Over this past summer, many Bay Area, California residents packed their bags, made arrangements for someone to feed the cat, water the plants, pick up the newspaper, and stopped on the mail. Waking at the crack of dawn, they waited for hours at the airport, suffered delays, got stuffed into 15 inch seats for hours and hours, and tossed a bag of peanuts for lunch…all so they could take a vacation.
“Getting away” is what a vacation is to most people. The problem with “getting away” is it often leaves us tired, and broke. We have all heard someone say, “I need a vacation from my vacation.”
Next year, rather than planning some elaborate get-away that includes airfare, why not pack up the car and become a tourist in your own backyard? Whether you seek romance, a family-friendly vacation, or simply a two-day romp with a friend, there is no need to haul heavy luggage through x-ray machines, barefoot and cranky. Keep your keys and loose change in your pocket and simply hit the road. Each of these Bay Area cities makes a great “get-away”. From a romantic get away weekend, to a fun few days in the city with a friend.
The Bay Area is filled with activities and things to do that people from all over the world come to see, especially along our coastline. We are fortunate to live in such an area. Starting with the world-famous village of Carmel. For a romantic vacation for two, Carmel-by-the-sea offers delightful ambiance for any amorous retreat.
The streets are lined with shopping that rivals Rodeo Drive in Southern California. At every turn there is a world-class art gallery or home décor boutique to delight even the casual window shopper. For dining, you will find fresh, locally grown organic food from nearby delis perfect for a romantic beachside picnic.
For Bay Area luxury, dress up for an evening of elegant dining at one of the local restaurants offering international cuisine. Lodging here is similar to a quirky European village as local Inns are tucked into tree-lined streets with parking often built to accommodate large ancient Oaks. Each innkeeper will make your trip special by adding baskets of fruit, cheese, wine, and chocolates waiting for you when you arrive…all it takes is a phone call. One other sensual experience to add to your get-away: add in a couples hot oil massage at one of the many local Carmel spas.
For a more family friendly vacation, there are two excellent options: Monterey and Santa Cruz. In Monterey, there is nothing more exciting than a day with the kids exploring the wonderful treasures of the sea at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. For an extra fun treat, walk just across the street and take the gang to enjoy an all American burger and fries, big enough to satisfy even dad’s appetite. After a day at the aquarium, go to one of the Bay Area rentals and pile the whole family into a surrey bike for a fun journey down the many bike paths along Cannery Row, and out to the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
Santa Cruz in the summer is exciting for children and adults. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk has everything a child could want, from roller coasters, to laser tag. A genuine steam engine train runs each day taking visitors from the coast to the Redwoods and back.
If you prefer something a little more ocean oriented, you can take a Bay Area cruise, or during most of the year, whale watching tours. When the day is over, a walk on the Santa Cruz Wharf is in order. Finish the day with a hot, steaming espresso, or decadent chocolate ice cream from local vendors while watching fishermen haul in their catch.
For a fun and exciting adventure for friends, trekking around San Francisco makes a great get-away. Stay in a downtown Bay Area motel for a chance to absorb the nightlife of restaurants, clubs, and shopping. For the daytime, there are many options. For the artistically inclined, San Francisco is a buffet of cultural experiences.
The DeYoung museum in Golden Gate Park has traveling art shows that offer prestigious showings of famous artists from every medium and century. For modern art, The Museum of Modern Art, or MOMA, in the hart of downtown is the place to go. For traditional masters, the Legion of Honor will take you back into the days when kings and queens commissioned paintings for family portraits.
If you want to play tourist, take a boat ride out to Alcatraz, and walk the cell corridors of infamous criminals, listening to eerie recordings of their stories. Take an extended harbor cruise, visit a creepy wax-museum, ride a cable car, drive down Lombard Street, or entertain yourself at the Musee Mechanique on Fisherman’s Wharf where you can put in a quarter and watch 1900s marionettes sing and dance. To finish your day, no one can leave San Francisco without a bowl of clam chowder and a fresh baguette from Boudin Bakery. Don’t forget to take lots of photos!
Three vacations, all in your Bay Area backyard–go for the day, go for the weekend, or extend your stay without ever having to wait for hours in line at the airport lost luggage counter, wondering if your bags had a better vacation than you.
Personal tour 2010 San Francisco Coastal Bay Area