California has besides the great weather a lot of to offer. Not only the well-known National Parks are worth the visit, also a one day or half day road trip from the Bay Area shows the beauty of this state. Even that San Francisco and the Bay Area are busy places with a lot of people, just driving outside of these areas for 30 minutes brings you in the middle of great woods and amazing beaches. Find here some tips for a short road trip.
The flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco is going over Greenland and Canada. With good weather conditions it is possible to see the ice capped mountains, glaciers and the endless snow and ice over Greenland and Canada. With that in mind choose a seat at the window.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
The Big Basin Park is a state park and is located 36 km northwest of Santa Cruz. It was established in 1902 and contains over 130 km of trails. For the park, there is no preservation necessary. Parking ($10) can be paid at the side directly. As for the most sides in California at the weekend, it is wise to visit early in order to have the trails for yourself.
Santa Cruz is a small city on the central California’s coast. Its mostly popular for its long wharf which stretches into Monterrey Bay. At the wharf many seals can be found who are lying at the wooden construction and make a lot of noise while fighting for the best sun bathing spot. It is worthwhile to have lunch at the wharf or beach boardwalk with the view at the Santa Cruz beach. Notice: Parking in Santa Cruz cost $15.
The best way from Santa Cruz to the Half Moon Bay is to drive on the amazing California State Route 1 near the ocean. There are endless beaches to stop at and have a walk at the beach. Many have to be paid but there are also stops that are for free.
Golden Gate Bridge
When being in San Francisco, there is no way around this iconic symbol of the city. The Golden Gate Bridge is a 1.6 km long bridge connecting the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. There are many ways to see the bridge, either way on the south side of San Francisco or on the north side in the Golden Gate National Area. The photo was taken at the Marin Headlands at 6:30 am. Notice: When crossing the bridge from north to south, towards San Francisco, toll had to be paid. This can be prepaid online with the license plate number ($8).
Muir Beach Lookout
The Muir beach can be found just outside of San Francisco after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. It provides a couple of nice Lookout points over the region. With visiting in May there is a good chance of seeing colorful flowers growing everywhere on the hiking paths and near the beach.
Muir Woods National Monument
The Muir Woods National Monument is only a 10 minutes drive away from the Muir Beach. It is part of the California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area and known for its old-growth redwood trees. The park was named after the author John Muir, as it was the founders most liked author. Several trails are connected through the park, the shorter trails are running through Cathedral Grove and Bohemian Grove, and along Redwood Creek. The longer hikes like Ben Johnson and Dipsea trails climb a hillside for views of the treetops. Notice: Car parking needs to be precooked with a 30 minutes window of arriving time. It is also possible to book a shuttle bus from San Francisco. Park entry can be paid in the park itself.