6 Weekend Road Trip Destinations Within About 3 Hours of The Harrison

October 12, 2020

Itching to get out of the city and immerse yourself in nature for a few days? Pack a bag or load up your camping gear and hit the road to one of these stunning locales for the weekend.

1–2 Hours Away

1. Half Moon Bay

About a 45-minute drive from San Francisco, the quaint beach town of Half Moon Bay could easily be a day trip, but we recommend an overnight stay to take in the sunrise and sunset over the water. Pitch a tent and camp overlooking the sand at Francis Beach Campground or enjoy the comforts of home at The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. While you’re there, be sure to consider a seaside horseback riding tour via Sea Horse Ranch.

2. Napa Valley

Wine country is about an hour away—with some of the world’s best wine and food waiting for you. Book a multi-night stay at a hotel or bed & breakfast to experience as much of the Napa Valley as possible. No formal wine tastings or tours necessary to enjoy the comforts and delights of wine country.

3. Santa Cruz County

Though famous for its boardwalk, Santa Cruz is much more than a summertime tourist destination. The coastal county is home to expansive redwood forests by way of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, which is great for day hikes or overnight camping. It’s also home to quirky artisan shops by way of charming Capitola. It’s a surfer’s paradise by way of Pleasure Point. Plan for a 1.5-to-2-hour drive.

2–3 Hours Away

4. Carmel-by-the-Sea

As far as idyllic beach towns go, Carmel-by-the-Sea tops many lists. About two hours from San Francisco, you’ll find soft white sand on secluded beaches, eclectic art viewing, boutique shopping, wine tasting, and more. Don’t miss a chance to visit Point Lobos State Natural Reserve—for hiking, picnicking, or artistic inspiration—during your trip.

5. Big Sur 

Hugging Pacific Coast Highway a couple hours south lies the rugged and lush city of Big Sur. Not to be missed: the iconic Bixby Creek Bridge (most recently featured in the intro to HBO’s Big Little Lies series), the beach-adjacent McWay Falls waterfall, and Pfeiffer Beach for sunset viewing. We recommend making your weekend getaway a backpacking trip to take in all the wildlife, stunning vistas, and challenging trails.

6. Yosemite

Head east for about three hours, and you’ll wind up in one of the most beautiful, wondrous settings in the state of California. The 1,200-square-mile Yosemite National Park is on many a bucket list, but San Francisco residents are close enough to visit nearly as often as you’d like—and you’d still discover something new every time. Consider tent camping, in-park lodging, or vacation rentals and explore the park high and low.

Note: Reservations are currently required to visit the park, so make sure to plan ahead. Some hiking and climbing trails/ventures require permits.

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