San Francisco - Further Afield
Oakland, on the east side of San Francisco Bay, is a laid-back city with much to recommend it. Seen as San Fran’s sister city, it’s home to a charming collection of historic neighbourhoods, handsome coastal bars and restaurants and a likable, small-town buzz.
Santa Cruz, on the northside of Monteray Bay, is a surfers’ community, replete with surf bars, boutiques, outdoorsy pursuits, great shops and, in downtown Santa Cruz, seriously tempting seafood and steak restaurants. The Big Basin Redwoods Park, the oldest park in California, is home to mature groves of redwoods, grassy rides and picnic spots.
The Napa Valley is the US’s main wine growing region, and is home to wonderful wine-tasting tours/wineries, handsome villages (such as Healdsburg - a foodie town with a buzzy collection of bookshops, bistros and boutiques) and hiking trails.
Yountville, home to the Napa Valley Museum, is another well-heeled town, where boutique shopping, fine delis and excellent restaurants tempt the city dweller into the country for the weekend, without sacrificing any of the finer things in life.
The Pacific Coast Highway - which runs from Canada to Chile - is, perhaps, at its most beautiful when it carves along the coast in California. The Big Sur Coastline incorporates dramatic, canyon-crossing bridges, wild and rocky headlands, sculpted rock stacks and plenty of hiking and mountaineering opportunities for the adventurous. It’s a good two and a half hour drive south of San Francisco, but what a drive!