San Francisco is a beauty, but it’s both relaxing and energizing to leave the city every now and then. Here are my all time favorite out of town destinations that are perfect for visitors of San Francisco looking for a good time around the city, and are wonderful destinations for the city’s residents simply looking for a day long excursion.
1) Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: Nothing like riding a roller coaster by the sea. It’s been called “The Best Seaside Amusement Park” by Amusement Today. Admission is for free, but not the rides. Street parking is a bit tricky because there aren’t a lot of spaces and it’s metered. It’s better just to park in a lot and pay a fee. To avoid the traffic it’s best to get an early start and leave by night.
2) Audi Sportscar Experience: Take an hour drive to Sonoma, and experience pure fun. You get an awesome driving course then you get to drive some even more awesome Audis on race tracks. This is for all car lovers, but even if you aren’t one you’ll be surprised by how much fun you will have. The Audi Experience is FREE.
3) Tour of SLAC- Stanford Linear Accelerator Center: You have to reserve a spot in the tour beforehand so this isn’t a trip for the spontaneous. It’s very educational and pretty cool. You’ll learn about particles and atoms in the 1.5 hour tour and get to see the 2 Mile long accelerator. The tour is usually given by graduate students. Parking isn’t great so I suggest taking the bus.
4) Castle Park State Park: Located in Santa Cruz, the park offers relaxing hiking trails surrounded by beautiful scenery. Be sure to see the water fall, and if you’re interested in rock climbing Castle Park is great. A great day excursion for those looking for an escape from the noisy city. Dogs aren’t allowed and due to the high fire hazard smoking is not permitted.
5) The Jelly Belly Factory Tour: The factory is in Fairfield and is great for all candy lovers. Other than getting to watch the very complex way the Jelly Beans are made you get to enjoy the flavorful jelly beans. The tour is 45 minutes long but you’ll probably spend around an hour and a half there. The tour is given all days of the week but to see the cool stuff try making it on the weekdays. The tour is Free and you get a free bag of Jelly Beans at the end of the tour.