance from San Francisco: 122 miles or 2 hours and 10 minutes

A few miles away from Monterey is this charming seaside town that draws inspiration from Europe. Thanks to their proximity to one another, I recommend coupling Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea together in one weekend.

carmel
carmel

The Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is the one place I highly recommend visiting. Among the activities on offer here, you can hike to your heart’s content, see various tide pools, or just laze on the beach. As an alternative, you can head to Garland Ranch Regional Park to enjoy a walk through redwood forests and maple trees.

carmel by the sea weekend trips from san francisco
carmel by the sea

One of the highlights of the European influence around the area is the Carmel Mission, a Spanish mission church. Marvel at the highly decorated interior basilica, which is a National Historic Landmark. There’s also a museum which houses many artefacts and tells the tale of the mission.

For more souvenirs, head to Ocean Avenue which features stores selling Scandinavian products, cowboy apparel, art, and more.

15. Pinnacles National Park

Distance from San Francisco: 128 miles or 2 hours and 25 minutes

California’s newest national park is also the least visited of all the state’s parks — this is perfect if you want to avoid crowds. The park is renowned for its towering spires, all of which you can admire while trekking through the park. Despite it being designated as a park very recently, its landscape’s been around for over 20 million years.

Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles National Park

I recommend visiting Pinnacles National Park for its hiking opportunities, with plenty of trails that vary in length and difficulty. Some of the paths lead to the park’s two talus caves, both of which are worth exploring.

There’s also different flora and fauna to be seen during your visit. I recommend all birdwatchers to bring along binoculars as this is one of the best places to see the California condor.

Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles National Park

With plenty of campgrounds, you can stay overnight right in the park and spend your nights stargazing.

16. Big Sur

Distance from San Francisco: 140 miles or 2 hours and 45 minutes

Whenever I hear people say, “The journey is the destination”, the Big Sur comes to mind more often than not. The drive takes place on parts of the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, arguably the world’s most scenic coastline and one I think every person must visit at least once.

big sur
big sur

At first glance, you may be mesmerised by how well the turquoise waters contrast with the rocky landscapes and their greenery. As you go on, you’ll come across several stops that command your presence with their beauty and intrigue.

big sur
big sur

These include Sand Dollar Beach, which is a treasure trove for surfing enthusiasts. There’s also McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer State Park, and a place you can put your hiking shoes to good use at.

The fun doesn’t stop on the drive, though, as Big Sur has a ton of things to do in town. Take a picture at Bixby Creek Bridge (it’s so Instagrammable) or just marvel at the view.

Bixby Creek Bridge
Bixby Creek Bridge

You can watch a beautiful sunset over Pfeiffer Beach’s rock arch or just lay on the purple sand to end the day. There are also many hiking trails for outdoor lovers and a gallery, library, and several restaurants if you prefer indoor fun.

17. Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Distance from San Francisco: 157 miles or 3 hours

Calaveras County is one of the least-visited places in California, but whenever anyone visits they’re mostly going for the Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Unlike the other popular parks, you likely won’t find many tourists or visitors here and it’s ideal for avoiding the crowds.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Calaveras Big Trees State Park

The park is also the place to visit if you’re in search of sequoias in NorCal as these trees are more prevalent in SoCal.

Before walking the park’s trails under sequoias you’re greeted by the visitor centre and its museum. Here, you learn about the local flora and fauna and also have a gift shop to purchase various items.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park sequoia trees
Calaveras Big Trees State Park sequoia trees

The museum tells the story of how Native Americans used the area. It also has a movie room with a film detailing how the enormous sequoias were discovered.

For anyone interested in an overnight stay at this sprawling park, there are campgrounds all around the area.

18. Yosemite National Park

Distance from San Francisco: 171 miles or 3 hours & 30 minutes

Yosemite National Park is a quintessential visit for anyone, especially nature-lovers. The expansive park has a lot of natural beauty that draws in hordes of visitors annually. Check out my thorough guide on what to do in Yosemite in one day, in addition to the recommendations below.

yosemite in october

Once you get to the park, don’t get your walking shoes out just yet, as you can take in the natural splendour from the comfort of your car. Drive around Yosemite Valley to enjoy glorious views, see a loop of stunning trees, and enjoy the Half Dome and El Capitan Rocks sights.

california_yosemite_yosemite-valley-10
The stunning Yosemite Valley

Afterwards, enjoy a filling meal at one of the incredible Yosemite Village restaurants, pick up souvenirs at the gallery, and speak to a guide at the visitor centre. From there, you can choose to explore on foot, by car, or by shuttle bus.

california_yosemite_tenaya-lake-2

What awaits during your park getaway are waterfalls that include the tallest one in America, incredible viewpoints to enjoy the sunset, as well as a lake and trees for that lovely natural touch.

