15 Best Day Trips From San Francisco

Tiburon and Angel Island (20 mins by ferry, 40 mins by car)

Tiburon and Angel Island are just across the peninsula from the Bay of San Francisco, just 10 miles north of Sausalito. You can take the daily ferry from Pier 31 at Fishermans Wharf, from the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero or from Sausalito to Tiburon. Once on the Island, you are free to wander around, explore, eat, shop, hike, cycle or laze around. Tiburon is a pretty village where the ocean is dotted with sail boats and the mainland is dotted with shops and cafes. There are charming boutiques, a wide choice of restaurants and a lovely grassy space at Shoreline Park where you can laze in the sun or under the shade of an ancient tree. Once on the island, you don’t need transport and can easily walk to the shopping quarter just beyond the wharf. The views of Golden Gate Bridge are wonderful so make sure you leave enough battery in your smartphone for a few pics. Spend a bit of time atThe Tiburon Railroad-Ferry Museum where you can get a sense of life in Tiburon over a century ago. You can hire bikes on the island and if you want to hike, the trails are well marked and the views are superb. Perfect for the family. Buy a few souvenirs on the way home.

Santa Cruz (one hour and 30 minutes)

Santa Cruz is famous for its hippies, beautiful beachfront boardwalk, amazing surf, the seaside amusement park, best chocolate cake in the area and mostly, for having a year round holiday vibe. It is the original surf city and some of the USA’s to surfers have come out of Santa Cruise. Pack your swimming costumes and towels, hang out on the beach, hire a boogie board or even sigh up for a surf lesson or rent a paddle boat. When you’re done swimming, walk the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and watch or enjoy a few rides at the amusement park. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from for lunch so maybe do a bit of research in advance. We quite like Cremer House in the old Grand Central Hotel. Spend the afternoon exploring the town and window shopping at the beautiful boutiques, galleries, craft shops and markets in town. You can rent bikes in town or even sign up for a guided tour. If music is your thing, there are lots of lovely clubs and music venues so prepare yourselves for a late evening. You may even want to spend the night. Or two!

Los Gatos (one hour and ten minutes)

This is the perfect place for a day trip and the most divine place for brunch or lunch. We would recommend you do both actually! Head out in the morning and after a walk around the Old Town, get to Los Gatos Cafe Uptown for brunch. Sit back, watch the beautiful people or hang out with the beautiful people – they all seem to flock to Los Gatos! The Santa Cruz Mountains make the perfect backdrop and the views are gorgeous. After brunch, head to the start of the Los Gatos Creek Trail and enjoy a slow hike from Lexington Reservoir and on to Vasona Lake. Don’t forget to take water and your cameras. And then, the afternoon is yours to enjoy wine tasting, beautiful shopping in the boutiques and vintage stores, a stop at the historic Powell Sweet Shoppe, maybe another wine tasting, a snooze on a blanket in the Oak Meadow Park, perhaps a boat trip on Lake Vasona, an early dinner at one of the many upmarket bistros, and then the drive home!

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