California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 92

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP

48

San Francisco Bay Loop
This loop drive takes in the best of the Bay Area, a diverse,
dynamic, and beautiful region with lively cities, celebrated wine
country, and outstanding natural wonders

reservations are now required.) Follow raised boardwalks to see the
arrow-straight redwoods soaring 250 feet overhead. Check the park's
activities calendar to go on a guided walk at dusk.
From Muir Woods, take the winding Highway 1 north, past broad
Stinson Beach, sparkling Bolinas Lagoon, and the coastal forests of
Point Reyes National Seashore. Skirting the edge of Tomales Bay, the
town of Marshall offers a tasty excuse for a pit stop: a lunch of briny
bivalves at Hog Island Oyster Co. Stay north on Highway 1 to Bodega
Bay, a fishing village with even more options for fresh seafood.
Turning east, leave the coast to explore the finest wine country in
the world. There are hundreds of tasting rooms in Napa Valley and
Sonoma County, in settings ranging from castles to renovated barns.
Check out the Carneros region, a charming appellation straddling
Napa and Sonoma Valleys and producer of some of the region's best
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines. (Bubbly fans shouldn't
miss Domaine Carneros and Gloria Ferrer.)
From wine country, continue south around the eastern side of San
Francisco Bay to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo. Even before
you park your car, you'll see the loop-de-loops and white-knuckle
descents of the park's trademark coasters. Get your fill of adrenaline,
then retreat to the calming Butterfly Habitat or see African lions.
Drive south from Vallejo into the hilly East Bay, stopping in Berkeley, the funky university town with flower-power heritage. Today,
Berkeley boasts a booming food scene; make a reservation for lunch
at The Café at Chez Panisse (more casual than the downstairs restaurant, which is only open for dinner), the legendary eatery created
by farm-to-table pioneer Alice Waters. Cruise the eclectic shops on
Fourth Street and University Avenue, then head for the hills-Tilden
Park, specifically-for a serene stroll along leafy trails.
HOG I S L A N D OYST E R CO.

From Berkeley, it's a quick freeway cruise to bordering Oakland.
Diverse, dynamic, artsy, edgy-Oakland has seen an influx of young
people, and with them, new coffee bars, cafés, galleries, and clubs.
The East Bay has also lured chefs to open restaurants here, ranging in

an arc spanning across the mouth of San Francisco Bay, the iconic

style from splashy Art Deco (Flora) to hipster chic (Plum). Work up

Golden Gate Bridge makes for a dramatic starting point for our trek.

an appetite with a paddle around Oakland Estuary or a stroll through

Crossing the bridge, soak up the expansive bay views, marked by

Jack London Square, a bayfront complex of shops and restaurants.

sailboats skimming across the water and, to your right, the storied

From Oakland, follow the edge of the bay to California's third

Alcatraz Island. The bridge drops you into Marin County, known for

largest city, San Jose. The center of the booming, tech-centric Silicon

desirable towns tucked into lush canyons and dotting the rugged

Valley, San Jose is packed with worthy destinations, from the light

coastal hills. The county is also notable for extensive parkland,

and airy San Jose Museum of Art, to the modern SAP Center, home to

including Muir Woods National Monument, which protects the last

the San Jose Sharks. From there, head north on the 101 back to San

stand of old-growth coastal redwoods in the Bay Area. (Note: Parking

Francisco, where you can explore by foot, bike, or clanging cable car.

1-2
days

S TA R T San Francisco
F I N I S H San Francisco

M O S T P E AC E F U L S TO P Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County

92
VISITCALIFORNIA.COM

259
miles

I N S I D E T I P Riding
bikes across the Golden Gate
Bridge is a fun option-rental
companies abound; most bikes
come equipped with detailed
route maps showing you where
to ride from San Francisco.

PHOTOGRAPH: JILL RICHARDS

W I T H TOW E R S S OA R I N G 74 6 F E E T I N TO T H E S KY, and


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California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

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California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover2
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Contents
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