[Photo:Auberge du Soleil]

San Francisco is an exciting place to live, but the busy city often makes you long for a quiet getaway out in the country or along the coast. Fortunately for everyone, there are many incredible choices just a short drive or a ferry ride away.

Whether you are looking to relax on the beach, at a spa, go biking, kayaking, whale watching, wine tasting or on a hot air balloon ride, there is plenty to choose from. Check into a family-friendly resort that offers activities for all ages, escape to a quiet inn that caters to adults, get pampered in a luxury suite, or plan an affordable weekend getaway that won't break the bank.

The Mendocino Coast

[Photo:The Beachcomber Motel]

Vacationers enjoy a combination of amazing ocean views, art galleries, hiking and whale watching on the Mendocino Coast. In Fort Bragg, you will find scenic beaches, redwood forests and charming boutiques. Check into the the Beachcomber Motel which offers affordable oceanview rooms with fireplaces and vaulted ceilings (from $109, thebeachcombermotel.com). The Elk Cove Inn & Spa offers stunning ocean views from its 16 suites, cottages and rooms. The Oceanfront Junior Suites are the most luxurious, complete with a tub with jets and dramatic views of an offshore rock. Rooms start at $100 per night, suites from $345 (elkcoveinn.com).

The town of Mendocino offers a selection of sandy beaches, gardens and romantic sunsets. Brewery Gulch Inn is a great place to stay for couples, offering luxury guest rooms and scenic ocean views. Unique architectural design incorporates ancient virgin redwood timbers eco-salvaged from Big River. Located approximately 3.5 hours from San Francisco, the inn is a relaxing weekend getaway from the city. The hotel provides a great base for exploring the Mendocino Coast.

Whether you are interested in art galleries, historic attractions or outdoor sports, the area offers an array of vacation activities and romantic ideas. Stroll through the inn's gardens featuring groves of rhododendrons of every color, and look for a variety of birds and butterflies attracted by the plants. The inn has ten guest rooms, each with a fireplace and scenic ocean views. If you are planning a romantic getaway, ask for one of the rooms with a private redwood deck and a soaking tub for two. A daily gourmet country breakfast is included in the room rate. For lunch and dinner, visit one of the restaurants in Mendocino; ask the inn's concierge for suggestions. Room and suite rates range from $170 to $360 per night with a two-night weekend minimum. The inn is not appropriate for children under 12 (brewerygulchinn.com).

Monterey & Carmel

[Photo:Spindrift Inn]

Monterey is home to the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, wineries, and scenic oceanview trails perfect for whale-watching. The Old Monterey Inn is located right in the heart of Monterey, offering 10 rooms and suites with terry-lined silky bathrobes, aromatic candles, and either King or Queen featherbeds. The Garden Cottage has an in-room jacuzzi and a sitting room with a fireplace. Have breakfast in bed, in the garden or in the dining area. The breakfast menu varies daily. Homemade cookies are available in the afternoon, and wine and appetizers are served in the evening. The Monterey Bay Aquarium, parks, shops and the warf are within walking distance. The property is three hours south of San Francisco which makes it a great weekend trip from the city. Rates range from $270 to $450 per night, including breakfast ( oldmontereyinn.com).

Monterey Bay Inn is located on historic Cannery Row, near the Aquarium, Fisherman's Wharf and downtown. Activities include wine tasting tours, kayaking, shopping, fishing, golf and whale watching. The inn has 47 guest rooms and suites with scenic views and luxury amenities. There is a selection of fine restaurants nearby. Fly to the Monterey Peninsula Airport, serviced by daily flights from San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. San Francisco International Airport is 120 miles north of Monterey. Room rates start at around $209, depending on when you go (montereybayinn.com).

Carmel-by-the-Sea is known for its vibrant artist community, scenic views and frequent celebrity sightings. Couples will love L'Auberge Carmel, a Relais & Châteaux property, which offers elegant guest rooms and great food (laubergecarmel.com).

Sausalito

[Photo:The Inn Above Tide]

Go on a day trip to Sausalito, just a ferry ride across the bay, where you will find spectacular views, unique boutiques and a selection of activities, such as kayaking, sailing and hiking. If you want to stay overnight, check into the Inn Above Tide which offers stylish accommodations right on the water. Ask for a view of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, Angel Island or the city skyline (from $340, innabovetide.com).

