Weekend Trips for Hitting the Road, Jack & Jill!
Looking for somewhere to go this weekend? Then you've come to the right place. Check out our Northern California weekend getaways.
Wolf and I have spent several years worth of weekends traveling around Northern California - both with and without kids - discovering new places to go, things to see and do.
We've explored everything from apple orchards, beaches, and California's Gold County to x-treme sports events, yo-yo contests, and zoological exhibits.
Whether you're looking for a romantic jaunt, or a weekend on the cheap;
an educational experience, or an outdoor adventure;
a quiet respite, or shopping and the arts in the big city;
we've got lots of options to share with you!
You're sure to find new ideas, helpful suggestions,
and maybe even some old friends to revisit.
Hopefully there will be a
few surprises along the way as well! Like maybe the Pygmy Forest or Glass Beach in the Mendocino area; or lime kilns and amethyst beaches in Big Sur; helicoptering to a lighthouse on a rock or dining at an authentic lumber camp cookhouse near Eureka; or discover the FREE things to do in San Francisco - who would've thought?
Do you have a favorite weekend trip?
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Northern California Weekend Trips
We just love to go on road trips!
It doesn't matter whether it's for a couple of hours, a whole day, a weekend, or two or three weeks -
every time we get in the car it's another adventure!
How could I disappoint him when he put it like that? So, here you have it - we're sharing some of our favorite weekend getaways with you.
Browse around and pick the ones that suit you best.
Weekend Trips for Everyone
CC Kai Schreiber
We're taking Sunday drives to a whole new level by turning them into weekend road trips!
Because we live in the Chico area, many of these trips start from there, but you can jump right in from anywhere along the route; and feel free to add your own side trips as you discover other opportunities along the way!
Northern California's Gold Country. You can easily explore parts of the Gold Country on a Sunday drive, but to give it its due, a long weekend is much better. Take a scenic drive along Highway 49 for historic towns and State Parks, gold mines, antiquing, stagecoach rides, and lots of fun and interesting history lessons.
Follow the Birds Along the Pacific Flyway. During the fall and winter seasons, Northern California becomes one of North America's most important winter resting stops along the Pacific Flyway for migratory waterfowl. Add fine dining and wine tasting to the experience and you're in for a romantic weekend trip!
Spend a weekend in Berkeley as an alternative to San Francisco. You'll discover art galleries, shopping, great restaurants, performing arts, and a lively nightlife. But that's where the similarities stop: don't miss Telegraph Hill and California University of Berkeley (it's right in the middle of the town), sake tasting, a full-sized T-Rex skeleton, and the Lawrence Hall of Science.
Magical Winter in the Shasta Cascades. Mt. Shasta's snow-covered slopes, a star-bright night in Dunsmuir, breath-taking views of Mt. Shasta, and Castle Crags, plus Mt. Lassen's snow-cloaked hot springs and mud pots. The rest of the year, putter around in small historic towns, take the Shasta Lake Scenic Byway, tour Shasta Dam, explore Lake Shasta Caverns, and houseboat on the lake.
Speaking of Winter, enjoy Wintertime Fun in the High Sierras. Take sleigh rides and have snowball fights, visit lively mountain towns and world renowned ski resorts, and drink in the beauty of the High Sierras wrapped in a winter coat of white.
Spend a weekend on the Russian River. Enjoy wine tasting and touring, scenic drives, discovering little towns and villages, redwood forests, browsing and shopping, dining and relaxing, and of course, the Russian River itself. It's everything you'd expect from a resort area and more!
Visit the Marin County coast from San Francisco to Dillon Beach for nature-filled a get-away-from-it-all-weekend. Explore Point Reyes National Seashore, whale watch from the lighthouse, and hike the Earthquake Trail. Don't miss Audubon Canyon Ranch with its Egret and Blue Heron nesting sites.
Occidental is a hidden gem that not too many people know about. Enjoy a romantic getaway pampering yourselves, browsing and shopping, exploring on your own, and wine tasting. And if you'd like to add a little zip to your romance, that's possible too - take a zip line tour through the canopy!
Of course, Yosemite is a weekender's paradise anytime of the year. Our favorite park stuns the senses with its ginormous monoliths and raging waterfalls. Scenic drives, ranger-led tours, visiting the Ahwahnee Hotel (even if you don't stay there), the Native American Village and Happy Isles are some of our special things to do. A hike we almost never miss: from Yosemite Falls, passing the backside of the Ahwahnee and the Indian Caves, to what's left of Mirror Lake - beautiful and peaceful!
Spend some time in pretty little Los Gatos along the cusp of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Browse and shop the downtown boutiques, enjoy fine dining and wine tasting, get pampered, and take a cooking class at Sur La Table. If you're bring the kidlettes, they'll love the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad!
Eureka is the place to go for well-preserved Victorians, not only in Old Town Eureka but in nearby Ferndale as well. The area is dairy and lumber country with lots of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and historic little towns to explore as well. Don't miss the historic Samoa Cookhouse!
Create Your Own Weekend Trips Too
Photo by Suzi Rosenberg
Plan an inexpensive long weekend in San Francisco. It's easier than you would think!
Pretend you're a kid again in Santa Cruz. Play on the Boardwalk and stroll through the waves.
Relive the Great Depression in the comfort of Monterey. Explore Cannery Row and John Steinbeck's haunts.
Get away from it all in Big Sur with beaches and scenic drives. But also explore the quirky side!
Lake Tahoe's good for a weekend trip any time of year. From winter sports to summer sports to water sports, there's plenty for the active-minded.
Be sure to check back often as I'll be adding more weekend road trips around Northern California for your discovering pleasure! And I hope you'll add your own stories to the mix!
In addition, here are some Day Trips that could easily be turned into weekend outings without much trouble at all!
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