17 Day Trips from San Francisco You Must Take

San Francisco is filled with liveliness and fine restaurants, bars, beaches that will want you to stay within the city and enjoy. However, it is surrounded by more amazing treasures, which can be accessed by just hitting the road.  

A short day trip doesn’t mean that you can’t do much. Find below some of the day trips from San Francisco you can make without any regrets. 

Muir Woods National Monument 

Muir Woods National Monument is also a short drive away from the city, and here, nature is at its best. The monument was created to protect the old-growth coastal redwood trees, which are the tallest of all living things.  

You can go hiking on the numerous crisscrossing trails here. You can also trail down Muir Woods to reach Muir Beach, where you get a splendid view of the Pacific Ocean along with camping sites.  

There is also a shuttle service provided in the Muir Woods National Monument, where you can soak in the serenity. Located just 19 minutes away from Sausalito, this is ideal for a day trip. 

Welcome to Muir Woods National Monument

Address: Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA| Timing: Monday to Sunday: 08:00 am – 06:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MEAGrXzyNpKuVAVk7 | Phone Number: +1 415-561-2850 

Yosemite National Park 

The majestic Yosemite National Park is found on every travel lover’s bucket list. It is one of the most amazing day trips from San Francisco which you can make.  

Yosemite National Park is a part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is famous for its dense forest of giant sequoia trees, huge waterfalls, and granite cliffs like Half Dome and El Capitan. 

Yosemite National Park has abundant wildlife, and the area also has crystalline lakes and flower-covered meadows. You can simply immerse yourself in the silence of nature or go trekking, camping, hiking, fishing, or skiing in what is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  

Rock Climbing is also a very popular activity at Yosemite National Park. Though it is a popular San Francisco day trip, you can also spend a night here at the campgrounds or the lodges.  

Day Trips From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park 

Address: California, USA | Timing: Open 24 hours | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/1oKJi1gQ1KFCNZHf7 | Phone Number: +1 209-372-0200 

Napa Valley

If you love to taste wines, there is no place better than the world-famous Napa Valley. Its proximity to San Francisco adds more to the excitement. This one-day trip is a must-do when you are in California. 

The Valley has over 400 wineries, and a visit to any one of these will take you through the entire process of winemaking. A day trip through the picturesque vineyards will steal your heart, as will the taste of wines.  

The Napa Valley Train will take you through the entire area. Throughout the year, numerous cultural events are held here, such as Napa Valley Marathon, Napa Valley Wine Auction, Napa County Fair, and Napa Valley Film Festival. The best time to visit the site is from August to October or March to May. 

California - Napa Valley

Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/zXmPbBcZn6Zt7Ker7 

Alcatraz Island

lcatraz Island is among the most infamous prisons in the world. The island is spread over 22 acres. It is nicknamed “The Rock” due to its remote location and the way it protrudes from the waters of San Francisco Bay.  

Ferry services are available, along with guided tours that take you to the museum to enlighten you about the lives of the prisoners and prison staff. This is a day trip you must take. 

Touring the island compound, prison complex, and prison grounds take you back in time when the island was home to notorious criminals. The Island is a nationally recognized historic landmark and provides stunning views of the cityscape. 

Alcatraz 2021.jpg
By Chris6d, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: San Francisco, CA 94133, USA | Timing: https://www.nps.gov/alca/planyourvisit/hours.htm for more information | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/jppaqRkk4eofft728 | Phone Number: +1 415-561-4900 


Talking about day trips from San Francisco, do not miss Carmel-by-the-sea. This sleepy, romantic beach town is just over two hours’ drive south of the city. Carmel-by-the-sea is famous for its old-town ambiance, fairytale-like cottages, and art galleries.  

The town gives a pristine view of Carmel Bay. At Point Lobos in Carmel-by-the-sea, you can find a variety of sea animals and wildlife and enjoy diving, too. If you are lucky, you may even spot some whales.  

The drive along the oceanfront of Highway One between Carmel and Monterey is considered one of the most beautiful drives on the West Coast. Carmel-by-the-sea also has some fine dining restaurants to satisfy your appetite. This is a San Francisco day trip you should not miss.  

By Fred Hsu, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: California 93923, USA| Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/hjoTMQcbbfXU7HAs5  


A laid-back town in Sonoma County, Sebastopol is worth visiting for its charm and surprises. Once a predominantly apple-growing area, it now has many vineyards and wineries as well.  