Quiet Weekend in Yountville

[Photo:Bardessono]

Yountville is a quiet country getaway where you can rest your body and mind surrounded by natural sights and sounds of geese, pheasants and coyotes in the hills. You will be surrounded by home to world-class wineries, so wine tasting is a must. Bardessono is an eco-friendly romantic getaway where you will find organic linens, organic food and luxury suites with massage tables. The more affordable Oleander House offers guest rooms with a fireplace, private balcony and a skylight above the tub in the bathroom. Watch the sun set behind the Mayacamus Mountain range in the evening while sipping a glass of your favorite wine.

Just south of Yountville lies La Residence, a quiet retreat on two acres of oaks, redwoods and fragrant gardens. The inn offers a selection of 26 rooms and suites, in-room spa treatments, complimentary wine country breakfast and evening wine and cheese reception.

Weekend in Napa

[Photo:Balloons Above the Valley]

The picturesque Napa Valley is home to world-famous wineries, hotels and restaurants. Stay at the stylish Auberge du Soleil which offers amazing views and luxury accommodations. Get your bearings from the air by going on a morning hot air balloon ride. Most tour operators offer a Champagne breakfast after the flight which lasts about an hour. Balloons Above the Valley and Napa Valley Aloft Balloon Rides are both very good choices. Prices start around $200 per person.

If you want to be close to the shops, restaurants and attractions of Downtown Napa, check into the Blackbird Inn (from $225 per night) which offers 8 plush rooms, many with a fireplace, jetted spa tub and a private deck. Complimentary amenities include buffet breakfast, afternoon wine, tea, cookies, toiletry items and a knowledgeable concierge concierge to help you plan your trip.

Milliken Creek Inn offers stylish rooms with fireplaces and outdoor patios. A visit to the inn spa is a must at this scenic inn. The spa offers services that range from relaxing massages to rejuvenating facials.

Napa River Inn (from $210 per night) is another good option in Downtown Napa. The inn is located in the Historic Napa Mill, a National Registered Landmark built in 1884. Guests get a personalized California breakfast delivered to their room each morning and the inn welcomes small size pets. Napa River Inn provides a complimentary town car available for complimentary transportation within the city of Napa. The inn concierge is expert at assisting vacationers with their Wine Country tours and exploration.

Half Moon Bay

[Photo:The Ritz-Carlton]

Half Moon Bay features some of the most stunning coastal scenery on the West Coast. It's a quick escape from San Francisco, located just over 20 miles southwest of the irport. Check into one of the ocean view rooms at The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay and schedule a romantic couples treatment at the hotel spa. Stay in and order room service or explore attractions in the area, including the Santa Cruz Mountain Wineries and the Filoli Estate and Gardens.

Lake Tahoe

[Photo:Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe]

A getaway in Lake Tahoe means fresh cool mountain air, great views and a selection of hotels that range from luxury to inexpensive. Head to the Taylor Creek Visitor Center on the south shore of Lake Tahoe for a map of the most scenic trails in the area. The Stream Profile Chamber, just a quarter mile down the Rainbow Trail, gives you a 180 degree view of life above and below the water through a curved diorama.

If you are vacationing with kids, book a room at the Basecamp Hotel which has playful rooms starting at just $125 per night. Both the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe and Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe offer outdoor firepits for s'mores. The Resort at Squaw Creek offers stunning mountain views from its restaurant. Cedar House Sport Hotel is another affordable option in Lake Tahoe. Click here for more ideas.

Explore the Town of Sonoma

[Photo:MacArthur Place]

Just 45 minutes from San Francisco, Sonoma combines country relaxation with great food, many outdoor events (especially in the summer) and excellent spas. MacArthur Place is a luxury hotel with a spa and beautiful gardens in Sonoma. The hotel's gardens feature 100 species of trees, some of which were planted more than a century ago. Stroll through the orchard which has 12 different kinds of fruit trees, and view original sculptures and fountains that decorate the gardens. No trip to Sonoma would be complete without a wine tasting and tour of at least one of the local wineries.

There are many wineries just a short drive away and some offer shuttle rides to and from the Plaza. The hotel is four blocks from Sonoma's historic plaza, home to fine restaurants and shops. The Garden Spa is the perfect complement to the gardens that surround it. For guests who are on a romantic weekend getaway or anyone who wants to indulge in a relaxing massage, the Garden Spa offers rejuvenating body treatments. After a visit to the spa, couples can relax in the outdoor whirlpool tub and lounge by the pool.

