San Francisco has it all – history, culture and expansive natural landscapes. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in California and home to some of the best hotels in California. That being said, residents and regulars to the city might have grown a little wary of it over the last year of lockdowns and restrictions. Now that COVID restrictions have started to be lifted, it’d be no surprise if San Franciscans were yearning to explore a little further afield for a weekend or two.
Perched in the San Francisco Bay, the city is a prime starting point for any weekend vacation idea during COVID. This blog is designed to explore those vacation destinations that are both manageable and reachable for a weekend away from San Francisco. Whether you’re a local to the city or you’re staying for a few weeks, these extra escapes will have you discovering new sides to the Bay area and the true character of California.
Fremont is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Alameda County in the East Bay area and is one of the most populous cities here. This is unsurprising, with plenty of great value accommodation including the Good Nite Inn Fremontand a rich history dating back to the 18th century, Fremont is a must-visit. This is especially true when you factor in the nearby Don Edwards National Wildlife Reserve on its shoreline, an area where you can see migrating and nesting birds such as osprey, eagles, hawks and pelicans.
Morro Bay is a 3 and a half hour drive from San Francisco along the Pacific coastline, which is well worth it in and of itself for the views along the way. Morro Bay has a coastline famed for its rather friendly sea lions, as well as its historic mansion house styled as Hearst Castle, and for its great waves for surfing – plenty to keep you active during a stay at nearby hotels open in California.
Monterey is just under a 2-hour drive from San Francisco and is famed for its aquarium and research lab stationed on the coastline. Once you’ve spent a day learning about the vast universe of sea life in the area, it’s time to get exploring the tide pools at the nearby Point Lobos National State Reserve, perfect for sea and nature lovers.
Santa Cruz is an hour and 15 minutes out of San Francisco and is well worth a weekend escape, if for nothing else than its vibrant boardwalk. Historically famed for drawing hippies and free spirits, Santa Cruz is a beautiful coastal town and a whole lot of fun on a weekend.
Sonoma Wine Country
For a more laidback experience, a tour of Sonoma’s Wine Country is a perfect romantic getaway for wine connoisseurs and high-class luxury. Tour the vineyards dotted across the fertile land in Northern California and dine on world-class cuisine, all whilst exploring the birthplace of American winemaking.
The capital of California, Sacramento is located 80 miles northeast of San Francisco, and will most likely need a bit more than a weekend to fully drink in. Nevertheless, a weekend is more than enough time to develop a taste for this often-overlooked city. Make sure not to miss the State Railroad Museum, State Capitol and the Crocker Museum of Art whilst visiting, which should be a fitting introduction to this historic city.