5 Top Day Trips from San Francisco

5 Top Day Trips from San Francisco

One of my favorite perks of living in San Francisco is the plethora of day trips available. North, East, South – no matter which way you go, you’ll find an adventure. Today I’m sharing with you my favorite 5 day tips from San Francisco. 

Castello di Amorosa, Castle in Napa - Whimsy Soul

Sonoma Valley + Lunch at the Fremont Diner

It’s no secret that Napa and Sonoma Valley are wonderful places to visit. I personally take advantage of their proximity to San Francisco and frequently escape the fog for a day of hot sun and good wine. Lately I’ve been opting for Sonoma Valley vs. Napa Valley, which is usually more crowded and the wineries are more expensive. Sonoma Valley offers lesser known wineries (read: less crowds and cheaper tasting fees) with the same sun and endless vineyards. I suggest heading to Scribe and Ravenswood in Sonoma, or up to Healdsburg for a drive along the Dry Creek string of wineries. Read more here, here and here. 

Don’t forget to grab lunch at the famous Fremont Diner on the way up. It’s iconic and has amazing food! 

Insider tip: Most wineries close at 5pm, so leave the city at 9am to beat traffic and to maximize your time up north. 

The winter is chilly, but most of the year, wine country is hot hot hot! And you’ll most likely spend a portion of it on you feet (a few glasses in), so wear comfy shoes. Below are my tops picks!

Muir Woods

Muir Woods Hike + Oysters in Bodega Bay

Just a short drive north of San Francisco, the Muir Woods are the closet pocket of Redwoods. The forest floor is cool and silent; the towering trees above you make you feel so small. There’s something magical about scaling the hillside and growing ever closer to the top of the tree line. We visited for my 24th birthday, doing a 9 mile hike through the woods and down the beach. It was one of my most favorite hikes to date. Read more here

Insider tip: Get there before 7:30am for an empty parking lot and an even emptier hike. The crowds start to pour in soon afterwards.

Afterward you hike, head to Bodega Bay to Hog Island Oysters for a very Californian afternoon by the water, shucking your own oysters. There’s beer available for sale, or you can bring your own. In my opinion? Good food and good beer is the best way to unwind after a long, wonderful hike.  Try wearing this outfit!


carmel sunset


Around a 2.5 hour drive down south, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a charming, sleepy city by the ocean. Think cobblestone streets, seafood and great shopping. I suggest spending a good portion of your afternoon on the beach. When you get restless, walk around the base of Pebble Beach Golf Course and hunt for lost golf balls (get collected about 8 when we visited!). It’s a fun treasure hunt. Or, if you like to play, actually visit the course. For dinner, head to Mundaka for wonderful paella.  Read more here and here. 

Insider tip: Stick around for the sunset. Carmel is famous for the most vibrant, stunning sunsets on the coast. 

I’d pack this:


Big Sur hike + Relax


Big Sur is probably one of the best hiking spots on the West Coast. Think: rolling hills, misty beaches, and stunning sunsets. Robin and I still haven’t made our way down there, but I’m told the best way to experience it is to day hike and spend the afternoon picnicking on a bluff of choice. I would also recommend staying the night

Insider tip: I would also recommend staying the night here and waking up to an early morning swim. 

Pack this:


Tiburon + Angel Island

No car? For a closer day trip, head on an early ferry to Tiburon, a cute town on the North side of the bay. Think seaside town with a West Coast twist. Spend the day walking around and looking at shops. Have a seafood lunch by the water with a bottle of wine. In the afternoon, head to Angle Island for a beautiful walk in the middle of the Bay. 

Insider Tip: Hit up the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market before you go!

wear this:



  1. Lindsey
    April 1, 2016 / 12:26 am

    I still haven’t been to Tiburon! I’ll have to check it out ^_^

    • kara.a.harms@gmail.com
      April 5, 2016 / 9:16 am

      We haven’t either! I think we’re heading there and to Angle Island for Memorial Day 🙂