Day Trips

The greater San Francisco region offers many diverse opportunities to see nearby "natural" atractions such as Yosemite National Park, Muir Woods, Sausalito, the California coast (Big Sur-Monterey-Carmel), the Redwoods National Park, etc. For information about the city, contact the San Francisco Visitor Information Center at www.sfvisitor.org and see another world beyond the San Francisco Bay Bridge at www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com/beyond_san_francisco.

trip1A short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County with its astonishingly varied land and seascapes is Muir Woods National Monument with its towering redwood forest. Stroll among the ancient giant sequoias whose biological ancestry dates back well over a million years. Visit Sausalito, a sparkling Riviera‑like bayside village with its winding, wooded streets, houseboat havens and unique boutiques and galleries. Or walk about the waterfront and view the San Francisco skyline and Bay.

trip2Explore the finest wine-producing region in the nation: California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys. The emergence of the California Wine Country as a premier wine-producing region is evident by the area’s domination in international wine competitions in recent decades. Visit a renowned winery such as S. Anderson, Merryvale or Domaine Chandon. Enjoy a tour of the wine-making facilities, followed by a sensory evaluation of the winery's premium varietals. Then visit a second winery, perhaps a small family-run boutique winery, to enjoy a comparative tour and tasting before returning to San Francisco.

trip3Enjoy the drive down the San Francisco Peninsula and cross the Santa Cruz Mountains to the historic seaport of Monterey, once the capital of California in Spanish Colonial days and center of one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines in the world. Drive through Old Monterey, seeing adobe houses that date back to the early days of California, and along Cannery Row, immortalized in the writings of John Steinbeck. Drive along the 17-Mile Drive viewing the rocky coves, windblown cypresses, and multi-million-dollar mansions along this rugged, romantic coastline. Also visit the village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, an enchanting artist’s colony with a dramatic white-sand beach, quiet streets, quaint cottages, and unique boutiques.

trip4Experience Yosemite National Park with its 'hanging' valleys, many waterfalls, cirque lakes, polished domes, moraines and U-shaped valleys, it provides an excellent overview of all kinds of granite relief fashioned by glaciation. Yosemite vividly illustrates the effects of glacial erosion of granitic bedrock, creating geologic features that are unique in the world. Repeated glaciations over millions of years have resulted in a concentration of distinctive landscape features, including soaring cliffs, domes, and free-falling waterfalls. There is exceptional glaciated topography, including the spectacular Yosemite Valley, a 914-meter (1/2 mile) deep, glacier-carved cleft with massive sheer granite walls. These geologic features provide a scenic backdrop for mountain meadows and giant sequoia groves, resulting in a diverse landscape of exceptional natural and scenic beauty. Yosemite’s exceptional natural beauty includes five of the world's highest waterfalls, a combination of granite domes and walls, deeply incised valleys, three groves of giant sequoia, numerous alpine meadows, lakes, diversity of life zones and variety of species. Glacial action combined with the granitic bedrock has produced unique and pronounced landform features including distinctive polished dome structures, as well as hanging valleys, tarns, moraines and U-shaped valleys. Granitic landforms such as Half Dome and the vertical walls of El Capitan are classic distinctive reflections of geologic history. No other area portrays the effects of glaciation on underlying granitic domes as well as Yosemite does.

trip5Among America’s greatest and most famous natural treasures are the tallest trees on earth, the coast redwoods. Redwood National Park is home to many of these trees, whose scientific name is Sequoia sempervirens, the tallest known plan species in the world. The park is mainly known for the stands of fantastic redwood trees it contains. However, it also contains miles of some of the most beautiful coastline in the national park system. There are rocky promontories, beaches, and sea stacks in the ocean along the coast, and whales and other sea life can be observed from the shore. A hike in a redwood grove is an experience never to be forgotten.