Despite the fog and grit, San Francisco is a magical city with winding hills, diverse neighborhoods, and many parks (not to mention the food). One of the best things about San Francisco is how easy it is to drive across the Bay or Golden Gate Bridges to escape for a few hours or a few nights. Read more for our guide to four getaways in the Bay Area:
Bolinas is the oldest town in Marin County that you’ve never heard of. The locals repeatedly take down the signs along Highway 1 leading to the tiny beach town, making it the perfect escape for lunch or a few nights out of town. There’s hiking at Alamere Falls or Limantour Beach, local delicacies at the Coast Cafe and Eleven, and a bookstore with an honor system. You can’t come to Bolinas without stopping by Smiley’s Schooner Saloon for a drink. It’s one of the oldest bars in California and full of local character and characters alike.
Boonville is out of the way, but in the best way possible. The Anderson Valley town is about three hours from San Francisco in distance, but much more in mindset. On your way into town, stop by Anderson Valley Brewing Company for a pint or something sweet at Paysanne. The area is known for Pinot Noir — our favorite wineries are Handley Cellars, Goldeneye; and Pennyroyal Farms, a family-owned sustainable farm, dairy, and vineyard. You’ll want to stay at the Boonville Hotel all day, but be sure to explore nearby Hendy Woods or take a drive to the Point Arena Stornetta Public Lands. Philo Apple Farm’s farmstand and Farmhouse Mercantile are the perfect gift stops on your way back to the city.
It’s rare to see “charming” and “Carmel-by-the-Sea” not paired together. The walkable seaside town is romantic and boasts a lot of California history. Carmel feels distinctly European, and that’s reflected in the style and cuisine of two of our favorite restaurants: La Bicyclette and Porta Bella. A car is mandatory to take in Highway 1 on the way to Big Sur and 17-Mile-Drive near Pebble Beach. When it’s time for cocktail hour, Hog’s Breath Inn and Mission Ranch, owned by local legend, longtime resident, and former mayor Clint Eastwood are mandatories.
If you like oysters, there’s no better day trip from San Francisco than Marshall. In just an hour outside of San Francisco, you’ll feel like you’re in an East Coast fishing village, not Marin County. It’s a tie between The Marshall Store and Nick’s Cove for local oysters and seafood, but if you’re staying the night try to snag a seaside cottage at Nick’s Cove, they come complete with clawfoot bathtubs and wood burning stoves.