All of the 64 guest rooms, suites and cottages are individually designed. Saddles, an authentic steakhouse, is the main restaurant, located in a century-old barn on the estate. In season, the restaurant serves deserts from fruit grown in the hotel's gardens. Complimentary continental breakfast is served for guests every morning from 7am to 10am. There is a complimentary nightly wine and cheese reception in the library. The hotel is 45 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge and approximately one and a half hours from the San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento airports (707-938-2929, website).

Historic Healdsburg

[Photo:Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza]

Located on Healdsburg's historic Town Plaza, Hotel Healdsburg is home to a full service spa, pool, country gardens, and Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen. Sign up for one of the spa packages and get pampered from head to toe during your stay. The Couples Suite has a private garden and a soaking tub for two.

The historic Healdsburg Inn, built in 1901, is another great option. Downtown shops, summer concerts, galleries and restaurants are literally at your doorstep. Treat yourself to one of the signature celebration packages offered at the Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza. For $65, you receive Your choice of a bottle of wine, sparkling wine or cider, Box of chocolate truffles, breakfast in bed, a Four Sisters Inns Cookbook and a teddy bear.

This wine country getaway has 12 stylish accommodations close to tasting rooms, shops, restaurants, summer concerts and antique fairs. You'll love romantic gas fireplaces, king beds and bathrooms with spa bathtubs and separate showers. Rooms start at $350 per night. Look for seasonal specials during the colder months with rates from around $165. VacationIdea.com Tip: plan a relaxing trip with one of the specials and packages offered by the inn. "Wine Country Uncorked" starts from $165 (in off-season) and includes: Accommodations, Breakfast for two and Afternoon wine and hors d'oeuvres (800-431-8663, website).

Chic Poolside Cabanas at the Viceroy Santa Monica

 

Viceroy Santa Monica in southern California is a sophisticated getaway with contemporary atmosphere in a coastal setting. Private cabanas make lounging by the pool comfortable and relaxing. The property has 163 guest rooms and suites, many with ocean views. Guest accommodations are equipped with custom beds with down comforters, Italian Designer linens and large showers. Cast restaurant has an outdoor patio where you can enjoy sunsets and internationally-inspired cuisine.

The chic poolside cabanas can accommodate up to 10 guests for a private party. Third Street Promenade offers shopping and restaurants, and Main Street has art galleries, cafes and antique shops. The property has a fully equipped fitness center which lets you stay in shape while you travel. If you are traveling with children, visit the Santa Monica Pier which has a carousel and roller coaster. Room rates vary by season, starting at around $389 per night (310-260-7500, website).

The Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley

 

Situated in the beautiful Carmel Valley, surrounded by vineyards, Quail Lodge Resort offers its guests championship golf and stylish accommodations. There are 97 guest rooms and suites with scenic views of the valley. Play championship golf and soothe your sore muscles at the spa on your trip from San Francisco. The golf club offers the latest technology and professional instruction to help you improve your game. Choose from individual lessons, clinics and schools. The Welness Center has a fitness room and a variety of classes, such as yoga, meditation and aquatics in the pool. The Stress Management Meditation is a great way to relax and unwind. Rooms at the the Quail Lodge start at $230/night. VacationIdea.com Tip: Look for packages to save on vacation.

Strawberry Creek Inn

 

A two-hour getaway from Los Angeles, Strawberry Creek Inn Bed and Breakfast offers couples a chance to relax in a rustic setting surrounded by the San Jacinto Mountains. The inn has nine individually decorated rooms and a private cottage with a view of the creek. Some of the guest accommodations have a wood-burning fireplace and one even has a skylight over the bed. The cottage has a wood-burning fireplace, private entrance, balcony, two bedrooms and a two-person whirlpool tub, perfect for a romantic getaway. You'll be able to prepare your own meals using the full kitchen in the cottage. Delicious homemade breakfast is served in the morning, featuring organic, fair-trade-certified coffee, tea and a main dish made from fresh organic ingredients and local produce. Rooms start at $159, the cottage from $199 per night (strawberrycreekinn.com, 951-659-3202).

Cypress Hotel in Silicon Valley

 

The Cypress Hotel is a pet-friendly getaway located in the heart of Cupertino, near Silicon Valley. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, a 24-hour fitness room, and complimentary Internet access. All of the rooms feature high-speed Internet access via T1 lines and Wi_Fi, mini-bar, Aveda bath products and cable television. The pet-friendly package includes a dog bowl, biscuits, bottled water, chew toys, and a dog bed. Guests can dine at the comfortable Park Place restaurant which has views of the adjacent park and serves contemporary seafood and steak dishes. The hotel is conveniently located within the Cupertino City Center in the heart of Silicon Valley, and is near many businesses including Apple Computer, Hewlett Packard and Symantec. The hotel is an easy drive from San Jose International Airport or San Francisco Airport. Rates start at $89 per night (408-253-8900, website).

