San Francisco is full of specialty attractions including the Golden Gate Bridge, views of Alcatraz, streetcars, cable cars, and the Full House/Fuller House home. However, its close proximity to other destinations, makes it the perfect place to stay while exploring other areas of the state.
Here are the 8 best day trips from San Francisco:
1 Muir Woods National Monument
The redwood forests within the Muir Woods National Monument have been protected since 1908, and visitors are encouraged to walk along the six miles of amazing hiking trails. Most of the trails are made of asphalt or they are board walked, but the steep and narrow ones by the walls of the canyon are still comprised of dirt and multiple large tree roots. This attraction is only twelve miles north of San Francisco, and it takes approximately forty-five minutes to get there.
2 Point Reyes National Seashore
It will take a person about an hour and a half to reach the Point Reyes National Seashore, but once they are there, they will fall in love with the 71,028-acre park. The park includes rocky stretches, low hills, open spaces, and quite a few sandy beaches. Therefore, the versatility makes it a fabulous destination for anyone. While at this park, everyone will want to see the San Andreas Fault Zone, which separates the Pacific plate from the North American plate. The best place to see this is the Earthquake Trail, which is near the Bear Valley Visitor Center.
This quirky beach city is approximately two hours away from the big city, but it offers a little bit of everything to all its visitors. Everyone will love wandering around the colorful streets as they go from fascinating museums to the library and finally the whaling museum at the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Those who walk along the Scenic Bluff Path, will find themselves strolling along the shores of Carmel Beach all the way to the Carmel River State Beach.
4 New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum
The New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum is only an hour and a half away from the city in San Jose. The museum displays the history of mercury mining as well as the culture of the communities that were involved in the process. Visitors can see exhibits that are filled with mining equipment, a replica of a mine manager’s office, items that belonged to mining families, and a diorama of a mine shaft.
5 Alcatraz Island
Views of the island are visible from the San Francisco mainland, but most people will want to take the twenty-minute boat ride out to see it up close. While on the island, people can see the first American lighthouse, plus see where people stayed when the first American fort on the West Coast was placed there. The most famous landmark on the island though, is the penitentiary. Visitors can now take a tour through the penitentiary, and see where the inmates were kept in their cells.
6 Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve
This is the only wetland on the San Francisco Peninsula, and it is part of the Pescadero State Beach, which is an hour from the city. Inside the preserve, people will see numerous habitats including a freshwater marsh, coastal scrub, riparian woods, and a brackish water marsh. This area is a birdwatcher’s dream destination as sixty different species nest inside the preserve, while up to two hundred different species spend at least part of the year there.
7 UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley
The UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley is less than an hour’s drive from San Francisco, and most people will love wandering around looking at as much of the thirty-four-acre garden as they can. The gardens were established in 1890, and it has quite the diverse collections of plants. There are approximately twelve thousand species and even subspecies of plants, of which some are rare and endangered. Each garden area contains plants and flowers from a specific geographic area.
8 Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay is only thirty miles from the city, and it is the perfect destination for those people who want some peace and quiet when they are on the beach. The bay and beach area are surrounded by a forest on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, so there is no extra noise from the busier areas nearby. The only time when this area is noisy is when the pumpkin festival is held during the month of October. It is at that time when hundreds of thousands of people descend on the area.
The day trips options from San Francisco are plentiful, which is why everyone will have difficulty choosing only one or two. While this list will get people started, they will want to do a little more research to see what other interesting attractions and destinations there are to explore.