Feb 11, 2020 | Explore the Bay Area
5 Day Trips North of San Francisco For a Relaxing Escape
The North Bay Area is brimming with stunning destinations and diverse landscapes all within easy reach and all offering something you wouldn’t be able to find in the city. From sprawling vineyards to white sand beaches and coastal redwoods, the area is full of possibilities for a relaxing escape. We've rounded up some stellar day trips north of San Francisco for wine lovers, beachgoers, and adventure seekers that you’ll never forget.
1. See Coastal Redwoods at Muir Woods
Enter the redwood forest in Mill Valley to see the towering botanical giants lining Redwood Creek. The Muir Woods National Monument contains 6 miles of trails to choose from. Walk along the redwood grove to get up close to the colossal tree trunks, take the elevated loop trail to hang out in the tree canopy, or go on a longer hike along multiple trails that extend to the surrounding Mount Tamalpais State Park. Parking and shuttle reservations are now required, so make sure you book ahead if you plan on taking your own vehicle.
2. Dip Your Toes in the Sand at Stinson Beach
One of California’s best kept secrets, Stinson Beach’s white sand and gentle coast make it one of the best swimming beaches in Northern California. Hike, fish, surf, or pack a picnic to enjoy under the sun. Keep your eye out for dolphins off the coast and sand dollars along the shore. You’ll find a snack bar at the base of the main lifeguard tower during summer months, but if you’re craving a little more sustenance, Parkside Café and Siren Canteen are two of the most popular beachfront eateries in town. Be prepared for crowds and parking congestion on sunny weekends.
3. Take a Ferry to Angel Island
The beautiful 1.2 square mile island in the San Francisco Bay is accessible by ferry from Pier 41 in San Francisco or via the town of Tiburon. Entry to the State Park is included with your ferry ticket purchase. Explore the historic island by tram, segway, or bike rental options available in Ayala Cove. See the San Francisco skyline, Alcatraz Island, and Golden Gate Bridge from new heights with a guided hike along the North Ridge Trail to the summit of Mt. Livermore. After a day exploring the island, dine at Angel Island Café and Cantina for seasonal cuisine and live music on their waterfront patio.
4. Visit the Charming Bayside Town of Sausalito
Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the lovely town of Sausalito overlooks the bay amid quaint downtown streets featuring an array of boutique shops, galleries, and eateries. From exploring the picturesque Bridgeway Promenade to some of the best Michelin-starred restaurants in the Bay Area, check out our guide to our favorite things to do in Sausalito. Sausalito is the ideal jumping-off point for your Bay Area adventures; our day trip recommendations are all within a short drive of this beautiful coastal town.
5. Taste the Terroir of Napa Valley and Sonoma Wine Country
Napa and Sonoma wine country offers a little bit of everything to the thirsty wine drinker. Only an hours’ drive north of San Francisco, the wine regions have a combined 800 wineries. Venture out to the vineyards in the Napa Valley towns of St. Helena and Calistoga for awe-inspiring wineries, including the magnificent Castello di Amorosa, an authentic 13th-century medieval Italian Tuscan castle. See the countryside on a self-guided tour or via the Napa Valley Wine Train, a vintage Pullman Standard Company train that whisks you through the valley, offering gourmet meals and drop-off service to the area’s most popular wineries.
Stay in the heart of downtown Sausalito at Casa Madrona, a historic luxury bayfront hotel known for its luxurious suites, on-site Spa, and prime location within walking distance of popular restaurants and the ferry terminal to San Francisco. Choose from our best rates and special offers when you book direct with Casa Madrona.