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You don’t need to book a two-week long vacation to enjoy the relaxation that comes with a great getaway. Whether you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city, or you feel like exploring a new town, a Californian weekend adventure can help you feel refreshed when you get back to work on Monday morning. These weekend trips in Northern California are all within driving distance from the Bay Area, making it easy to escape reality for a short while.

  1. Napa Valley

    With its famous wineries and stunning countryside, Napa Valley makes an ideal choice for an out of town trip. Set yourself up in a vacation rental in Napa proper, or one of the smaller towns in the valley, then use the Napa Valley Wine Train to discover more of the area. If you’re feeling extravagant, you can even opt for a Wine Country tour by helicopter, with a wine tasting and food pairing included at some stops.

    helicopter-flying-over-napa

  2. Sonoma

    If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to a Napa getaway, Sonoma is an excellent choice. The historic city is a scenic destination in itself, and the countryside around it is filled with vineyard landscapes that can rival Tuscany. Go on a historic walking tour, select over 100 wineries in the area to enjoy a wine tasting or two, or visit some state parks close by such as Jack London State Historic Park and Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

    sonoma-vineyards-in-the-fall

  3. Monterey

    This seaside town has something for everyone. If you love the outdoors, try out one of many coastal hikes in the area. Whale watching tours, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and sandy beaches offer lots of fun for the family. If you’re on a romantic getaway, you can also visit Cannery Row for several wine tasting rooms and dinner date options. To take in the gorgeous scenery without exerting much physical effort, check out Monterey’s scenic 17-mile drive, or take a mini detour along Highway 1 to Bixby Bridge.

    lone-cypress-in-monterey

  4. Yosemite National Park

    For some fresh air, good ol’ exercise, and breathtaking views as far as the eye can see, look no further than Yosemite National Park. California’s first national park has hiking trails for everyone, so whether you’re packing a stroller, or you want to embrace a new challenge, you can enjoy the beauty of nature inside this gorgeous park. If camping isn’t your style, you can find a wide range of accommodations in Mariposa, Groveland and Oakhurst, which offer good access to the park. Additionally, you can find a rental by the lake at Bass Lake, less than an hour away from the park’s entrance.

    yosemite-landscape-by-water

  5. Murphys

    For a taste of the Sierra Nevada mountains, take a trip to Murphys — originally dubbed by western miners as Murphys New Diggings. This town located in the foothills of the mountains offers everything from cave explorations to white water rafting. It’s also an excellent place to learn more about the Gold Rush, with plenty of old buildings left over from the days of the Old West.

    people-white-water-rafting

  6. Sacramento

    Get a feel for history in California’s state capital and cross one item off your bucket list of things to do in California. Stroll down the wooden boardwalks in Old Sacramento or pay a visit to Sutter’s Fort. Take a guided tour of the California State Capitol building to get an in-depth view of California history. Other museums in the area include the Crocker Art Museum and the California State Railroad Museum. There’s lots to learn in the capital of California!

    sacramento-state-capital-building

  7. Mendocino

    If you don’t want to choose between culture and an outdoor adventure, look no further than Mendocino. The town is packed with galleries like the Mendocino Art Center and performing arts venues, so you’ll have plenty of options for seeing shows and exhibitions. It also offers easy access to stunning coastlines and beautiful forests so that you can enjoy some fresh air during your weekend away.

    landscapes-of-mendocino-county

  8. Eureka

    Take a trip back in time and take in the Victorian charm of Eureka. This town offers postcard-perfect buildings and a picturesque harbor, so there’s plenty of scenery to take in. See the intricate details of the Carson Mansion which dates back to the 1880s and has transformed into a local landmark. Some notable restaurants in the area include Cafe Waterfront and Restaurant 301. You can also visit Lost Coast Brewery for a refreshing beer that comes in flavors like watermelon and tangerine.

    carson-mansion-in-eureka

  9. Redwood National & State Parks

    One hour north of Eureka are the Redwood National & State Parks. With trees that surpass 350 feet tall, a visit to the Redwoods truly makes you feel like you’re in the company of giants. Spend a weekend hiking through some of the oldest and tallest trees in the world or go for a scenic drive down Howland Hill Road.

    green-plants-in-redwood-national-park

  10. Crescent City

    This coastal city is about as far north as you can go in California. If you drive just 20 miles further, you’ll hit the Oregon border. With its historic lighthouses and beautiful waterfront, this is a terrific place for a West Coast getaway. Enjoy a picnic on Crescent Beach, camp in Florence Keller Campground, or see the historic Battery Point Lighthouse.

    crescent-city-at-sunset

  11. Ready for a mini vacation somewhere in Northern California? Allow VacationRenter to help you find the perfect getaway!