What's a good weekend trip from San Francisco?
November 16, 2006 3:24 PM   Subscribe

BayAreaFilter: Looking for some ideas for fun short trips to take over thanksgiving weekend with my girlfriend.

We'll be able to get away from San Francisco sometime late Thursday afternoon and have until Sunday to be away. We're not averse to driving a bit, although we'd rather not be in the car for hours and hours. Cost isn't a huge issue, but let's not go crazy here.

Something outdoorsy, a bit romantic, and that possibly involved a hot tub would be pretty perfect. Thanks!
posted by christy to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
When I was there with my girlfriend (who is from the Bay Area, I'm from Australia) we drove up to Sonoma and the Napa Valley, and Point Reyes (sp?). It was wonderful. Great beaches, good people, nice places to stay. If you're into wine at all, the Napa Valley will certainly treat you very well indeed. It's as outdoorsy as you make it, very romantic, and I'm sure you could find a hot tub somewhere.
posted by twirlypen at 3:45 PM on November 16, 2006

Thanksgiving weekend is Open Studios weekend in Point Reyes Station. There are a few good studios to check out there, if you're so inclined. I love the town of PRS too.

Blue Water Kayaks has a whole bunch of rental packages that could fulfill your outdoorsy requirement. They were super nice when I did an overnight rental with some friend last year though them.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:54 PM on November 16, 2006

San Luis Obispo is three hours south.
posted by rhizome at 3:58 PM on November 16, 2006

Best answer: You could rent a private cottage. Most have hot tubs. Then use that as your base to go see Point Reyes or Redwood forests and eat fresh oysters.
posted by vacapinta at 4:17 PM on November 16, 2006

Best answer: Costanoa (warning: flash) is just down the road, in Pescadero. Right on the coast. They've got hiking, and tent cabins, and rooms-with-four-real-walls, and tent platforms where you can pitch your own, and yes, hot tobs. A spa, even. My girlfriend and I stayed there a couple of years ago, and enjoyed it. They're right up the road from Ano Nuevo, where the elephant seals come to have their pups and hang out for the winter, so you can hike out (with a docent, when it's pup season, and you have to make a reservation) to see them. They're very weird and quite wonderful.
posted by rtha at 4:22 PM on November 16, 2006

Best answer: I haven't been to Harbin but friends say it's lovely, especially for couples (single women get hit on a bit.) You might also consider Vichy and Wilbur.

My husband and I had a lovely pre-baby dirty weekend at Ridenhour Inn in Russian River. It's a very easy drive from the city, has a hot tub and is right next to Korbel for champagne-tasting. You can go horse-riding in Armstrong Woods and visit sea lions on the beach at Jenner. Magic part of the world.

For another kind of magic go south. I love everything about Big Sur. We've stayed at Ripplewood, which is charming and cheap, but there's also Deetjen's and the Big Sur River Inn. Highlights of Big Sur include the waterfall in McWay Cove and the unexpectedly beautiful Hearst Castle. There are hot springs at Esalen, but if you're not a guest you have to go between 1 and 3 am!
posted by rdc at 4:23 PM on November 16, 2006

Check for vacation rentals on Craigslist. It's the off season here in Santa Cruz, you could probably get a nice beach house or forest cottage for as much as hotel or b&b lodging. We have great restaurants, more fine dining than a town this size deserves, and all kinds of places to explore.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:55 PM on November 16, 2006

Big Sur

Totally beautiful. Many nice places to stay.
Beach walking
staring at the sunsets . . .
Only about 2.5 hours away from SF

(disclosure: was married there and am predisposed)
posted by nicholai88 at 5:59 PM on November 16, 2006

It's a little farther than you wanted, probably five or six hours, but the drive up the coast to Cloverdale, and then out west through Navarro to Highway 1, and then north to Fort Bragg, is one of the loveliest drives anywhere. You'll pass close by the tallest trees on earth; you can detour a half-hour south to go see them if you wish. (you may not want to: they don't tell you which one is the tallest tree, because they're afraid someone will kill it, like that bristlecone pine.) But that whole area is just full of immense redwoods, taller than imagination. It's lovely both foggy and sunny... kind of mysterious and magical in the fog, and just gorgeous in the sun, especially in the early afternoon.

Then you can ride the Skunk Train; you can do that either in a day trip or overnight.

Look for Clare's Pies in Fort Bragg, across the street from the Safeway. Ten years ago, Clare was already old, so it may not be there anymore... but if she's still baking, you MUST have some of her pie.
posted by Malor at 6:22 PM on November 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

2nding mendocino/fort bragg and the skunk train. real nice.
posted by joeblough at 6:24 PM on November 16, 2006

Looks like it's still there, and it's "Clair's Pies", not Clare. Oops. :)
posted by Malor at 6:26 PM on November 16, 2006

How about Thanksgiving on safari? Safari West takes overnight guests, and it's smack in the middle of Wine Country. In 3-4 days, you can take a balloon ride across the Napa Valley, catch a tasting at Korbel, hike (or horseback ride) the redwoods at Armstrong State Park, check out Seal Rock Beach in Jenner (bring good jackets because the ocean wind is extra nippy there), then get warmed back up at Calistoga Hot Springs, window shop in Healdburg or Sonoma, and sample the goodies at Copia. Plus hang out with zebras and giraffes.

Or just head north and pick any one of those as an easy day trip (except the balloon; since it leaves at dawn, you'd have to get in the car at a gawdawful hour). Point Reyes -- as already mentioned -- is also excellent.

If the drive to Ft. Bragg is too long, you don't have to rule out the Skunk Train. The Willits station is closer (2.5 hours), and there are a bunch of nice vineyards to visit as you pass through the Alexander Valley.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 6:31 PM on November 16, 2006

Healdsburg, that is...
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 6:33 PM on November 16, 2006

Yeah, I was going to suggest Esalen too, but I see rdc beat me to it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:18 PM on November 16, 2006

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