10 Must-Do Getaways Near San Francisco for Couples

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The Bay Area is a destination known for its scenic beauty and rich cultural history. This amazing coastal California area is home to a whopping 7.5 million residents, making it one of the busiest areas in the United States. The Bay is packed with great food, sports, music, nature, and things to do.

Local Bay Area residents and out of town visitors may be looking to escape the city (or Alcatraz), for a nice weekend getaway. One of the great things about the Bay Area is the many international airports in the vicinity, allowing out-of-towners to hop in and out of the city with affordable flights. Whether you and your sweet one live in the Bay, or you are looking for a balance of rural and city vacation, there are endless options to check out.

Adventurous and romantic weekend getaways from San Francisco are plentiful. No matter what kind of trip you and your significant other are looking for, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve put together a phenomenal list of the top 10 picks within driving distance of SF, along with some pro tips. Keep reading to begin planning your California getaway.

Visit Wine Country

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The world-famous Napa Valley is known for its spectacular wine and beautiful landscapes. Enjoy some delicious wines while you drive through this romantic and scenic paradise. You can stop at several of the vineyards to tour around a little and taste local vino. Napa is loaded with popular wineries like Robert Mondavi, Stag’s Leap, and Inglenook. You’ll also have access to bottles and styles not available anywhere else! Don’t forget, Napa has one of the best fine dining food scenes in the entire world. So if wining and dining in a beautiful area is your thing, look no further than Napa Valley for your romantic getaways in California!

Pro traveler tip: For more info on Napa, check out this blog!

Drive Time From San Francisco: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Muir Woods

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Get close to nature, close to the city by hiking through Muir Woods. Massive redwoods create a canopy of shade as you walk through the winding trails among these famous giants. Make sure you purchase entry passes for you and your party in advance here. This is one of the most romantic places in California thanks to its epic nature setting! Seeing the beauty of these romantic California woods is an absolute must.

Pro traveler tip: Book your parking reservation early so that you are not turned away at the gate. Then at the end of your day, head around the corner to Muir beach for sunset, it’s magical.

Drive Time From San Francisco: 45 minutes

Monterey Bay

Chase Dekker [https://www.shutterstock.com/g/chase%20dekker]/Shutterstock

 

Kayak in Monterey Bay for a leisurely way to absorb the beauty of this tourist hot spot and marine preserve. Kayaks are available to rent so you and your loved one can have a no-hassle glide across the water. Check out all these great rental options here. If you’re new to kayaking, you might be interested in a tour that will help guide you around certain tricky areas. For a romantic option for you and your partner, why not take a private tour?

Pro traveler tip: After grabbing a bite to eat in quaint Carmel-by-the-sea, take a tour of 17 miles while passing by the beauty of Pebble Beach and the Lone Cypress.

Drive Time From San Francisco 1 hour and 45 minutes

Sausalito

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Spend a weekend in Sausalito and take in the grandeur of this beautiful, bayside village. Have a delicious lunch at Bar Bocce while you watch the sailboats as they come and go in the harbor. Enjoy dinner at The Barrel House with an incredible waterfront view. Shop at the boutiques, tour the unique galleries, and grab a drink or two in one of the charming pubs. This is truly the perfect weekend spot for you and your partner. Time moves a bit slower in this romantic California setting.

Pro traveler tip: Bike across the bridge to take in the tremendous sights of the bay area. It’s well worth the effort, then you can take the ferry back to the city without having to climb the hill out of Sausalito.

Drive Time From San Francisco 30 minutes

Half Moon Bay

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Take some time to enjoy the numerous beaches, hiking trails, and parks of Half Moon Bay. Couples can do as much or as little as they desire in this relaxing beach town which offers waterfront dining, horseback riding on the beach and paddleboarding or surfing in the famous California surf. Simply take in the beautiful coast or jump in the water and enjoy some beach time followed by a romantic candle lit dinner.

Pro traveler tip: If you are around Half Moon Bay in the winter months, keep an eye and ear out for the surfing at Maverick’s. One of the largest waves in the world, it’s a treat to behold the surfers stare down these giants of the Pacific.

Drive Time From San Francisco: 40 minutes

Pescadero

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Experience Mother Nature at Pescadero. Hike, take a boat tour, kayak, meditate, and picnic without the bustle of city noise. Listen to the birds singing and the rustle of leaves in the wind. A peaceful option for your weekend getaway. We recommend renting a car and heading down. This way, you won’t be on anyone else’s schedule but your own.

Pro traveler tip: Enjoy the ride! Driving to destination is one of our favorite parts about visiting Pescadero!

Drive Time From San Francisco: 1 hour

Mendocino Coast

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The Mendocino Coast is an isolated nugget of beauty. With gorgeous beaches for sunning within the cliffs, redwood forests for hiking, spas for pampering, and sunsets worth watching at the end of the day, you’re bound to have a memorable weekend. Make the most of a weekend by spending it here where romance can flourish.

Pro traveler tip: Take the scenic route by driving up historic Route 1. It’s one of the most beautiful drives of the country and will leave you in awe of the rugged California coast.

Drive Time From San Francisco 3 hours and 30 minutes

Big Sur

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Big Sur boasts a 90-mile coastline of water, waterfalls, redwood trees, and a mysterious fog that hovers. Explore this area to find some of the magnificent wildlife that calls this place home. You might catch a glimpse of a whale, see a few sea otters and plenty of exotic birds. Keep your camera on hand.

Pro traveler tip: You’ll be heading straight through Monterey Bay, another one of the previously mentioned top picks for your getaway. Plan ahead and hit both spots on your way down. Happy trails!

Drive Time From San Francisco 2 hours and 30 minutes

Yosemite National Park

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Yosemite National Park is an ideal weekend retreat. It is a busy tourist attraction, so be sure to secure your Yosemite Valley vacation rental at least a couple of months ahead of time. The park offers up-close views of nature and wildlife while hiking. Winter offers horse-drawn sleigh rides and ice skating, a truly unique experience.

Pro traveler tip: If you are a photographer, there are two tremendous events to be aware of: Horsetail falls burning with the sunset, and the full moon rising over Yosemite Falls. Make sure to catch a shot of each of these incredible places before you head out.

Drive Time From San Francisco 3 hours

Lake Tahoe

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Ski, tube, or snowboard at the numerous resorts around Lake Tahoe in the winter. Relax and take in the rays in the summer. Hike the Rubicon Trail and tour the amazing Vikingsholm castle.

Pro traveler tip: If it’s a big vacation weekend, it will be heavily trafficked everywhere. After Labor Day and before Memorial Day, you’ll find a more patient staff with fewer crowds. Be sure to plan accordingly.

Drive Time From SF: 3 hours

San Francisco Is Calling You!

This beautiful and romantic city is perfect for a weekend getaway or langer-stay trip. With so many surrounding areas to check out, you’re sure to enjoy your time in the greater Bay area! Ready to book your next vacation? Head over to VacationRenter, and we’ll get you set up with your accommodations. That way you’re able to focus on what really matters: your vacation. Have a nice trip!