San Francisco is an amazing travel destination for more reasons than I can say! It’s vibrant, it’s exciting, and it truly has it all! From sandy beaches, to lush forests, and stunning city architecture, this city will swoop you off your feet! But just outside the city borders, there are more epic adventures waiting for you! Whether you’re a visitor or a local, make sure to add these 6 epic day trips from San Francisco to your list!
6 Epic Day Trips From San Francisco
Travel time and distance: 20 minutes / 11 miles
Sausalito is only 15-20 minutes from San Francisco but it holds an entirely different ambiance. In this small picturesque town you can find neighborhoods that resemble those of hilly Mediterranean villages, charming houseboats, scenic walkways, tons of art galleries, some of the best views of the city, and slightly warmer weather.
It’s also quieter, so you can escape from the bustling streets of San Francisco by taking a day trip to Sausalito. Catch a ferry or bike through the Golden Gate Bridge to enjoy this gem of a town!
2. Mt. Tamalpais + Muir Woods
Travel time and distance: 45 minutes / 23 miles
Mount Tamalpais is a peak in Marin County, just fifty minutes from the city and one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever visited! You will find sweeping hillsides, open grassland, redwood forests, and oak woodlands. You also get 360 degree views, so you’ll be able to admire the Bay Area, Mount Diablo, Marin County hills, and sometimes, you can even spot the snow-covered Sierra Nevada.
If you visit during sunrise, you will experience some of the most dreamy and majestic views. Usually, the San Francisco fog rolls in every morning and you’ll find yourself amongst the hills and above the clouds, it is a piece of heaven on earth!
Want to discover more California destinations? Check out this blog post next!
3. Point Reyes + Cypress Tree Tunnel
Travel time and distance: 1.5 hours / 55 miles
Another epic day trip from San Francisco is Point Reyes and the Cypress Tree Tunnel. Point Reyes is a National seashore and park that is home to expansive beaches, panoramic water views, hiking trails, a lighthouse, a shipwreck, and a stunning cypress tree tunnel. It’s a popular Northern California tourist destination and only 1.5 hours north of San Francisco.
4. Half Moon Bay
Travel time and distance: 35 minutes / 29 miles
Half Moon Bay is as dreamy as it sounds. It’s a small, charming seaside town with quaint farming communities, and dramatic ocean bluffs that seem to belong somewhere in Scotland. This town is an under-the-radar gem and the perfect day trip from San Francisco.
Are you planning an epic road trip down the California coast? Read: Best Stops to Make Along the California Coast next!
5. Napa or Sonoma
Travel time and distance: 50 minutes / 49 miles
Two of the dreamiest towns for hillside vineyards and wine tasting! Both Napa and Sonoma are the epitome of beautiful wine country scenery and world-class wine, making it the perfect day trip from San Francisco!
Drive over and spend a day relaxing, wine tasting, exploring the towns, or maybe even hopping on a hot air balloon for an epic adventure!
6. Monterey + Carmel-by-the-Sea
Travel time and distance: 1 hr and 50 minutes / 118 miles
Monterey is famous for its historic Cannery Row, their highly visited Monterey Bay Aquarium, a Fisherman’s Wharf lined with seafood restaurants, and, of course, whale watching!
Carmel-by-the-Sea, on the other hand, is known for its village-like center, fairytale cottages, historic Carmel mission, and for its dreamy white-sand beach. Carmel is one of the most whimsical beach cities I’ve ever visited!
These two beautiful coastal towns are only ten minutes away from each other and only an hour and fifty minutes from the city, which makes for another epic day trip from San Francisco.