Affordable and Stylish Hotel Indigo in Santa Barbara

 

Hotel Indigo is a stylish affordable hotel with decor inspired by the art in Santa Barbara. Admire diverse paintings, sculpture and murals as you walk to your room. All the art on display in the common areas as well as in the rooms is curated by the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara. The most romantic rooms have private gardens, perfect for enjoying ocean air on your weekend trip. In the morning, head to one of the local beaches for relaxing and sunbathing.

If you like green hotels, the Indigo is a great choice since it offers a plant-filled living wall, green cleaning products and energy-saving features. The filtered water bottle refilling station makes it easy to stay hydrated. If you arrive without a car, you will receive $10 off your room rate. This is the closest hotel to the Amtrak train station, so it's easy to travel by train, bus or trolley. Explore Santa Barbara on foot or rent a bike. In the afternoon, visit the Art Library for a quiet read in one of the comfy chairs. Guest amenities include Free WIFI, Flat screen HD TVs and Hypo-allergenic bedding. Rooms at Hotel Indigo start at $205 per night.

Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach

 

Perfect for a couples' weekend getaway on the coast of California, the Deluxe Spa Rooms at the Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach feature a number of innovative amenities to help you relax on vacation. The rooms are equipped with a state-of-the-art lighting system that lets you choose from a ranbow of colors to illuminate the room - from soothing blue, vibrant red and other colors to match your mood. On your romantic getaway, take a bath in the two-person spa tub by Sanijet with color therapy, hidden behind a shoji screen. Enjoy the ocean air from your room's balcony and get a good night's sleep on the King Size Tempur-Pedic bed.

Trilogy Spa next to the hotel offers a diverse menu of pampering treatments which you can enjoy at the day spa or in the privacy of your room. Try the Soul Mates Couples Massage or the Lomi Pohaku Stone Massage inspired by the Hawaiian Lomi-Lomi. The property is just steps from the beach where you can take romantic walks along the beautiful Californian coastline. The hotel has a stylish restaurant Zinc which serves dishes prepared with fresh local ingredients, including local artisan breads, California cheeses and locally sourced produce. The rooftop Skydeck bar and pool is the place to relax in the Southern California sun. Each Monday and Saturday at 10am, guided yoga sessions are offered on the Skydeck. The hotel offers great couples' packages on its website. Rooms start at $339 per night.

Shutters on the Beach

 

Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica offers stylish accommodations, scenic ocean views and a spa. The recently renovated hotel outdoor pool features a spacious pool deck, Jacuzzi, restaurant and bar. One the Spa offers custom treatments from Ole Henriksen and SkinCeuticals. The spa was designed to complement the atmosphere of the California coast. Another unique feature of the hotel is a beautiful art collection which includes pieces by David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, William Wegman, Richard Diebenkorn and Claes Oldenburg. Rooms at the Shutters on the Beach start at $475 per night.

Hotel Les Mars in the Russian River Valley

 

Hotel Les Mars is a stylish hideaway in the scenic Russian River Valley in Sonoma. The hotel has just 16 individually decorated rooms with 17th and 18th century antiques and four-poster beds. This European-style hotel is a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux and has Swiss-trained staff. Visit the Northern California wine country and spend a weekend tasting wine, dining out, getting spa treatments in your room and relaxing by the pool. The hotel has partnered with several wineries in the area to offer its guests special benefits, including complimentary tours and tastings. Visit the 1,477 acre Chalk Hill estate made up of 60 different small vineyards.

The estate hand harvests its grapes and ferments them in small lots. Once you are done touring the wineries, have a romantic dinner at Chalkboard restaurant serving a seasonally changing menu featuring the freshest local ingredients. The restaurant has its own 3-acre garden which produces delicious vegetables for the hotel kitchen. You will be able to sample of the best local wine at Chalkboard, including ten local wine flights and wine by the glass. Couples can indulge in site-by-side massages and other treatments in the privacy of their own room or suite (707 433 4211, website).

