Escape the Bustle in 3 Hours or Less at Any of These
There might be plenty to keep you happy in San Francisco, but those who dare venture across the Golden Gate Bridge will be rewarded with epic landscapes, quaint seaside towns, and towering redwood trees. Between the organic farm scene in Mendocino, the thriving wine culture in Napa Valley, and the booming tech community down in Palo Alto, the Bay Area is a playground for the woman entrepreneur who seeks fine dining, gorgeous scenery, and big business inspiration. So that you might spend a day exploring what else the bay has to offer, we’ve rounded up eight fabulous destinations for a quick road trip.
DRIVE TIME: 45 Minutes
This beautiful seaside town south of San Francisco is an idyllic place to escape to year-round. The weather is always mild enough for a stroll (or a horseback ride) on the beach below the rocky cliffs, while a thriving local farm scene makes it a foodie haven. For an overnight stay you’ll find plenty of cute, romantic bed and breakfasts, however the clifftop Ritz Carlton is undoubtedly the Divine Living choice suite.
DRIVE TIME: 30 Minutes
This quaint town in Marin County has a special European flair to it. Adorable houses pile up on water-front hills as sailboats and houseboats float on the serene bay waters—the same that inspired Otis Redding to write his mega hit “Dock of the Bay.” The town is surrounded by national parks, creating a peaceful enclave for artists and entrepreneurs just thirty minutes north of the city.
DRIVE TIME: 3 hours & 20 MINUTES
Affectionately known as Mendo, this scenic community surrounded by the Pacific is the perfect foodie’s foray into nature. The gorgeous landscape has long been home to organic and sustainable farming practices, and draws a culinary crowd to its world class wineries and delicious farm-to-table restaurants. You can explore the wild seaside bluffs at Headlands State Park, stroll through downtown checking out boutiques and galleries, or perhaps even visit for one of the region’s award-winning food festivals.
Next Point Reyes
DRIVE TIME: 2 hours
Feeling active? Why not spend the day exploring more than 30,000 acres of pristine oceanfront landscapes at beautiful Point Reyes? This gorgeous nature preserve includes rolling hills where wild elk roam, beautiful hiking trails through the forrest, and the cleanest beaches in California. Go whale watching from the old lighthouse, and end the day with fresh seafood and a view in the quaint town of Point Reyes Station.
Next Mill Valley
DRIVE TIME: 35 Minutes
Known for its dreamy redwood canyons and mild Mediterranean weather, beautiful Mill Valley is one of the most desirable places to live in the elite Bay Area suburbs of Marin County. Surrounded by national parks, the area has been a longtime favorite among famous artists and entertainment moguls, and is a fabulous destination for a day of hiking followed by a casual late lunch in the adorable downtown.
Next Palo Alto
DRIVE TIME: 45 Minutes
Palo Alto is famous for being the center of Silicon Valley and has at one point or another been home to the most important technology companies in the world: Hewlett-Packard, Tesla, Facebook, and Google—just to name a few. It’s also where you’ll find Stanford’s glorious campus, which hosts free public events you might want to check in on. Enjoy a casual lunch at Bel Campo Meat Co., or maybe a chic locally-sourced dinner at Lure + Till.
Next Big Sur
DRIVE TIME: 3 hours
Drive up along a rugged stretch of California coastline to discover the natural wonder of Big Sur. This sparsely populated area is all towering bluffs, gigantic redwoods, and sweeping ocean views. The coast’s fabulous spa hotels might tempt you to spend the night, enjoying a massage after a day of hiking, indulging in a little fine dining, and falling asleep to the sounds of the pacific.
Next Napa Valley
DRIVE TIME: 1 hour & 30 MINUTES
When you’re less than two hours from one of the world’s premier wine regions, why not throw in a day at the vineyards? The easiest, best way to do so is to book a private limo tour out of San Francisco—perhaps something with a gourmet lunch and dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Then all you have to do is kick back, enjoy the scenery, sip a little cabernet sauvignon, and arrive back in the city ready to curl up with a good book.
Next Half-Moon Bay