The San Francisco Bay Area is an amazing and beautiful place with so many things to do and places to see! Whether you’re a local San Francisco Bay Area resident or just visiting, there are so many places you could go during a summer trip! Some may take longer to reach than others but don’t let the distance dissuade you. Here are a few spots to visit in or nearby the Bay Area this season!
1. Stinson Beach
To start off with a typical California stereotype, Stinson Beach is an amazing place to plan a summer trip! Of course, there are many beaches across California and in the San Francisco Bay Area but Stinson is truly beautiful. It is located in Marin County about 24 miles North of San Francisco. You get a beautiful (although sometimes pretty winding) drive where you’ll go through some amazing Redwoods as well as a great stretch along the coast. Whether you just want a day trip, or to spend a few nights there, you can have a blast and enjoy the great summer sunshine! It can be a little pricey to stay in the area for a few nights, but be sure to check out available Airbnb’s!
2. Point Reyes
If you love the wilderness more than beaches then you’re in luck because the San Francisco Bay Area has some amazing nearby National Parks. Point Reyes is an amazing spot, also in Marin County, where lovers of nature and great sights will thrive. It can take about an hour and a half to reach the Point Reyes National Seashore from San Francisco. The amazing sights of this incredible peninsula with its beautiful shoreline, huge redwoods, and variety of wildlife won’t be soon forgotten. You might spot some otters and harbor seals in some areas, or even some wild elk if hiking the Tomales Point Trail! There are about 150 miles of hiking trails through Point Reyes which can be planned out at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. The visitor center also has some exhibits concerning historical context!
3. Napa Valley
Napa Valley can take up to two hours to reach from the city but it is definitely still considered part of the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s most known for its many amazing vineyards. If you’re a wine lover then it’s almost required you take a trip to Napa Valley! In addition to the amazing wine, Napa has an amazing landscape and gets pretty great weather during the summertime. It also has a great selection of food and so many other fun things to do!
4. Santa Cruz
Although Santa Cruz may not technically be counted as part of the San Francisco Bay Area, it should be considered if you want an amazing summer trip. Santa Cruz is about 75 miles from San Francisco so it takes about two hours to reach. There are a number of great, beautiful beaches there with so much coast surrounding the Santa Cruz area. There’s plenty of great surfing available if that’s your thing! It has also a few nearby State Parks you can visit if you enjoy nature and hiking. There’s lots of delicious food and great shops found in downtown Santa Cruz that should definitely be scoped out during your trip; however, a trip to Santa Cruz wouldn’t even count if you didn’t experience the incredible Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk! One of the few seaside amusement parks remaining, the Boardwalk never disappoints through its 100 years of service. The variety of fun rides, great food, and an amazing view of the ocean makes every cent of your ticket price worth it. You can take the gondola ride across the park to really take in all the sights of the Boardwalk and save you from some walking.
5. Lake Tahoe
The final area on this list of suggested travel spots, again, doesn’t exactly fall into the category of being in the San Francisco Bay Area; however, the close proximity and amazing experience guaranteed from it makes it a non-negotiable for this list. Only about 190 miles from San Francisco, so about four hours later, you will reach the beautiful Lake Tahoe! The summer trip in Lake Tahoe means it’s a great time to either be out on the lake or at least near it. There are some great beaches surrounding it as well as many places offering boat, jetski, kayak, and other water vehicle rentals! The area surrounding Lake Tahoe is a beautiful, natural landscape that is amazing no matter how many times you see it. They offer gondola rides through Heavenly Ski Resort so you can really take in the summer landscape in a gentle ride up to the resort. Tahoe has a huge amount of beautiful hiking trails ranging from all difficulty levels so you can definitely find something to suit your fitness level. There’s horseback riding, parasailing, and so much more available around Lake Tahoe during the summer.