Best Day Trips from Sacramento

Sacramento Day Trips Things To Do

This section of our Sacramento Guide will introduce you to some fun-filled day trip excursions to attractions and places to see near the Sacramento area. Sacramento is only about 100 miles from Lake Tahoe, less than 80 miles from San Francisco and the Bay area. There is an endless number of sights and adventure for vacationers of all ages in all directions.

Napa Valley – A Great Day Trip

One of the great things about spending time in Sacramento is that it is close to several prime destinations such as Napa Valley. In fact, Napa is only an hour’s drive away. So stock up your picnic basket and head to one of the world’s premier wine regions, the stunning Napa Valley, California.

Napa Valley winery
Winery, Napa Valley, CA

Napa Valley is well known for its wine country and is composed of several charming towns, Calistoga, St. Helena, Oakville, Rutherford, Yountville and Napa all nestled together in this beautiful valley. The valley stretches for about thirty miles and has over 45,000 acres of vineyards and hundreds of wineries. The valley is only five miles wide near Napa and shrinks down to just one mile wide up in Calistoga, making this region about one eighth of the size of France’s Bordeaux region.

Napa Valley has gained international recognition as one of the world’s greatest wine regions. You’ll find wineries ranging from small family owned, hands-on wineries that produce just a handful of cases to larger commercial operations here churning out wine round the clock. No matter what size winery you find, they all are busy producing wines loved around the globe. Despite its big name, Napa produces just four percent of the total wine in California.

Visiting Napa Valley on a Budget

Napa is the largest of the cities in the valley with 85,000 people living within its nineteen square miles. You’ll find several hundred wineries calling Napa home. With so many wineries, it’s impossible to explore them all but it sure is fun trying.

Since this is a day trip, you’ll want to designate a driver if you plan on doing a lot of tasting or sign up for a tour. You might even consider booking a night in a charming inn for a longer getaway. You can choose to focus on any of the lovely hamlets that make up the Napa Valley or you can tour the entire region. Each little town has its own personality. You’ll enjoy walking the streets of Calistoga or driving the narrow, winding roads up to Pritchard Hill in St. Helena.

A fantastic way to tour Napa Valley is on two wheels. Bike tours are available that lead you down quiet country lanes to lovely, family owned wineries that are off the beaten track. These tours usually provide you with a gourmet picnic lunch and are appropriate for all abilities.

One of the more unusual ways to experience Napa is to take to the rails. The Napa Valley Wine Train offers daily gourmet train excursions on historic, restored railcars. You can choose from three different dining experiences and enjoy stunning views, sipping fine wines as you go.

Wine isn’t Napa’s only attraction. You’ll also enjoy fine dining, spas, museums, galleries and shopping too. You’ll find golf, antiques, nightlife, kayaking, bird watching, ballooning, skydiving, performing arts and even a 400 hundred acre wildlife sanctuary.

Napa Valley Hidden Gems

No matter how you choose to spend your time here, Napa Valley is a romantic getaway any time of the year. Whether you stop by for a day or spend the weekend, you’ll fall in love with this scenic area and yearn to come back again and again.

Day Trip – San Francisco

The Golden Gate is just a day trip away when you’re visiting Sacramento. If you have the time, a quick visit to the City by the Bay is a must. There’s so much to see and do in San Francisco that it’s impossible to do them all in just one day. Plan ahead and pick the attractions you most want to experience. Whether it’s a cable car ride, Chinatown or Alcatraz, you’ll enjoy your day and maybe even leave a tiny piece of your heart here.

Marina san francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf is San Francisco at its best. You’ll enjoy world-class dining, the National Maritime Museum, WWII Submarine U.S.S. Pampanito, and incredible views. A self guided walking tour along the wharf follows 30 interpretive signs.

The National Maritime Museum is part of America’s only floating National Historic Park. The museum is located at the foot of Polk Street and is in a structure that looks like a cruise ship. Admission to this fantastic museum is free. After viewing the seafaring exhibits, head over to the Hyde Street Pier where you’ll find a huge collection of historic ships.

San Francisco Mission District Hotels

Once you’ve had your fill of ships, go below the water line and tour a WWII era submarine. Pier 45 leads you to the U.S.S. Pampanito, a fully restored WWII submarine. A self-guided audio tour takes you through the control room, crew quarters and the torpedoes.

Enjoy a true San Francisco treat and order Dungeness crab from one of the vendors along Taylor or Jefferson Street. They’ll pull a crab out of a steaming cauldron and whack it with a mallet right on the counter in front of you. Next find a Boudin Bakery and get a loaf of authentic Boudin Sourdough Bread.

North Beach Neighborhood San Francisco

Visit the Presidio of San Francisco and marvel at the history that surrounds you on nearly 1500 acres. Eleven miles of trails lead hikers along scenic routes including the Golden Gate Promenade, the Bay Area Ridge Trail and the Anza National Historic Trail. Fourteen miles of paved roads let bicyclists explore the area. Recreation opportunities in the Presidio range from golf, fishing, and tennis to world-class windsurfing.

hotels Nob Hill san francisco

San Francisco’s palaces will thrill the art lover in you. The California Palace of the Legion of Honor features over 4,000 years of art with works in its collection from Picasso, Monet and Rembrandt. This lovely museum overlooks the Pacific Ocean with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. Arrive on a Tuesday and enjoy free admission thanks to a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund.

The Palace of Fine Arts also boasts over 650 interactive science, art and human perception exhibits in their Exploratorium. You’ll feel like you’re in ancient Rome when you walk among the pillars and tour this beautiful palace.

Levi's Plaza San Francisco
Levi’s Plaza San Francisco

If you’re in the city on the first Tuesday of the month, you’ll get free admission to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Here you’ll find pop art, modern sculpture, expressionism and post-impressionism.

Take the Powell-Hyde line of cable cars for a scenic and classic San Francisco experience. You’ll enjoy a 9.5 mile per hour ride along some of the most panoramic and majestic views of the city and the bay as the bell clangs overhead.

Cross the shark-infested waters of San Francisco Bay and tour the ruins of Alcatraz. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in San Francisco. This infamous island is tough and surrounded by legends and lore. You’ll imagine the gritty days of Al Capone and see just how impossible it is to escape from Alcatraz.

See the world’s largest Chinatown outside of Asia in the streets of San Francisco. Explore the alleys and take in the sights, sounds and smells of this enchanting town. You’ll see dragons and temples and you’ll find a huge variety of shops and restaurants.

Your day trip to San Francisco will be a whirlwind day but well worth every minute.

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