The excursions suggested by San Francisco Chaperon have detailed itineraries which guide the visitor in exploring the region surrounding the San Francisco Bay. They can be completed in one day by renting a car or on an organized tour.
This charming village, overlooking San Francisco Bay, is located 8 km north of the Golden Gate Bridge. With its Mediterranean atmosphere and pleasant climate it is often compared to the Italian Riviera. Restaurants, art galleries and boutiques line the shore on Bridgeway, Sausalito’s main street. Sausalito is a short ferry ride away from San Francisco with the
Golden Gate Ferry
Blue and Gold Fleet
Muir Woods, 20 km north of the Golden Gate Bridge, in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais, is the only coastal redwood forest close to San Francisco. Declared a national monument in 1908, Muir Woods was dedicated to the famous naturalist John Muir. Stroll on the paved trail along the river and admire the trees that are over 80 meters tall and more than 1000 years old.
The fertile and beautiful Napa Valley, together with the parallel Valley of Sonoma, are only a short, scenic 1.5 hour drive north of San Francisco. The excellent wines and the beauty of the landscape, together with some of the most renowned restaurants in the United States, attract visitors from all over the world. Many wineries offer guided tours of their facilities and wine tasting.
Yosemite National Park is famous for the abundant waterfalls and the majestic granite blocks like El Capitan and Half Dome that attract nature lovers from around the world. Located in the Sierra Nevada, the park is 336 km from San Francisco. The Mariposa Grove, a magnificent giant redwoods forest, is at the south entrance of the park.
Monterey is 200 km south of San Francisco, along the rugged California coast. At the end of Monterey's most famous and most commercial street, Cannery Row, you will find the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium where you can observe up close the rich marine life of Monterey Bay.
The idyllic 17 miles along the Monterey peninsula, between Monterey and the enchanting town of Carmel by the Sea, wind between famous golf courses and the coastline, where seals and sea lions bathe in the sun on top of the rocks.
Ocean Boulevard, that connects the center of Carmel with its long white sand beach, is lined with shops, art galleries and restaurants.
Less than an hour south of San Francisco is Silicon Valley, a hotbed of high-tech companies and startups that’s been growing since the early 1970s when companies manufacturing personal computers began to spring up, replacing the area’s peaceful fruit orchards. Silicon, the substance used in the making of semiconductors—a key component in computers—became the valley’s primary product and the name “Silicon Valley” stuck.
Geographically, Silicon Valley includes most of Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Alameda County.
Love technology? Check out the fascinating museums: Computer History Museum (Santa Clara), the Intel Museum (Santa Clara), and the Tech Museum of Innovation (a great place for kids in San Jose) are all great places to spend a day.
Silicon Valley is home to more than technology, however. Be sure to visit these notable sights:
Winchester Mystery House, 525 South Winchester Blvd, San Jose. This mansion was once the home of Sarah Winchester, wife of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester. Sarah was so certain that ghosts of the people killed by Winchester rifles inhabited the house that she kept building onto it, without any architectural plans whatsoever, in an attempt to confuse the spirits.
NASA Ames Exploration Center and Moffett Field. The science museum at the entrance to the Exploration Center offers a moon rock, the Mercury-Redstone 1A capsule (launched in 1960), movies of NASA’s explorations, and more. Moffett Airfield, a joint civil-military airport was the site of many past military activities. Don’t miss Hangars 1, 2, and 3.
Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. This art museum on the university campus first opened in 1894 and houses one of the world’s largest collections of Auguste Rodin sculptures.
Hiller Aviation Museum, San Carlos. With more than 45 aerospace vehicles, this aircraft museum focuses on airplane and helicopter history.
With its famous and important University, Berkeley, on the East side of the San Francisco Bay, is an interesting and lively city with great bookstores, shops and a young, multicolored crowd.
Tiburon is one of the most affluent residential suburbs in the San Francisco Bay area. This enchanting, sunny town resembling a New England seaport village has breathtaking vistas of the Bay, great outdoor restaurants and a warm climate. It is reachable with a 1/2 an hour ferry ride from San Francisco with the
Blue and Gold Fleet
Across from Tiburon, a short distance by ferry, is Angel Island. One of the favorite destinations of nature lovers, bicyclists and hikers, this former Immigration station offers spectacular vistas of San Francisco and the Bay.