You can have delicious food, shop for rare antiques, visit local farms, and go golfing, hiking, or biking here. Florence Avenue displays imaginative and colorful pieces of art made using recycled trash.  

The Barlow features a cluster of old warehouses used by apple canneries, which have been converted into a trendy marketplace. You can also explore the Laguna de Santa Rosa, which is the country’s largest freshwater wetlands complex and houses perennial marshes, oak woodlands, and grasslands.  

Sebastopol is also famous for Gravenstein apples and annually hosts an Apple Blossom Festival. Instead of planning a day trip here, spend a couple of days. 

Main Street - Sebastopol

Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/4PdauqAKnyvxn3qFA  

Silicon Valley 

A must-visit place during a day trip, Silicon Valley in California will leave you in complete awe. Home to many tech giants, you will come out of this place more intrigued and impressed.  

The day trip will be informative and interesting. The drive from San Francisco to Silicon Valley is just under an hour, and the Google Campus and Apple Park Visitor Centre must be a part of your tour.  

The valley consists of many cities, San Jose being the largest of them. These contain a number of attractions.  

Aerial view of Silicon Valley.jpg
By Patrick Nouhailler, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Ecn1wJQ6niXBmiEL9  

Big Sur

The drive to Big Sur, through Highway 1, along the Pacific Coast is breathtaking. Big Sur also offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking.  

You can visit the McWay Falls, which is one of the two waterfalls in California that directly plunge into the ocean. Or, you can lose yourself in the wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest.  

Camping grounds are also available along Big Sur for those who want to rest and explore the area a bit more. You can even plan a getaway and relax at the spas here. This is not a day trip, so make sure you have ample time.  

Big Sur Coast California.JPG
By Joseph Plotz, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/oFhZC2SCEsmoahPp8

Little Italy 

When in San Francisco, make a tour to the North Beach neighborhood, also known as “Little Italy”. The place is lively and filled with travel enthusiasts and food lovers alike.  

Ideal for a day trip, the roads are lined with fine-dining restaurants, eateries, and family-run bakeries and food joints. Little Italy showcases the amalgamation of cultures and lends a charming feel. Here, you will get to satisfy your tastebuds and also have lots to explore and shop. 

Little Italy - San Francisco.jpg
By Alfonso Jimenez, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/smXQsLvyYCm9mWem9  

Point Reyes 

You can reach Point Reyes by driving for just over an hour from the city. So, this is ideal for a day trip. This beautiful national preserve is a popular tourist attraction, and it is home to over 1,500 species of plants and animals.  

You can hike your way up to the edge to witness the ocean crashing against the rocks, and you can also watch the majestic elks at the Tule Elk Preserve. While Point Reyes Station is a small cozy town nearby, Point Reyes National Seashore has many beaches to explore.  

From January to April, you may be able to catch glimpses of the migrating whales from the Point Reyes Lighthouse. 

Point Reyes National Seashore

Address: 1 Bear Valley Road, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, USA | Timing: Visit https://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/hours.htm for more information | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/T1RcWgZzuGj93uED9 | Phone Number: 415-464-5100

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk 

This two-hour ride can be considered one of the best weekend trips from San Francisco. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk welcomes you with California’s oldest amusement park.  

The park has a number of options for those who love thrill rides. The Boardwalk extends to the picturesque Monterey Bay and also leads to the Main Beach, where you can swim or paddleboard.  

It also offers access to other beaches where you can sunbathe or just chill on the warm sand. It also has Coconut Grove, which is a venue for weddings, banquets, and corporate events. 

Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, CA. 2004 (10322338466).jpg
By Robert Ashworth, CC BY 2.0, Link

Address: 400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA | Timing: Saturday and Sunday: 12:00 pm – 05:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/scboardwalk?share | Phone Number: +1 831-423-5590 

Marin Headlands 

The Marin Headlands is a very short drive away and one of the best day trips from San Francisco. It is a hilly peninsula located just north of the city, at the southernmost end of Marin County in California.  

The area is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It gives a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge and The Bay Area.  

At the center point of the Marin Headlands, the Hawk Hill, you can witness thousands of hawks, kites, eagles, vultures, and falcons. Abundant wildlife can also be spotted here.  