19. Lake Tahoe

Distance from San Francisco: 199 miles or 3 hours and 30 minutes

Lake Tahoe, one of California’s largest lakes, is a treasure trove for nature enthusiasts and outdoor lovers. The best part of this famous US landmark is that it’s a perfect getaway during both summer and winter.

Lake Tahoe offers panoramic lake views, lush greenery, and some lakeside beaches perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding in the summer. There are also many hiking trails, with the best ones found on the southern side of the lake. If you’re a nature lover, be sure to visit the Emerald Bay and DL Bliss state parks to immerse yourself in nature.

lake tahoe
lake tahoe

Lake Tahoe becomes a snowsports haven that welcomes ski buffs, snowboarders, and the likes with open arms in the winter. The area is surrounded by ski resorts far and near, with skiing, snowshoeing, and hot tubs as the order of the day.

20. Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Distance from San Francisco: 218 miles or 3 hours and 50 minutes

Much like the other parks on the list, this is the perfect destination for nature lovers. What makes Humboldt a great NorCal weekend trip from San Francisco is that this is the home of the California redwoods.

Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Humboldt Redwoods State Park spans over 50 000 acres and has over 100 miles of trails for you to hike through. I’d say the park is best explored by car though, as the Avenue of the Giants drive is simply mesmerising. Not to mention, there’s the fun little tree drive-through at a small fee — I recommend you stop and take a picture too.

Along the drive, you can even stop to do some incredibly short hikes around the forest before continuing the drive on the road. Be sure to visit the South Fork Eel River in the park, with possibilities of fishing, boating, and swimming before retiring to your hotel or campsite.

Humboldt Redwoods State Park trees
Humboldt Redwoods State Park trees

Thanks to its enormous size, I strongly recommend you visit the visitor centre so you get a guide to all the best stops on the drive. The centre also provides some fun, with a bookstore and a theatre among some of the best facilities here.

21. Timber Cove

Distance from San Francisco: 93 miles or 2 hours and 25 minutes

I recommend a visit to Timber Cove Resort for couples as it’s all about relaxation and pampering. The journey begins with a scenic Highway 1 drive which leads to the secluded resort for romantic fun. It’s a great base for exploring the towns located on the Sonoma Coast during a fulfilling weekend escape.

Timber Cove
Timber Cove

You don’t have to worry about planning your trips yourself as the resort curates daily activities for you. Some of the activities include hiking alongside the stunning Sonoma Coast, seeing a jaw-dropping obelisk that overlooks the ocean, and enjoying a romantic California sunset from the resort’s oceanside fire pit.

Relax and sip on various wines during a visit to the Fort Ross Vineyard. For something more lively, visit either the Fort Ross, Salt Point, Armstrong Redwoods, or Sonoma Coast state parks for their natural beauty. Alternatively, you can enjoy watertreks, kayaking, swimming, and fishing at the river or at one of three beaches.

22. Mendocino Coast

Distance from San Francisco: 155 miles or 3 hours

North of San Francisco is the Mendocino Coast, a charming area with a mix of attractions that all travellers can enjoy. Not to mention, getting there means travelling on the Pacific Coast Highway — something I would never pass up! Dotted with small towns nearby, it’s a great change of pace from the fast lifestyle of The Golden City.

Mendocino Coast
Mendocino Coast

Hike your way through the Mendocino Headlands (great for whale-watching), Russian Gulch, or Van Damme state parks. MacKerricher State Park is another great visit as it’s loaded with tidepools. There are also plenty of trails that lead to jaw-dropping ocean views atop a myriad of cliffs, some even giving those in the Big Sur a run for their money.

In downtown Mendocino, you’ll find a bustling food scene along with plenty of art galleries, gardens, and scenic sunsets. The town is most famous for its wine, meaning it’s a must to go on a wine tasting tour at the various wineries in the area.

Mendocino Coast
Mendocino Coast

Also, be sure to visit the smaller towns around the area, with Fort Bragg being a must-visit for its unique Glass Beach. Continue the fun on a round-trip on the iconic Skunk Train in Fort Bragg. It travels along the Pudding Creek Estuary, which is home to untouched greenery and various birds.

23. Fresno

Distance from San Francisco: 187 miles or 3 hours and 10 minutes

While Fresno is renowned for its agricultural output, you don’t have to spend your time plowing through the ground. The city has a number of attractions for you to explore during a weekend away from San Francisco.

For wildlife and nature lovers, there’s the usual and something out of the ordinary waiting for you. The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is a great first stop for seeing animals like tigers, orangutans, giraffes, and more.

fresno
fresno

For flora, I recommend starting at 300-acre Woodward Regional Park, which is a peaceful retreat under the trees and features several hiking trails. Afterwards, make your way to the underground garden on a one-hour tour and discover a subterranean maze dotted with various plants.