Spindrift Inn in Monterey

 

The Spindrift Inn is a romantic hotel in Monterey and offers an ideal setting for a relaxing getaway from San Francisco. Enjoy the romantic rooms, stroll through town, or head to the nearby Aquarium. There are 42 European-style accommodations with traditional furnishings, hardwood floors, original art, a marble bath and a goose down feather bed, comforter and pillows. Rates include a continental breakfast delivered in the morning. There are many romantic restaurants in town open for lunch and dinner. The property is located within walking distance of the Aquarium, Fisherman's Wharf and downtown. The closest airport is the Monterey Peninsula Airport which is only six miles from the inn. There are direct flights from San Francisco (120 miles away), Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Click here for more trips in California (800-841-1879, website).

Hotel Valencia Santana Row in Silicon Valley

 

Hotel Valencia Santana Row is a Silicon Valley getaway with luxury accommodations and central location near shopping and dining. The hotel has an outdoor year-round swimming pool and a fitness center. Have dinner at Citrus restaurant serving steaks, seafood and vegetarian dishes. Stop for drinks at Vbar, an ultra hip lounge with a view. There are 215 guest rooms and 16 luxury suites featuring custom designed beds with 300-thread-count designer Egyptian cotton linens. Guest rooms were designed by Dodd Mitchell of Los Angeles, featuring custom made beds, elegant plantation shutters, a leather down-stuffed club chair with ottoman and a 16-foot ebony solid wood credenza. Some of the rooms have a balcony. There are 16 handicap accessible rooms available.

If you need more space on vacation, you can choose from 3 types of suites: Junior, Executive and Presidential. Junior Suites offer views of the Santana Row neighborhood and measure 650 square feet in size. Executive Suites measure 500 square feet with a separate seating area and a balcony. Room rates start at $233 per night. The hotel is located 10 minutes from the San Jose Convention Center and San Jose International Airport. The property frequently offers deals and packages such as savings on stays of two nights or longer, 3rd night free offer, romantic weekend package, girlfriends' getaway, shopping special and more. Rates are generally lower on weekends so if you've always wanted to explore Silicon Valley, here is your chance to save with a good deal. The Wine Weekend package starts at $269 and includes wine & cheese, picnic lunch and discounts at local wineries. Girlfriends' getaway package starts at $239 per night, double occupancy, and includes tote bags, coupons for a free drink and breakfast (408-551-0010, website).

Platinum Hotel Las Vegas

 

Platinum Hotel and Spa is an all-suite non-gaming hotel located a block and a half from the Las Vegas Strip. Enjoy the generously-sized suites measuring 950 to 2,200 square feet in size, Well Spa and a sophisticated pool deck on your weekend trip. Choose from 255 one- and two-bedroom suites with gourmet kitchens, whirlpool tubs, plasma screen TVs and wireless Internet. Well Spa offers a menu of unique body treatments, facials, and aromatherapies, including massages, manicures and pedicures, and couples' treatments. Take a relaxing yoga class on the pool deck. The class is complimentary for hotel guests. More spas.

If you need help with show tickets, transportation from the airport, dining reservations and other services, contact the concierge desk before you go. Plan a trip to the famous Red Rock Canyon and take the 13-mile scenic drive through colorful cliffs, or explore the park on foot. There are designated mountain bike trails, horse-back riding as well as guided hikes lead by park experts. Dining is offered at Kilowat Restaurant, Stir Lounge and in-suite. Suites start at $129 per night (877-211-9211, website).

Le Meridien Delfina

 

Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica is a stylish hotel, offering guests an outdoor pool with cabanas and stylish accommodations. The property offers rooms with scenic ocean views, as well as suites with marble bathrooms and outdoor Jacuzzis. Club level guests receive free access to the fitness center, free breakfast, drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Poolside cabanas can be booked for a full day of relaxation in the Californian sun. Two dining options include the Lobby Lounge which is casual and serves light fare throughout the day. I-Cafe & Surf Bar serves Californian cuisine. Rates start at $245 per night (310 399 9344, website).

Las Palmas Resort in Palm Springs

 

Las Palmas Resort is a relaxing family-friendly getaway in Palm Springs, California. There is a 425-foot Lazy River, luxurious spa and four dining venues. For the active-minded traveler, the hotel offers state-of-the-art tennis courts and 27 holes of scenic desert golf. Choose from 444 Spanish Colonial-inspired style guest rooms and 22 suites with French doors leading out on the private patio or balcony. Take advantage of Splashtopia, a new water feature encompassing almost two acres, including two 100 foot long water slides and a sandy beach. There are also water-play zones with fountains and sprinklers, a waterfall, mountains, a mountainside Jacuzzi and a large swimming pool. Rates start at $450 per night (760-568-2727, website).

