San Francisco
Day Trips

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5 best day trips from San Francisco

Day trip to Napa Valley

1. Day trip to Napa Valley

Nestled just north of San Francisco lies the wine lover’s paradise of Napa Valley. Fans of all things gourmet will rejoice in the sheer number of world-class restaurants and award-winning wineries that can be found at every turn. Peruse the stalls at the Oxbow Public Market for locally-made products, stroll along the Napa River, and hop between places like the Coppola Winery, the Robert Mondavi Winery, and Mumm Napa.

How far is the Napa Valley from San Francisco?

At just about 96 kilometers (60 miles) away, a day trip from San Francisco to Napa Valley is quick and easy. The journey should take anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes by car, depending on the time of day you travel. If you’re making the journey by public transportation, plan for about two hours of travel time.

Day trip to Monterey

2. Day trip to Monterey

A day trip from San Francisco to Monterey is an excellent escape from the hustle and bustle of the city to the relaxed pace of life by the sea. Visit the internationally-celebrated Monterey Bay Aquarium to catch a glimpse of playful sea otters and ethereal jellyfish or stroll along lively Cannery Row for some souvenir shopping. Easily combine your Monterey trip with a jaunt down the coast to visit the charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, with its adorable boutiques and striking vistas.

How far is Monterey from San Francisco?

At just over 160 kilometers (100 miles) from San Francisco, traveling to Monterey by car should take anywhere from two to three hours, depending on traffic. Make sure to allow for plenty of time if you don’t have a vehicle of your own, as making the trip by public transportation will increase your travel time to almost four hours.

Day trip to Santa Cruz

3. Day trip to Santa Cruz

For those looking to have a fun day out by the beach, a day trip from San Francisco to Santa Cruz is an ideal getaway. Experience some thrills riding the coasters at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, take a steam-train ride through giant redwood trees, or visit the beautiful campus of the University of California at Santa Cruz, the home of the Banana Slugs. Don’t forget to check out the big surf at some of California’s most postcard-worthy beaches.

How far is Santa Cruz from San Francisco?

About 128 kilometers (80 miles) south of San Francisco, the journey to Santa Cruz should take about 90 minutes by car. If you plan to make the trip via public transportation, allow north of two hours to get there.

Day trip to Gold Country

4. Day trip to Gold Country

Step into the past with a trip to historic Gold Country. The epicenter of the famed California Gold Rush, you can pan for gold flakes at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park where the precious metal was first discovered in 1848, explore a replica of the original Sutter’s Mill, and stroll the charming streets of Auburn with its local shops and tasty eateries.

How far is Gold Country from San Francisco?

Making the journey to Gold Country can be ambitious, but is definitely achievable if you plan ahead. The trip of about 209 kilometers (130 miles) can be made in about two and a half hours by car with good traffic conditions.

Day trip to Marin

5. Day trip to Marin

Head out of the city and into the woods on a trip to Marin. This easy day trip is a great way to take in the natural wonder of the Golden State. Walk among the giant redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument or lounge on the fine sands of Stinson Beach, and don’t miss a chance to shuck and grill fresh oysters on the rugged coast in Tomales Bay.

How far is Marin from San Francisco?

Only about 64 kilometers (40 miles) away, Marin is one of the easiest day trips from San Francisco. By car, it should only take 45 minutes to an hour, while it is also easy to reach by bus and by ferry in about an hour.

San Francisco day trip FAQ

What transportation options are best for my day trip?

Figuring out how to navigate your day trip? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are many different options for how to travel.
  • • San Francisco day trips by train

    The train network for the greater San Francisco Bay Area doesn’t extend far beyond the main urban centers. For this reason, the train may only be a viable option for one leg of your day trip.

  • • San Francisco day trips by bus

    Several different municipal bus companies run service out of San Francisco. If you’re willing to add a little travel time, a bus trip can be a great adventure. It allows you to see the sights as you drive past and save money on travel expenses. There are also many great bus tour options beginning in San Francisco, many with convenient local pick-up.

  • • San Francisco day trips by car

    A car is probably the most convenient option for traveling around the San Francisco Bay Area. While the city itself offers excellent public transportation, getting out of town can sometimes be a bit inconvenient without your own vehicle. There are many different car rental and car share options around San Francisco to give you the freedom of car travel during your stay.


Should I take a guided tour for my day trip?

For a day trip out of San Francisco, a guided tour is a wonderful option. Avoid the hassle of a car in the city, and have an expert plan out the optimal experience wherever you want to go. Nothing beats an adventure with door to door service.


What should I pack for my day trip?

If you opt for a guided tour, they may provide all you will need for the day, including your transportation. However, the San Francisco Bay Area is notorious for unpredictable weather, so no matter where or when you go, dress in layers and bring a jacket.


Other Sightseeing Options in San Francisco

Want to discover all there is to do in San Francisco? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about San Francisco

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,307 reviews

The experience was wonderful. We don’t usually do tours but found this tour with three wineries and Muir Woods to be less complicated than than having to make reservations with each with winery. It was relaxing not having to drive as well. Tour Guide representative was very good at providing information about areas as we passed along the way.

Excelent tour, Denisse our guide was great, she was very knowledgeable of Yosemite and gave a lot of good advices to have the best experience possible during the tour. Highly recomended!

Muir woods is breathtaking. I wish I had a couple of days to spend there. The guide, George, was wonderful and humorous.

Bonita, our guid was full of energy despite the terrible weather and helped made the experience worth the money.

Parker was a great guide, very knowledgeable and informative!