For the art buffs out there, the Fresno Art Museum, along with over 3 000 artworks, is ready to welcome you with open arms. Some of these pieces are permanent and some are rotating exhibits.

As Cali’s largest inland city, a visit here would be wasted without a visit downtown. The district features a number of restaurants, boutique stores, theatres, and historic buildings like the water tower and city hall.

If you’re travelling as a family, you must visit Island Waterpark for aquatic fun on slides, wave pools, and more.

24. Morro Bay

Distance from San Francisco: 232 miles or 3 hours and 45 minutes

This small Central Coast town isn’t a popular weekend trip from San Francisco, which is why I recommend a visit. Not only is the town incredible, but the long drive there takes you on the Pacific Coast Highway, and you already know how much I love the route. On the drive, you can stop at Hearst Castle and Elephant Seal to see elephant seals.

It goes without saying that you must visit the enormous Morro Rock, which stands at around 175 metres. Once you’ve marvelled at the landmark, lay down by the sand or take on the waves at the Morro Rock beach.

hearst castle
hearst castle

You can also enjoy bay views at Coleman Park or otter sightings on the Morro Bay T Pier. For an even closer encounter with otters and other sea life, rent a kayak or paddleboard and travel over the bay.

Nature trails and a boardwalk await at the Morro Bay State Park and tidepools await in Montana de Oro. If you’ve got time, make your way to nearby Paso Robles for wine tasting at various wineries.

hearst castle exterior
hearst castle exterior

Note: The Hearst Castle was temporarily closed due to damage done by terrible snowstorms. Check out their website for updates.

25. San Luis Obispo

Distance from San Francisco: 231 miles or 3 hours and 40 minutes

A visit to San Luis Obispo (SLO) is another overlooked trip from San Francisco that I recommend everyone makes at least once. While the scenic drive takes a considerably long time, the destination makes it all worth it — especially for people who love road trips.

San Luis Obispo aerial view
San Luis Obispo aerial view

Although it’s not an official wine region, the town has a thriving wine scene thanks to the many vineyards around. SLO’s greatest attractions are the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and the Madonna Inn and its famous steakhouse —  which I recommend visiting for mouth-watering delicacies.

San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo

In downtown San Luis Obispo, the boutique stores and art galleries are must-visits. In between your exploration, enjoy artisanal foods from the many diners in the area.

Once you’ve had your fair share of fun, trek your way to the top of Bishop Peak or Cerro San Luis Obispo to enjoy the panoramic views below.

26. Cambria

Distance from San Francisco: 231 miles or 3 hours and 45 minutes

This beach town on the California coast is a great weekend destination that will reward any traveller willing to handle the travelling hours. It has a myriad of opportunities for both indoor and outdoor fun.

cambria
cambria

Tap into the serenity with the flat and easy hikes on either the Moonstone Beach Boardwalk Trail or the bluff trail at Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. These are spectacular trekking options as they both overlook the ocean. Once there, hit the Moonstone Beach’s waters or explore the wilderness at Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.

A visit to any town is never complete without a visit downtown and Cambria has a charming Main Street for pleasant strolls. It’s dotted with antique shops, art galleries, diners, and some pretty cottage gardens.

While there are plenty of beaches in town, I recommend visiting the William Randolph Hearst State Beach for a walk on its pier. The beach sits opposite Hearst Castle, which is a must-visit attraction in Cambria. As an alternative, there’s Nitt Witt Ridge which is known as a poor man’s Hearst Castle.

27. Reno

Distance from San Francisco: 219 miles or 3 hours and 45 minutes

This is the only weekend trip from San Francisco that crosses state lines, and I highly recommend it since it’s just under four hours. It’s the closest thing to Las Vegas for anyone not willing to take the long trip there. Plus, it’s located right by Lake Tahoe and it’s not an opportunity you should miss when you’re that close.

Reno
Reno

In addition to the casino district beaming with neon lights, Reno has both indoor and outdoor fun waiting. Visit either the Nevada Museum of Art as an art buff or the National Automobile Museum if you’re a car enthusiast.

Reno Nevada at night
Reno Nevada at night

The Reno Riverwalk, located along the Truckee River, is the city’s must-visit district. It’s lined with art galleries and restaurants that can be visited as part of the $20 wine-tasting Wine Walk. This walking tour takes place between 14:00 and 17:00 on the third Saturday of the month.

Which Weekend Getaway from San Francisco Will You Choose?

As you can see from my guide, there are several weekend trips from San Francisco worth taking on. Each destination has its own splendour that draws in hordes of visitors annually.

Take a long drive or stay close to home, visit natural landmarks, change scenery without losing the city feel, or take a relaxing, romantic getaway at a resort — the choice is all yours.

san francisco sunset 2

I covered all of the costs associated with writing this article. However, this weekend trips from San Francisco post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

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