Bay Area Popular Weekend Getaways for Every Season

June 23, 2016 / San Francisco

The Bay Area may boast year-round, near-perfect weather but a change of pace never hurts. While there aren’t traditionally defined seasons like New York, you can still plan your trips accordingly. In fact, many towns in and around Silicon Valley and the Bay Area do experience temperature changes once you break through the fog. From charming coastal beach towns to hidden wine caves, here are four ultimate weekend getaways for every season:

Spring Forward in Point Reyes

Spring fever hits Northern California hard. Wildflowers aplenty, this is the season to see the countryside in full bloom, allergies be damned. Exploring all of Point Reyes National Seashore in a single day is quite a feat, so don’t even try. Home to an elk preserve, coastal highlands, and rolling hills, this is not a trip you want to rush through. Wildflowers begin popping up in February and can stick around until August. They’re pretty much everywhere this time of year, but Abbotts Lagoon and Tomales Point are two of the best views. It’s a 90-minute drive from the city, making it an easy weekend getaway.

Celebrate the Summer in Carmel

There’s no wrong time to visit this beloved beach city, but summer is arguably the best season for doing so. The European-style center is a foodie’s dream destination, with local restaurants serving farm-to-table fare and world-class fine wines. Art connoisseurs will find it equally alluring, with a collection of antique shops and art galleries at one’s disposal. Nicknamed “Carmel-by-the-Sea,” the beach’s white sand and hovering Cypress trees makes it a perfect afternoon picnic spot. On a good day, Carmel is a two-hour drive from downtown but once you’re there, getting around is easy, whether on foot or via Uber.

Fall in Love with Wine Country

Come autumn, it’s harvest season in Napa and Sonoma Valley. With more than 600 wineries combined, the possibilities are truly endless. Whether craving a rich red or in the mood for some bubbly, there’s something for every taste and temperament. That said, harvest means high season, so plan ahead of time to beat the crowds. St. Helena is particularly scenic, with its quaint downtown and top-tier vineyards. Up for an adventure? Visit the Calistoga Ranch Wine Cave or Vine Cliff Winery.

Get Your Winter-Wonderland Fix

If there’s ever a season for testing your limits, winter is it. Skiers and snowboarders should head straight to Lake Tahoe for the best slopes. Despite only being a 3.5-4 hour drive from the city, Tahoe easily feels worlds apart, but it also has a split personality. The South Shore is the party spot, while the North Shore is far quieter and more nature-focused. Can’t choose between high-energy and low-key vibes? Luckily, you don’t have to anymore. This past December, uberX came to town, with rides from Alpine to Tahoe City starting at $29.

Photo credit: Rasmus Zwickson