It offers a number of beaches to visitors and also has many trails for hiking and biking. So, enjoy this fabulous day trip the next time you are in the city. 

Marin Headlands overlooking Golden Gate Bridge.jpg
By Faisalmujib, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: Sausalito, CA 94965, USA| Timing: Open 24 hours | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/KRQavvfoXRGrgaws6 | Phone Number: +1 415-331-1540 

University Town (Berkeley) 

The city of Berkeley is home to the University of California. It is the first campus of the University of California and is ranked among the top universities in the world.  

Just half an hours’ drive from Sausalito, the university has classical-style buildings. Sather Tower, one of the tallest bell towers in the world, is situated at the center of Berkeley. The ring of its bell can be heard from across the campus.  

It also provides amazing views of San Francisco Bay and Mount Tamalpais. Take a stroll on Telegraph Avenue; it is filled with bookshops, casual eateries, and other quirky shops. Berkeley also has Tilden Park for kids to have fun.  

San Francisco Bay Bridge from Berkeley Hills

Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/HpYHUfX2yJVjz4io7

Skyline Boulevard 

If you are planning a day trip from San Francisco and want to soak up the panoramic view of the ocean, hit the road towards highway 35, commonly known as the Skyline Boulevard.  

On this boulevard, you get a view of San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean at the same time. You will also get views of Silicon Valley from here.  

Alice’s restaurant is a very popular eatery on the way where you can have a bite before resuming the day trip. Many trails originate from the various parking spots available on Skyline Boulevard.  

You can plan your day trip through the entire route or be adventurous and take a detour on one of the many spider web roads leading to beaches and parks. You will surely end up having one of the most pleasant experiences. 

San Francisco Skyline from the Presidio

Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/NomTr1hT1u2xcUCF7  

Half Moon Bay 

Half Moon Bay is a charming, quaint coastal town on the California Coast just 30 miles south of San Francisco. It gets its name because of the beautiful crescent-shaped harbor to the north of the town.  

The coastline has some gorgeous beaches, while the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary lets you enjoy an area full of marine biodiversity.  

You can enjoy local craft beer at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. The world-famous surfing spot, Mavericks Beach, draws many surfers. Do spend some time here, so don’t plan a day trip. 

Half Moon Bay is also famous for its Pumpkin Festival held annually in October. The California Coastal Trail is one that you can enjoy with the entire family, indulging in bird watching and wildlife watching. 

Half Moon Bay (6255447905).jpg
By Christopher Michel, CC BY 2.0, Link

Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/HnfsUUUqW4TAAdjq8  


Bolinas is a place that you will have to reach by navigating through narrow roads. This gem of a city has been kept a secret by its reclusive residents.  

But once you reach here, you will appreciate the peace and tranquility it provides from the busy city life. Bolinas offers you a rugged coastline and many water-based activities.  

The small town also offers you accessibility to nearby towns and places worth visiting. Bolinas Museum, Coast Café, and Smileys Saloon and Hotel are popular places to visit in Bolinas. It is a perfect place to plan a weekend getaway.  

Bolinas Beach (2006).jpg
By philosophygeek, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/BxRmecC4mbatN32R9 

Filoli Estate 

Filoli Estate is about 30 miles away from San Francisco and is a treat for the eyes. It’s a great option for a day trip. The manor house is a fine example of the Georgian Revival Tradition. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has grand architecture, lavish gardens, and splendid landscape to showcase. 

The Formal Garden is a highlight of the estate, with perfectly manicured hedges, terraces, and fountains. It also has a one-acre Walled Garden where Crabapple and Cherry Trees bloom during spring.  

The Filoli Nature Preserve comprises redwood groves, oak-madrone forests, creeks, natural springs, and numerous hiking trails. You can also venture on the one-mile self-guided Estate Trail. 

Terrace Bench, Filoli #historic #estate #california #flower

Address: 86 Cañada Rd, Woodside, CA 94062, USA | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am – 08:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/db5GXQPtDuXypvYD8 | Phone Number: +1 650-364-8300 

The city is filled with fabulous places. You can choose from a thirty-minute drive to two-three hours’ drive, can plan a day trip or a weekend getaway. Here’s hoping you make the most of the trips with the help of our list.