When you live in the Bay Area, the daily hustle and bustle of a routine can blast before your eyes. Before you know it, it is the end of the day and you are exhausted, all just to go to sleep and repeat the next day. Living this repeat of a routine can burn you out quickly. It is very beneficial for everyone to step away from the daily usual and take a vacation! But the big question is, where to take your vacation? It can be hard to decide where to go if you don’t know the area and what’s available to you. We have done the hard work for you and rounded up some great vacation spots that are close to the Bay Area. This way you don’t have to travel very far to reap the benefits of a vacation.
New Melones Lake Marina
If you are looking for the perfect spot to take a vacation near the Bay Area, look no further than New Melones Lake Marina. Whether you only have a few days or a whole week, there is plenty to keep you occupied here. The lake offers a full-service marina located on the fourth largest reservoir in California. Not to mention, New Melones Lake Marina is the only marina on the lake! Check out the many rentals available to make the most of your vacation such as :
- Boat Rentals – From a 14-foot fishing boat to a party cruiser, you can find the boat for you.
- Houseboat Rentals – Extend your stay and rent a houseboat. All come equipped with a bathroom, kitchen and plenty of sleeping space.
- Water Toy Rentals – Try your hand with a kneeboard, wakeboard, water skis, surfboard or even a jet ski!
- Slip Rentals – For those of you who own a boat, rent a slip at New Melones Lake Marina. The full-service slips are perfect for your boat and extended stay.
New Melones Lake Marina also carries everything you could possibly need at their two easy-access convenience stores including fishing gear and gas for all your toys. Come out and see for yourself and make those lifelong memories.
Yosemite National Park
Not many people are lucky enough to live close to a National Park. Many will actually travel hours away to be able to visit one. Bay Area residents have one practically in their back yard! Yosemite is home of the Sierra Nevada mountain, towering sequoia trees, and the beautiful Bridalveil Fall. There are many different types of scenery to explore while you are here you are sure to not have a down moment. Make sure to swing through Yosemite village and visit the local shops and restaurants, including the Ansel Adams Gallery. The gallery is home to the photographer’s black and white photos of the surrounding landscapes. You will also find lodging options here.
If you would like to visit this charming town, you can double it up with visiting the Yosemite National Park since it is on the way! Mariposa is a Gold Rush-era town filled with breweries, quaint shops, and antique stores. For an immersive experience check out either the 1850 or Miner’s Inn, both are Gold Rush-themed restaurants that don’t disappoint. For the adrenaline seekers, you need to try the Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch. This zipline course has six unique courses for you to soar through. For another adventure nearby, seek out the Yosemite Mountaineering School. Here you can learn the ropes and go for a climbing ascent with an experienced climbing guide.
Golden Gate Park
This diverse park has just about everything you could imagine and is a fantastic Bay Area vacation idea. Exploring the grounds fully could take you days and yet you still wouldn’t see it all. Attractions within the park include:
- de Young Museum – You can see a variety of shows at the museum such as Oceanic ceremonial masks, handmade fashions, and James Turrell’s Skyspace installation.
- California Academy of Sciences – This green building is home to over 40,000 animals! With a four-story rainforest and split-level aquarium and planetarium, be prepared to see some beautiful and unique sights.
- San Francisco Botanical Garden – This year-round, 55-acre garden always has something blooming to see. Plants from South Africa to New Zealand are cultivated here.
- Japanese Tea Garden – This 5-acre garden was first planted in 1894. Here you will find cherry blossoms and maple trees, a bonsai grove and Zen Garden. Be sure to visit the Tea House and have a cup of tea and fortune cookie.
- Conservatory of Flowers – This glorious restored 1878 Victorian greenhouse is home to some exotic plants and flowers. You can find orchids, lilies, and even carnivorous plants.
- Stow Lake – This 1946 boathouse has pedal boats and rowboats for you to rent. Have a picnic in a pagoda and visit the waterfalls. If you’re brave enough, try to catch sight of the White Lady. Legend says she has haunted Stow Lake for a century searching for her lost child.
- And More!
This vacation is perfect because it is close to home and has a myriad of options for you to explore.
Point Lobos State Reserve
For a bit more of a drive, the Bay Area residents can view the Point Lobos State Reserve. This place has been called the greatest meeting of land and sea. During your adventure here you will see plenty of wildlife including sea lions, elephant seals, sea otters, orcas, and whales. On the land, you’ll see plenty of wildlife including foxes, coyotes, mountain lions, deer, badgers and rabbits. Point Lobos is also a birders paradise. While hear you can also get out on foot and explore one of the many hiking trails. Or go for a dip and go diving to see the firsthand experience of underwater adventures. Make sure to call ahead and get a reservation for your diving adventure.
Bike Around the Bay
Riding a bike is a great way to get in touch with your surroundings. It’s a quick way to travel around and also to see all the sights. California Bay Area has some great biking options. If you are a go-getter cycler, the Alpine Dam Loop is a must-see. This 30-mile ride will take you around to some great spots with the perfect starting and ending spot downtown with plenty of spots to park and eat. The East Bay and Peninsula are also packed with many biking trails. Some are close to home while others will take you out in the countryside. Oakland, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz are great cities to start out in. No matter your experience you’ll be able to find a trail for you.
Wine Adventures in the Bay
California has no shortage of wineries. From small local family-owned places to state of the art facilities, the Bay Area has a few must-see wineries that are open to the public.
- Corison Winery (987 St. Helena Hwy., Saint Helena) – Cathy Corison is a wine legend. She keeps her secrets close to home and uses a 30-year-old vineyard in the Anderson Valley. Tastings are by appointment only.
- Chateau Montelena (1129 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga) – Thier 1973 Chardonnay won the Judgement of Paris competition in 1976. However, lately, their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon holds the attention.
- Grgich Hills Estate (1829 St. Helena Hwy., Rutherford) – Founded in 1977, you can find cooler microclimate wines that are drinkable young but also age well. Their Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon are some of the finest wines you’ll find on Highway 29.
- Spottswoode (1902 Madrona Ave., St. Helena) – They release their first Cabernet Sauvignon in 1982 and every vintage since has become a collector’s item. Today, four wines are made including their famous Sauvignon Blanc, the Lydenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon and the Field Brook Syrah from the Sonoma Coast. Tastings are by appointment only.
- Storybook Mountain Vineyards (3835 Hwy. 128, Calistoga) -Storybook Mountain makes terrific Zinfandel from the Mayacamas Mountain Range as well as small lots of Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon and a superb red blend, Antaeus. The Zin Gris and Cabernet Rosé are scrumptious summer wines. Tastings are by appointment only.
- Bergamot Alley (328 A Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg) – Bergamot Alley is one of the best wine bars you’ll find, well just about anywhere. It is not California focused but you’ll see European wines here that are hard to find elsewhere. Beers and snacks are also available and most of the wines are available retail.
California has a myriad of options for your Bay Area vacation ideas. All it takes is a few moments of planning and you’ll be on your way to making lifelong memories. Not to mention being able to reap the benefits of taking time away while on vacation. Come home feeling refreshed, relaxed and charged ready to go back to your normal routine.