The Best Weekend Escapes from San Francisco |

The Best Weekend Escapes from San Francisco

Between the Michelin-starred restaurants, iconic architecture and historic sites such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, there is no shortage of things to do in San Francisco. This city is a hub for innovation and diversity, and its unique location right on the bay makes it just as beautiful as it is busy. However, getting out of the city for a weekend allows you to take a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Luckily, San Francisco is surrounded by a plethora of getaway-worthy escapes.

From wine tasting in rolling vineyards to indulging in creamy clam chowder on Tomales Bay, some of California’s most amazing small towns and cities are a mere two hours away from San Francisco. In addition to diverse landscapes, several destinations also boast acclaimed eateries, unique shopping scenes and luxury hotels that you can call home during your trip. Whether you’re seeking a coastal retreat in Big Sur, an adventurous stay in Lake Tahoe or a wine-filled weekend in Healdsburg, the possibilities are endless. Get ready to plan your next road trip with our guide to the best weekend escapes from San Francisco. 

Brian FerryWest Marin.

West Marin

1.5-hour drive

Enjoy Tomales Bay views, small-town charm and the freshest seafood when visiting West Marin. Places like Point Reyes and Marshall make West Marin a go-to spot for city locals who need a breath of fresh air, and it is without a doubt one of the most picturesque parts of NorCal. Start your day with a cheese tasting at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. before heading over to Heidrun Meadery to sip Champagne-style mead. Tony’s Seafood Restaurant is the ultimate place for clam chowder and BBQ’d oysters, but nothing beats a sunset dinner with fresh oysters and cod dip at Nick’s Cove. You’ll also want to check out the legendary Hog Island Oyster Co. while in town. 

Where to Stay:

Accommodations are extremely limited in West Marin, but the Lodge at Marconi has completely changed the game by providing 45 retro, cabin-like guest rooms for visitors. The hotel sits in the heart of Marconi State Historic Park, giving guests premium access to hiking trails and picnic areas where you can admire Tomales Bay from up high. Though there is an adorable market in the lobby where you can purchase high-end snacks and bottles of wine, the Lodge at Marconi is set to open an on-site restaurant in June 2024. 

EdgewoodLake Tahoe’s Edgewood Tahoe resort.

Lake Tahoe

3.5-hour drive

Lake Tahoe is a year-round destination that is home to some of California’s most pristine scenery. The crystal-clear lake is surrounded by enchanting pines, which get dusted with a white blanket of snow during the winter. Whether you’re into skiing and snowboarding or hiking and paddle boarding, Lake Tahoe caters to a variety of outdoorsy adventures. There are also several breweries and lake-front restaurants where you can quench your thirst, including South Lake Brewing Company and Jimmy’s at The Landing Resort and Spa.

Where to Stay:

Located in Truckee, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is one of the nicest accommodations in the California side of Lake Tahoe. Open year-round, this sprawling resort is surrounded by picturesque pine trees on the side of a mountain. Edgewood Tahoe Resort is another high-end property, but just across the border near South Lake Tahoe, and the waterfront views are magical. 

Montage HealdsburgMontage Healdsburg.


1.5-hour drive

Healdsburg is the ultimate destination for weekend wine tasting near San Francisco. Despite its small-town charm and low-key vibe, Healdsburg is crawling with Michelin-recognized restaurants. From three-star SingleThread to one-star Barndiva, eating well is easy in this charming slice of wine country. If you’re exploring the main town square, you can also walk from tasting room to tasting room; highlights include The Society: HealdsburgSiduri Wine Bar and Tasting Lounge and Selby Winery

Where to Stay:

Those hoping to stay in the heart of downtown Healdsburg should consider booking one of the 16 intimate guest rooms at Hotel Les Mars. The French-inspired property is reminiscent of an Old World chateau, and the convenient location makes walking to each tasting room and restaurant a breeze. For a more traditional luxury resort experience, nothing beats the rolling vineyards and bungalow-style accommodations at Montage Healdsburg

La Playa HotelCarmel by the Sea’s La Playa Hotel.


2-hour drive

Carmel-by-the-Sea offers a European-esque escape that is a mere two hours from San Francisco. This unique beach town is home to cozy cottage-like buildings and storybook streets that make you feel as though you’re strolling around a real-life fairytale. Enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting before sitting down for dinner at one of the 60-plus restaurants. French food definitely reigns supreme in Carmel-by-the-Sea, with standouts such as La Bicyclette RestaurantL’Escargot and Pâtisserie Boissiere.

Where to Stay:

Also known as the “Pearl of Carmel,” La Playa Hotel has been a luxe staple of the area since 1905. The former private mansion boasts 75 recently renovated rooms, with lush gardens surrounding the grandiose building. With the beach only steps away, this is the perfect hotel for travelers seeking bespoke luxury across the board. For a more intimate and boutique experience, book a room at the new Villa Mara Carmel, which features 16 residential-style, adult-only rooms. 

Alila VentanaAlila Ventana Big Sur.

Big Sur

3-hour drive

Big Sur is one of the best road trip destinations in the world, let alone Northern California. The dramatic and windy cliffside roads make for some of the most jaw-dropping photo opportunities all along the coast, but some can’t-miss sights include Bixby Creek Bridge and McWay Falls. Since Big Sur looks like an actual screen saver, you’ll want to spend most of your time outdoors exploring, but once you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy sweeping Pacific views at Coast Big Sur or river-side dining at the Restaurant at Big Sur River Inn

Where to Stay:

Situated on 160 acres of awe-inspiring land, Alila Ventana Big Sur offers guests the best of both worlds with ocean and forest views. The all-inclusive experience allows you to make the most of your weekend escape with nourishing meals and a plethora of wellness activities like meditation, foraging and bike tours. Post Ranch Inn is another luxury property that sits atop a striking hill in Big Sur. With only 40 rooms, visitors are treated to exclusive accommodations along with complimentary breakfast and activities such as yoga and guided nature walks.  

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