San Francisco serves as a jumping point to explore so many of the gems around Northern California — and elsewhere in the state.
The height of the pandemic forever shape-shifted our relationship with travel. What was once a means of relaxation became a source of anxiety, fear, and confusion for so many; air travel grew into a task that required flyers to roll the dice in regards to breathing in possibly infectious respiratory droplets inside an aluminum cylinder for hours.
What emerged during that time was a newfound appreciation for road-tripping — becoming, bar none, the safest means of travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Moreover, it showed us again how communing with Mother Nature while on the road still stands as one of the most centering, serotonin-rich things we can do while getting out of Dodge.
So… we’ve rounded up some road trip journeys you could (somewhat) take on a whim and let your shoulders drop once you reach any of these destinations.
San Francisco to Calistoga (75 miles)
No quick roundup of go-to California road trips would be complete without a nod to wine country — and setting your GPS to Calistoga will afford you views of sweeping vineyards and 13th-century-style castles built using medieval methods and antique bricks.
San Francisco to Pacific Grove (114 miles)
The unsung sister of Santa Cruz, Pacific Grove is a somewhat sleepy coastal town brimming with great hiking trails and outdoor dining areas right next to the shoreline.
San Francisco to Oz Farm (139 miles)
An organic farm and learning center nestled in Mendocino, the journey to Oz Farm’s apple orchards and river floating opportunity are filled with gorgeous panoramas, lush greenery, and breathtaking wildlife-watching opportunities.
San Francisco to ‘The Glass Beach’ (165 miles)
Fort Bragg’s Glass Beach — which is literally made up of strayed, rounded pieces of glass that wash up ashore — is a bucket list item to check off before you die… or leave the state for Hawaii.
San Francisco to Sequoia National Park (272 miles)
Get lost in a sea of redwoods — without worrying about someone bursting your socially distant bubble.
San Francisco to Shasta-Trinity National Forest (294 miles)
Get your wild on and take the pod out to visit California’s largest national forest; many of the trailheads in the park make up the northern stretch of the famous Pacific Crest Hiking Trail.
San Francisco to Arcata (479 miles)
One of the state’s most beloved small towns, one that numbers fewer than 19,000 residents, Arcata has among the best hikes in California that weave through Pacific temperate rainforests; Arcata’s Finnish vibes have also lent themselves to great local saunas and coffee shops.
Feature image: Courtesy of Flickr via Sheila Sund