There’s a whole world to explore just across the bridges. Leave the city for a breath of fresh air! Day trips from San Francisco get you to some of the most unspoiled natural beauty in California — Yosemite National Park, the oldest grove of redwood trees in Muir Woods, and the charming seaside town of Sausalito.
On the way to Yosemite, you drive along the Merced River to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and see where glaciers cut through the mountains forming granite monuments. See the highest waterfall in North America at Yosemite. In Muir Woods, wander among the tallest and oldest trees in the world. All these stunning natural wonders lay just beyond San Francisco, making for a memorable day exploring the California countryside.
Yosemite National Park
SF Travelers Guide Favorite
While you’re in San Francisco set aside a day to discover the natural beauty of Yosemite National Park. If you know us, you know we always recommended guided tours. We prefer to let someone else do all the planning work, so we can just relax and enjoy the experience.
So, we’ve picked out our three favorite ways to visit Yosemite. They all take you through the Sierra Nevadas — and you might get a picnic lunch among the giant sequoia groves along the way. And then there are the panoramic views of the valley.
You can hike to the falls, cycle, swim in the river pools, or visit the Ansel Adams Gallery. These delightful day trip to Yosemite National Park includes pick-up and delivery at your hotel and all entrance fees. It’s the easiest way to see this natural wonder of a park. Learn more in our guide.
Muir Woods and Wine Country
It’s the best of two worlds — giant redwood trees and the California Wine Country. Start the day with a stroll through Muir Woods giant redwood sequoia trees. Then visit the Wine Country at three Napa and Sonoma wineries. There’s time to sample wines and hear about the art and science of making wine.
All tastings are included and you’re free to sample as many as you would like. This makes our list of the Top San Francisco Day Trips.
Wine Country Day Trips
Without a doubt, our favorite place to visit near San Francisco is the Wine Country of Napa and Sonoma. Whether you’re interested in wine or in stunning landscapes (or both!), arranging for a day trip to one of these regions will create a lasting memory. And isn’t that what the best vacations are all about?
And, being only an hour or so away from the city, it makes for an easy and relaxing day as well.
Monterey, Carmel & The 17-Mile Drive
See the stunning coastline on California’s famous Highway 1 along the 17-Mile Drive to the Monterey Peninsula. Once in Monterey, you have time to shop, have lunch, and explore. There’s enough time to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium or opt for more sightseeing along Cannery Row.
You also see a lot of California beauty including Pebble Beach, Carmel, Monterey Bay, Seal Rock, and Pacific Grove.You are picked up and delivered back to your hotel on this day tour.
Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium teems with sea life, with over 35,000 creatures in its massive tanks. It’s one of the largest, and best, aquariums in the country. We really like the feeding times in the giant Open Sea exhibit, when sea otters, penguins, turtles, sharks, sardines chow down.
You’re going to love this place, and there are enough amazing attractions to satisfy every visitor. Find out more in our guide.
Alcatraz, Giant Redwoods & Sausalito
Contrast the austerity of Alcatraz to the beauty of Muir Woods and Sausalito. The day begins with a ferry ride to Alcatraz to learn about the famous prison escape attempts, the 1946 prison riot, and life on the rock.
Then cross the Golden Gate Bridge for spectacular city views from Vista Point. Drive along the coastal mountains to Muir Woods for a refreshing walk through a forest of California giant redwoods. The last stop is a visit to Sausalito, a quaint small town and artist colony nestled along the waterfront of Marin County.