5 prime Bay Area vacation spots

The view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Tiburon-Angel Island ferry.
Jessica Rogness/Staff
The view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Tiburon-Angel Island ferry.

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Berkeley is a great place to hang out and many people come here to tour on vacation. But believe it or not, there is plenty more to the Bay Area and Nor Cal than our university. (Mind-boggling, right?) So if you’re living in Berkeley this summer, you should consider traveling to other parts of the Bay Area and California.

Getting to these destinations might cost you a bit more, especially if you have to rent a car. But if you’re willing to save your money to go an adventure beyond where your AC Transit Class Pass can take you, here are some spots to check out. Maybe you’ll take one of these ideas for inspiration in the upcoming weeks!

1. Union Square. BART is your friend here. You can catch the Millbrae train and exit at Powell Street. You can check out the stores in the Westfield Mall and then head over to the main square (Union Square), which may be out of your shopping budget with Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue and whatnot. But the roof of Macy’s is a pretty photo op and the square in general is a great tourist spot year-round. We’ve even witnessed a wedding here!

2. Golden Gate Bridge and Park. Isn’t this the quintessential photo spot on every  Bay Area vacationer’s checklist? You’ve seen that bridge in the distance so many times when you’re walking around campus, and you should check it out up close if you haven’t already. The cheapest way to get here is by BART, then take the Muni. Or if you’ve got a bigger budget, you could rent a car, drive over the bridge and then park, although you will have to brave Bay Area traffic.

3. Angel IslandIn the mood for a ferry ride, hiking, biking or camping, all with the prospect of a panoramic view of the Bay Area from Richmond to San Francisco? Good, because unless you have a friend with a private boat (so many students at a public university have that kind of connection, right?) that’s what you’re in for. The simplest way we can explain how to get to the island is this: drive to Tiburon and board the ferry to the island that way. It’s definitely a journey, but we guarantee it’s worth it.

4. Napa. If you’re over 21, why not go wine tasting? Your time at Berkeley may be the only time that you’re so close to the world-renowned Northern California Wine Country. Bay Area public transportation won’t get you there, but if you own or rent a car, we definitely recommend checking out Napa.

5. Sacramento: We know this isn’t part of the Bay Area, but it’s close enough that you could still take a trip here for the day. If you’re not a native to Nor Cal or California in general, you may not have explored the capital city. While we imagine many California schoolchildren have visited the Capitol Building at some point, now you can check out that piece of history without your second-grade teacher breathing down your back. Old Sacramento is pretty fun too, especially for history buffs. There are many museums like the California State Railroad Museum and the general Sacramento History Museum. Sacramento even has its own Tower Bridge, which may not be as famous as the Golden Gate, but we think it’s comparably picturesque, especially at night.

We know completing this entire list on a college-student budget seems a bit impossible. We have you covered. Check out the Clog next week, when we show you five less expensive trips you can take closer to Berkeley.

Also, we know there are so many more Bay Area vacation spots that we haven’t touched on. Share your favorite trips in the comments below!

Contact Jessica Rogness at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @jessarogness.