Of course, San Francisco is an amazing destination all on its own — for the food alone! — but one of the city’s greatest assets is its proximity (and ease of getting to) tons of incredible Northern California experiences. From world-class wine country to epic Redwood forests to beautiful beaches, we’ve rounded up the best ways to double — or even triple — your pleasure with a long weekend using Exclusive Resorts’ residences at the Fairmont Heritage Ghirardelli Square as your home base. The best part? Everything is a hop and skip away, no more than two hours by car.
Coastal Point Reyes and Tomales Bay
Distance from San Francisco: 1 hr 15 min
Best for: Foodies and Outdoor Enthusiasts
Tomales Bay is the quintessential paradise that coastal dreams are made of. It has it all: craggy promontories, picturesque marinas dotted with bobbing buoys and sailing boats, and salty oyster joints where you can slurp fresh bivalves and sip on rosé right at water’s edge. Go for a hike along Point Reyes National Seashore, and you might run into a few friendly elephant seals at Chimney Rock. From there, you can descend the stairs to Point Reyes Lighthouse. On the water, there’s kayaking and paddle boarding, after which you’re bound to be hungry after all that activity. Wind your way over to Shoreline Hwy to queue up (or reserve a table with your concierge) at one of the many famous shuck-your-own seafood spots — the best of which are Hog Island Oyster Co. and The Marshall Store. Don’t forget to bring your marine layers for the evening chill!
Mill Valley/Stinson Beach
Distance from San Francisco: 30 minutes
Best for: Adventurers and Beach Bums
Prepare to be captivated by NorCal’s magnificent Redwoods with a hike on the famous Dipsea Trail. A feat for adventurers of all skill levels, the trail connects the awe-inspiring Muir Woods all the way to the white sands of Stinson Beach. Tackle as much of the route as you like — making sure to stop and pose on top of, and even inside of, some of the area’s largest and oldest trees. End at Stinson Beach, strip down to bathing suits, and wade into the Pacific; then dig into a late lunch with the local surfers at the Parkside Café. Not an outdoorsy type? Even non-hikers can take in the beauty of the scenery with a drive along Highway 1, filled with hairpin turns and switchbacks teetering above Bolinas Bay.
Distance from San Francisco: 1 hr 15 min
Best for: Oenophiles and Foodies
Sure, you can spend an entire weekend — or longer — wine-tasting your way through Napa and the surrounding valleys, but sometimes a day trip is just enough to quench your thirst for superb Cabs and stunning scenery. Exclusive Resorts Members are in the best of hands, thanks to VIP Benefit Partners at top wineries like Flowers, Quintessa, Cakebread Cellars, and Faust. Relative newcomer Bricoleur is another VIP partner, offering wine tastings paired with estate-to-plate dishes served among the vines. And don’t miss Phifer Pavitt, whose private tasting room is open to Exclusive Resorts Members for appointments. Of course, Napa isn’t just about wine: In downtown, you can stroll or cycle along the river—and even take a gondola ride on it. And foodies should come prepared to eat well, thanks to world-famous restaurants like French Laundry, La Toque, and Kenzo Napa. To learn how to take advantage of all of Exclusive Resorts’ VIP Partner Benefits in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, click here.
Distance from San Francisco: 2 hours
Best for: Couples and Families
Ah, the Monterey Peninsula. The postcard-perfect destination is brimming with bountiful valley, sandy coves, and rugged cliffs, all stretching dramatically into the crystalline Pacific. It’s an undoubtedly striking part of the Central Coast of California — and it’s home to a variety of experiences and vibes in its two main towns of Carmel-by-the-Sea and Monterey. The former feels almost European with its cypress trees and Spanish-style missions, while the latter has a more laidback vibe. Together they offer something for everyone: Top-notch golfing at Pebble Beach Links course, thermal springs and soothing spa treatments at Refuge, and plenty of shopping and dining to satisfy all. Families also have their pick of entertaining and educational activities, from visits to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to a thrilling whale-watching tour in the Monterey Submarine Canyon.
Distance from San Francisco: 30 min
Best for: Laidback Culture Lovers
The ultimate quickie getaway from San Francisco, Sausalito is just a skip over the Golden Gate Bridge — or better yet, a scenic ferry ride across the Bay. Despite its proximity to the city, however, Sausalito has a vibe all of its own, with free-spirited locals living in quirky houseboats and bohemian boutiques brimming with art and design. Wander the main street, Bridgeway, to pop in and out of funky art galleries, old-timey candy shops, and cozy cafes. Then head onward to Caledonia, where you’ll find more locals doing charming local things: shopping at Sausalito Gourmet Delicatessen and Katya Glass; dining at Sushi Ran and Sandrino; and gathering for a glass of wine and live music at Osteria Divino.