3 Must-See Attractions Outside of San Francisco

Posted on Posted in Destinations, Out of the Country, Uncategorized

We have all seen the major tourist attractions of popular travel destinations. While these are great to finally witness first-hand, sometimes the best experiences we have while traveling are down the roads less traveled. Planning a trip to San Francisco doesn’t have to end at the city limits. Venturing beyond the high-profile touristy destinations can be a real breath of fresh air. Whether you’ve traveled abroad or are actively seeking out adventure, we’ve rounded up three unique must-see attractions outside of San Francisco to bring out the explorer in you.

The Historic District of Downtown Mariposa

Travel time: About 3.5 hours

Spend a day away from the busy, contemporary life and travel back in time. The Historic District of Mariposa has established guidelines that allow the town to maintain its historic identity. On the museum grounds, you can experience gold panning and visit an operating blacksmith shop. Noted for its association with the mining industry, Mariposa is home to over 60 historical buildings from the Gold Rush era. A few notable structures include the Mariposa county courthouse and the old stone jail.

Gray Whale Cove State Beach

Location: Half Moon Bay, California

Travel time: 40 minutes

Discover an array of natural wonders at Gray Whale Cove. Located on the San Mateo Coast, Gray Whale Cove is home to many different types of wildlife and ecosystems. The secluded and small beach will interest tourists and nature enthusiasts alike. Despite the hike to the beach, it’s worth a visit any time of year.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation¬†explains that this 800-foot beach can be accessed only via a steep stairway. What makes this journey worth it? The gray whale’s migration path runs right along the coast of this beach. Gray whales migrate from December to January and March to May, so be sure to keep these time frames in mind when reserving your San Francisco accommodations.

Thornton State Beach

attractions outside San Francisco
Image via Flickr by pkingDesign

Location: Daly City, California

Travel time: 25 minutes

Daly City has a lot to offer its tourists. However, there isn’t much that can compare to the amazing views you’ll find at Thornton State Beach. Located on the coast in Daly City, Thornton State Beach is an adventure waiting for you. Take a brisk walk through the trails or rough it and hike the cliffs. The beach is a great place to lie back and check out the gorgeous sunsets and incredible kites and hang gliders.

Traveling with your furry companion? That’s no problem here! Thornton State Beach welcomes both you and your pet. Just be sure the two of you respect the natural landscape and the critters that make it their home. Make a day trip to entice the adventurer in you at Thornton State Beach.

It’s pretty amazing that there is so much to experience in San Francisco and the surrounding area. These locations are great for those who have a yearning for adventure and hours of wonderful stories to share from their explorations. Not all travelers are tourists. Some of us are off-the-beaten-path explorers. Living a full life entails creating incredible, unforgettable experiences!


27 thoughts on “3 Must-See Attractions Outside of San Francisco

  1. These is so much to see outside the city. We loved our time there visiting.

  2. This is such a great list! San Francisco is such an awesome city <3 I love that you included travel time!

  3. I would love to visit Gray Whale Cove State Beach during the whale migration. I’ve always wanted to go whale watching. I would love to visit San Francisco and the surrounding areas.

  4. San Francisco is definitely at the top of my list to travel to in California. I have yet to get there and I really want to go. There are so many places to explore there.

  5. These sound like some amazing things to go and see! I have to admit though I really want to go to a beach right now so that one sounds perfect for me.

  6. Those natural sight seeing coastline areas sound so good as does Mariposa. I went to San Francisco but never left the city and there was a lot to do but these would have been great to see also,

  7. I’m not sure how I feel about the steep staircase to get to Gray Whale Cove State Beach but it must be totally worth it! I would love to add these areas to my travel list!

  8. We love visiting places outside of towns we visit. They are typically less crowded and give you an entirely different feel. These three all sound like great places to visit.

  9. My friend used to live near San Francisco and she was constantly checking out new places. Sounds like there is no shortage of things to do! These all sound really cool.

  10. Oh I would totally enjoy watching the hang gliders. I think it sounds very relaxing this summer.

  11. These all sound like great places to visit. I would love to see Grey Whale Cove.

  12. Oh gosh, I would love to travel to Cali one day!! San Francisco (ad beyond) seem like such great places to visit!!!

  13. All of these are great places to visit and see what they have to offer. There is so much more to see outside of San Francisco hope more people take the time to get out and about.

  14. Looks like great places to check out for sure! Love the picture of the coast with the hang glider enjoying the breeze!

  15. I’d love to go to any of these places. I’ve always wanted to go to the San Francisco area. I wouldn’t mind checking out the beach.

  16. I can’t wait to visit the San Francisco area. These sounds like some wonderful must see attractions. Looking forward to visiting them.

  17. I have never gotten to visit San Francisco before, but it looks like it would be a wonderful time. I’ve always wanted to check out Alcatraz and the golden gate bridge.

  18. I lived in the SF Bay area for years and there are so many treasures just a short drive from the City. Daly City and that area have some great parks, beachside parks and places for crabbing.

  19. We visited San Francisco and wanted to take the kids and needed some great places to visit- we will also be bringing our doggies and I love that Thornton State Beach welcomes four legged creatures too! We love being able to explore lesser known venues when we travel and now we have the hook up!

  20. I have always wanted to visit the San Francisco area. I like hearing about mainstream places to go as well as some that are a bit off the beaten path like this.

  21. My husband and I used to take vacations in northern California. It’s been a little while since we traveled up north. Both my husband and I have been so busy lately. These look like some interesting places to visit.

  22. Excellent suggestions! I love historic places and Grey Whale Cove really sounds like my kind of place. The trails at Daly City also sound inviting, I love hiking!

  23. These are great. I’ve been to San Francisco like 10 times and never even heard of these. I will make it a point to check them out on my next visit.

  24. This is a great list! I love the places that you have listed.

  25. Outside activities sounds really interesting and I love that kind of travel too. I have never been to San Francisco yet and I guess its time to include in on my places to visit this year.

  26. My husband and I keep talking about going to this area for a vacation! I think it would be so fun to see all of these places!

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