Spanish Garden Inn in Santa Barbara

 

The Inn of the Spanish Garden is steps from the historic 1782 Presidio District of downtown Santa Barbara, close to fine dining, shopping, museums, art galleries and theaters. The inn features Spanish-Mediterranean inspired design, landscaped courtyards, fountains and gardens. Guests can work our in the fitness center and swim in the pool. You will receive complimentary continental breakfast and covered parking. All of the 23 guest rooms and suites have a gas fireplace, deep water soaking tubs, and either a private balcony or garden patio. The property is 90 miles up the coast from Los Angeles and 335 miles south of San Francisco. The hotel is easily accessible via car on coastal U.S. Highway 101, by train, or by commercial jet and private aircraft at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (805-564-4700, website).

Mojave Resort in Palm Desert

 

Mojave Resort is an affordable getaway in the Palm Desert. The property has a courtyard with palm trees, a pool and an outdoor spa treatment cabana. You'll have access to activities offered in the Palm Springs area, including championship golf, shopping and restaurants. The property offers golf packages that include two rounds of golf at the Desert Willow Golf Resort. There are 24 guest rooms, some with kitchenettes and fireplaces. All rooms have television/VCR, mini-bar, CD players, and private patios. The accommodations are non-smoking. There are many excellent restaurants in the area. If you like to prepare your own meals, book one of the rooms with a kitchenette (866-8HOTEL8, website.

Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park

 

The new spa menu at Rosewood Sand Hill includes treatments for young guests, making it the perfect mother-daughter getaway. Fans of oxygen therapy can sign up for an oxygen-infused treatment. The new menu also includes organically-inspired treatments, private yoga and Pilates sessions. Alex Chases Salon, run by the internationally renowned hairstylist Alex Chases, moved to a larger space and added Tata Harper's 100% natural and non-toxic luxury skincare line. The luxury property is located on 16 acres in Menlo Park.

The resort has a fitness center with a motion studio, heated outdoor pool & hot tub, and beautiful gardens. Guests have access to 13 luxurious treatment rooms and an array of treatments. The property has 123 luxury guestrooms and suites, furnished with original art, marble baths and state-of-the-art technology. All accommodations have private balconies or terraces with views of the courtyard gardens and/or the Santa Cruz Mountains surrounding Menlo Park. Rooms start at $235 per night (650 561 1500, website).

More Weekend Trips from San Francisco

San Francisco's location puts the city at the heart of some of the most incredible scenery in the United States. Within a few hour's drive, you will find incredible attractions, fantastic coastal scenery and some of the top wineries in the world. We already wrote about planning a trip to The Mendocino Coast, Monterey & Carmel, Napa, Sonoma, Lake Tahoe and other destination. Below is a list of other amazing destinations that are just a short drive or train ride from the city.

Sausalito

Explore the shops and galleries of Sausalito while enjoying views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Check into Cavallo Point which offers several specials for couples and families. The Muir Woods is home to hundreds of acres of redwoods, some of which are 1,000 years old.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a must-see for nature lovers, attracting couples and families alike. See the famous Yosemite Falls which are made up of three separate falls, and the 3,000-foot granite face of El Capitan. Ansel Adams Gallery displays the famous photographer's amazing photos of the park. Evergreen Lodge is a beautiful place to stay right in the park where you can unwind surrounded by trees and the songs of birds.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is a great destination for surfing, old carnival rides and vintage shopping. Relax and enjoy the view from Seabright State Beach. Stay at Chaminade Resort & Spa, a AAA 4-Diamond mission style resort in the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking the Monterey Bay (chaminade.com). The resort features contemporary Spanish furnishings and is close to golf courses, the beach and downtown Santa Cruz. Visit some of the area wineries such as the Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard which makes European-style wines or Testarossa Vineyard in downtown Los Gatos. Sample local wine paired with cheeses and other delicious eats.

Golden Gate Bridge Views

Check into one of the elegant rooms at Cavallo Point and enjoy scenic views of the Golden Gate Bridge on your family getaway. Resort amenities include shuttle service to San Francisco and Sausalito, access for parents to Healing Arts Center & Spa and outdoor meditation pool, morning yoga class and valet parking. The lodge is offering several great packages for families.

Sacramento

If you don't have a car, go on a one-and-a-half hour-train trip to Sacramento where you can go shopping, sample delicious cuisine at local restaurants and visit the California State Railroad Museum. Take the kids to Gunther's Quality Ice Cream and Vic's Ice Cream. The Westin Sacramento has rooms with scenic river views.