Things to Do Beyond San Francisco in the Spring
Each month we offer a few seasonal suggestions for things to do in San Francisco. This month, we are going a bit further and planting some ideas for the perfect spring break – whether you prefer to stay indoors or take a walk in the woods.
East of San Francisco
Just over the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Oakland is easily reached by BART and we highly recommend that you use public transit after you’ve explored the new Oakland Ale Trail. Developed by Visit Oakland in collaboration with local brewers, the trail includes nine tasting rooms. Collect a stamp at each of the participating breweries (you don’t have to do them all one day!) and redeem your completed passport at the Oakland Visitor Center at Jack London Square for an official Ale Trail growler. More of a wine drinker? Then check out the Oakland Urban Wine Trail.
Just two-and-a-half hours east of San Francisco, Tuolumne County is in the heart of the Gold Country and is the Bay Area’s “front door” to Yosemite National Park. April 1, 2017 is opening weekend for Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. Wildflower Trains, running April 8-9 and April 15, 2017, feature naturalists and local rangers who will help passengers learn more about the wildflowers of the Sierra Nevada foothills. All aboard!
North of San Francisco
Don’t let a little rain dampen your plans to visit Napa Valley. The Napa Valley Wine Train route goes straight through the middle of the valley and 16 appellations, from downtown Napa to St. Helena, a three-hour round-trip. During early spring, the vineyards are filled with brilliant yellow mustard, and the fruit trees are in bloom.
Speaking of trains, the Skunk Train has been rolling through Mendocino County for 129 years. Depart from either Fort Bragg or Willits for a ride through 40 miles of majestic redwood forests, meadows and more than 30 trestles bridging the pristine mountain waters of Northern California.
Drawn to the natural beauty of Sonoma County, author/adventurer Jack London lived in Glen Ellen from 1905-1916. Today, his former home site is part of Jack London State Historic Park. Visitors will discover lush forests, breathtaking views and miles of trails. Tour the cottage where London and his wife lived and browse through the House of Happy Walls Museum, where mementos of his travels and a set of first-edition books are displayed.
South of San Francisco
Still looking to commune with nature? Head south to Monterey County. There's no better way to enjoy the beautiful scenery in Monterey, Carmel, Salinas, the Carmel and Salinas Valleys or anywhere else in Monterey County than by hiking through it. There are hikes in Monterey County for every level of hiker, from the novice in sneakers to the extreme hiker with the latest high-tech gear.
Trains seem to be the preferred transit option for seeing Northern California this season. Santa Cruz offers Roaring Camp Railroad. Travel on authentic 19th century steam trails through redwood forests to the summit of Bear Mountain or opt for 1900 Pullman cars and open-air excursion cars along a scenic river gorge through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park to the beach at Santa Cruz.