The Bay Area has so much to offer, so why is it such a challenge to peel ourselves away from our desk chairs and go explore? We get it, the Berkeley bubble can be a lot sometimes, but there’s so much more out there besides Moffitt and Crossroads! Take this as a sign to get out and take a day (or weekend) trip to one of these hidden gems of destinations. It’s time to get your body out of Berkeley and your mind off of midterms.
This is a city with personality if we’ve ever seen one — and not too far away either! Only 25 miles northwest of Berkeley, Sausalito is the perfect getaway destination. All it takes is a quick jump across the Richmond Bridge to get there, but if you’d like to extend the journey, you can also take a detour through the city.
Distance: 25 miles
What to do: Explore the Bridgeway Promenade (a collection of waterfront shops and restaurants), check out the houseboats, grab lunch at the fanciest garage you will ever eat at: Le Garage (we’re not kidding).
Don’t go to Stinson Beach expecting sun. In fact, bundle up and brace yourself for the cold, because the layer of fog surrounding this beach town is just part of its natural beauty. Take in every ounce of the small town, including the scenery on the drive up there — which will be nothing less of beautiful.
Distance: 35 miles
What to do: Hike the Dipsea Trail (even better: Go before sunrise!), rent a cottage on the beach, roam Main Street, set up a picnic on the overlook.
Half Moon Bay
You’ll want to hit Half Moon Bay for a more legitimate beach experience than Stinson can give you. Even though it may be just as cold as other Northern Californian beaches, Half Moon Bay will still melt your heart.
Distance: 41 miles
What to do: Visit the tide pools, kayak with the elephant seals, visit Mavericks (for all you “Chasing Mavericks” fans), check out the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, learn to surf, get your Italian fix at Pasta Moon.
Located just north of Napa, Calistoga offers not just yummy wine, but also a fun time. You don’t have to be 21 to enjoy, because this little piece of California history has so much more to offer than just its adult grape juice!
Distance: 65 miles
What to do: Visit Old Faithful Geyser of California (an actively erupting geyser!), see some really old trees at the Petrified Forest, shop the boutiques on the main drag, relax in the hot springs, visit the Saturday farmers market, go wine tasting.
We see you jumping from college town to college town, but hey, no one’s judging — especially when it’s a place as cute and quaint as Santa Cruz. While Berkeley and Santa Cruz are both known for their quirky personalities, Berkeley can’t quite compare to this little beach haven.
Distance: 76 miles
What to do: Hang out at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (free concerts, thrill rides and fried food!), meet the sea lions, check out the Mystery Spot (prepare for your mind to be blown), go sand dollar hunting, whale watch, swim in the Garden of Eden (a natural swimming hole), visit our friends at UC Santa Cruz.
Calling all nature freaks: You’ll absolutely love it here. It can be so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of school, but in Monterey, it’s almost as if hustle and bustle doesn’t exist. Be prepared to just sit outside and catch your breath for once.
Distance: 116 miles
What to do: See the butterflies migrate at Pacific Grove, hit the aquarium, explore Fisherman’s Wharf, try some dank seafood (but not at Fisherman’s Wharf), share a coffee at Cafe Lumiere, do the infamous 17-Mile Drive to Carmel, golf at Pebble Beach.
Now that you have a few places on your list to visit, make sure to actually give yourself a break. School can be stressful, and hitting up one of these getaway spots will help you reset just in time for finals.
Contact Camryn Frederickson at [email protected].