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Best 3-day weekend trip from San Francisco?

Looking for something outdoorsy (not Yosemite or LA), that would be a good use of weekend summer trip. Ideally somewhere warm enough for sun, swimming & shorts.

Probably for a small group (either 2 or 4 ppl).

8 Answers

top answer by
Debbie from San Francisco

Hey Bridge, I'm in SF and actually looking for the same!  Here are two that I've been looking into:

Heading south to Big Sur, which is just next-to-godliness beautiful.  Just the entire drive and all the random stops along the 1 are stunning.  I've done a day trip there before and never stayed over night, but want to!  Be sure to stop by the Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant there.  Their 9 grain pancake is pretty amazing.The other spot on my radar is up north in Mendocino.  Never been, but I hear that I need to go to The Glass Beach in Fort Bragg nearby.  It's apparently pretty much a beach with sea glass for sand.  Was told that I should look into staying Sea Rock Inn.

Both are just under a three hour drive from SF.  Let us know where you go and hope you have fun! :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Big Sur (city)
  2. Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant (restaurant)
  3. Mendocino (city)
  4. The Glass Beach (attraction)
  5. Fort Bragg (city)
  6. Sea Rock Inn (hotel)
6 thanks

answered by
Jesse from Oroville

You may consider the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park gorgeous forest of Redwoods. It is the location they used for Endor in Star Wars.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Valerie from Los Angeles

Check out San Luis Obispo! I think it is a perfect weekend getaway that isn't toofar from San Francisco (about a 3 hour drive). It has great weather this time of year, perfect for sun dresses and shorts! A favorite beach of mine is Avila Beach

and if you're looking for a beautiful hike with a great view at the end, check out Bishops Peak

I think San Luis Obispo would be a great alternative from Los Angeles and Yosemite!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Luis Obispo (city)
  2. Avila Beach (city)
  3. Bishops Peak (attraction)
5 thanks

answered first by
Dan from Manhattan Beach

Here are a couple of suggestions: 

Lake Tahoe - Stay on the north side of the lake and float down the Truckee River with Truckee River Raft Company.  There is also hiking, biking, etc.

2. Capitola - Cool little beachside community near Santa Cruz.  There is a beach and very close to hiking, fishing, biking, etc.

3. Deetjen's Big Sur Inn - This is located in Big Sur and a little more rustic.  Not sure you really want to swim in the ocean up there, but the scenery is killer and plenty of things to do outdoors.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Capitola (city)
  2. Santa Cruz (city)
  3. Truckee River Raft Company (attraction)
  4. Deetjen's Big Sur Inn (hotel)
  5. Lake Tahoe (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Darleen from Sacramento

How about the beach towns Monterey or Carmel By the Sea, or closer, Santa Cruz Beach.

Of course there is also Muir Woods nearby, or Napa Valley for hiking, biking or wine tasting.

For a real treat consider at trip to the mud baths in Calistoga after a long day of hiking and seeing the hot springs.

East from you would be Mount Diablo State Park with great views and lots of trails. You can't go wrong whichever direction you go!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Monterey (city)
  2. Carmel By the Sea (city)
  3. Santa Cruz Beach (attraction)
  4. Muir Woods (region)
  5. Napa Valley (metro area)
  6. Calistoga (city)
  7. Mount Diablo State Park (attraction)
4 thanks

answered by
Daniel from Chattanooga, Tennessee

Consider Muir Woods and a tour of Sonomaand Napa Valley. My wife and I did both and it was beautiful. Green Dream Tours have great tours of wine country.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Muir Woods (region)
  2. Sonoma (city)
  3. Napa Valley (attraction)
  4. Green Dream Tours (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Cara from San Francisco

I second San Luis Obispo! It's a great little funky college town with good restaurants and live music -- definitely look for Novo Restaurant & Lounge for dinner on the creek! Easy access to the ocean at Avila Beach, or wineries in Paso Robles (Terry Hoage Vineyards and L'Aventure Winery are faves). Lots of hiking & biking trails, too. And the weather is perfect -- sunny & warm during the day, little cooler at night. It's a little bit of a hike from SF (4-5 hrs depending on traffic) but so worth it to get somewhere interesting.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Luis Obispo (city)
  2. Avila Beach (city)
  3. Paso Robles (city)
  4. Terry Hoage Vineyards (attraction)
  5. L'Aventure Winery (attraction)
  6. Novo Restaurant & Lounge (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
Chris from San Francisco

There's two beaches south of SF that I like.  Garrapata State Beach south of Carmel is nice but you're still pretty far north so it's probably too cold to swim. Sand Dollar Beach just south of Big Sur is my favorite and quite a bit warmer than other Big Sur beaches.  

To get really warm, you need to get as far south as Santa Barbara (Refugio State Beach is the first, southern CA Beach according to me.)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Garrapata State Beach (attraction)
  2. Sand Dollar Beach (attraction)
  3. Refugio State Beach (attraction)
1 thanks

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