Things to do / Travel Guide
Central California Road Trip Planner
San Francisco is situated in one of the most beautiful natural settings of any U.S. city. Walking around the different neighborhoods is a great urban experience. To the north lie redwood groves, hiking and biking trails, trendy towns, and great views. The Sonoma and Napa Valley wine country are inland and the famous Pacific Coast Highway leads to historic Monterey and the cliffs of Big Sur. Your Central California road trip planner will help you connect all the dots and maybe beyond. Heading north along the coast on the PCH to Mendocino? Use the Northern California Coast road trip planner. Heading south to Santa Barbara and beyond, to LA – use the Southern California Coast road trip planner.
If you are arriving by plane note that the area is well served. The three closest airports to San Francisco Bay Area are SFO, OAK and SJC.
Central California Napa Valley Tourist Attractions
If you're heading to California's Napa Valley, then you'll probably be heading straight to the area's number one tourist attraction: the Napa Valley wineries and vineyards. Some of the best wineries in Napa Valley and Sonoma (and in the world!) include Buena Vista Winery, Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards, Artesa Vineyards and Winery, Baywood Cellars, Bella Vineyards, Benziger Family Winery, Chateau Montelena, Clos La Chance, Ferrari-Carano Winery, Gundlach-Bundschu Winery, Hop Kiln Winery, Quintessa, Ravenswood Winery, Rocca Family Vineyards, and the Hess Collection Winery, among many, many more.
The wonderful thing about Napa Valley is that everything you do will be infused with the influence of the grape. The local spas offer treatments utilizing local ingredients (like the lavender grape seed bath at Carmel Valley's Bernardus Lodge and Spa) and the exquisite restaurants in the area all use the finest of local ingredients, most important of them being the elusive Napa Valley grape. Other delectable grape-related spa treatments can be found at Napa's Silverado Resort and Spa, the Auberge du Soleil Resort and Spa, San Martin's CordeValle a Rosewood Resort and Spa, and Sonoma's MacArthur Place Inn and Garden Spa, among many others.
San Francisco Tourist Attractions
If “Virginia is for Lovers,” then San Francisco would definitely be for art lovers. From one end of the city to the other you'll encounter museum after gallery after museum of art from all over the world. Some tourists plan their entire trips around museum and gallery hopping around town. If you fall under that category, then your getaway planner will need to include the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Berkeley Art Museum, Museum of the African Diaspora, San Jose Museum of Art, the de Young Museum, and the Octagon House.
The area isn't only about wine art, but San Francisco has also become much of a playground for youngsters as well. Kids will love jumping the waves and biking down the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk just as much as any adult. They'll also have no trouble convincing you that the Oakland Zoo, Six Flags Marine World, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Raging Waters Water Park, and Paramount's Great America Theme Park are also worth your while. If you'd like to engage your kids in activities a little less…wild…you may want to consider picnicking in the Golden Gate Park, ride a cable car along Lombard Street, the Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf, the Mee Mee Bakery, or visiting the Basic Brown Bear Factory. Parents may want to try and get away for a bit to the Anheuser Busch Factory. And, of course enjoy some of the famous
Bay Area scenic drives including the 49-mile drive covering most of San Francisco's attractions and scenic views.
San Francisco, California was named after St. Francis of Assisi, not St. Fransis - so please don't spell it San Fransisco, CA. And no one really like to hear “Frisco”, either.
San Francisco to Napa Valley Road Trip Planner
Your Napa Valley getaway should certainly include some R&R at a local spa and winery, but you should also make sure to leave room for driving, walking, and hiking through this spectacular region. A drive up and down the Pacific Coast Highway will provide you with views of the coast and of the nearby vineyards and faraway mountains, and national and state parks will afford you with up close and personal encounters with nature. Some musts: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Speaking of Big Sur, make sure you don't miss this picturesque coastal town with its world-class hiking opportunities!
When using the San Francisco to Napa Valley road trip planner, try to avoid rush hour and the wineries should be no more than an hour and a half drive from San Francisco.
San Francisco Bay Area Road Trip Planner
San Francisco requires a week to 10 days to cover, when you factor in all the day trips that are worth taking. If headed south, allow for two days travel including stops, longer if you plan on taking in some of the scenic drives around Southern California. Avoid weekend travel, if possible, due to crowds. Make sure that you plan part of your road trip route along the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as California Highway 1 or PCH. If you feel the need for some heavy duty casino action, head east to Reno, or if you really must, take the 10 hour drive to the Las Vegas Vacation Spots.
Get started on your weekend Napa Valley road trip using TripCart's map of the San Francisco Bay Area – provided by Google, a local Bay Area company.
Tourist Attractions and Highlights in San Francisco Bay Area, Carmel, Napa Valley, Central CA