San Francisco Bay Area
Sights and Attractions
The California Costal Highway North From San Francisco
A tour of California Highway One north from San Francisco takes you through spectacular vistas and gentle scenery similar to Northern Scotland and Western Ireland, culminating in the booming wine country of Healdsburg along the Russian River.
From the Bay area, you soon arrive at Point Reyes, a jagged and spectacular mountain edging out into the Pacific, with a path down to the water and sand dunes for those who want walk, and seats to admire the view for those who simply want to to breathe the salt air and gaze out over the ocean. It is no accident that many Scots settlers made their homes near Point Reyes. Point Reyes is also a noted spot for whale-spotting
Northwards from Pt. Reyes, the coastline folds into gentle bays, a curving coast, and the green grass mixed with the rock formations that you would expect of Western Ireland.
The tour culminates in Healdsburg, with a well-deserved sampling of wines, and dinner if you wish.
Mount Diablo: the View of the Whole Bay Area and The Big Valley Up To Sacramento
To the west you can take in the entire San Francisco Bay, from Marin County down to San Jose and the Santa Cruz Mountains. To the east, on a clear day, you can see all the way to the Sierra Madre mountains, and on any day you can see a vast reach of California's Central Valley, up to 75 miles wide, and over 400 miles from north to south.
Blessed with topsoil running from five feet to thousands of feet deep, watered by rains in winter, and the runoff from the Sierra Madre snow in Summer, this is some of the most fertile land on Earth a valley that could and does feed nations, with exports from grains to fruits to nuts.
Mt. Diablo is not just a lookout point; numerous pull-over points have fascinating rock formations, and fine views of their own.
Note: bring a jacket; except in the middle of summer, the peak of Mt. Diablo can be chilly.
Mt. Tamailpais, Marin County, With a Sweeping View of the San Francisco Bay
Always a contender with Mt. Diablo for "best view" of the San Francisco Bay area, "Mount Tam" offers equally spectacular views of the bay area. Mt. Tamalpais trades off Mt. Diablo's view of the bay and far inland, providing a broad view of the bay, and the Pacific Ocean from the Golden Gate bridge out to the horizon.
A tour of Mount Tam can be combined with visits to either Stinson Beach on the Pacific, Point Reyes, or Muir Woods.
Muir Woods, Marin County: the One Stand of Gigantic Redwoods Close to San Francisco
An old-growth redwood forest may be the quietest place on Earth. Sit quietly beneath one of the giant redwoods, and you can hear the blood flowing through your temples; old-growth redwoods absorb sound beyond belief. Look up, and see the tallest trees on Earth soar up into the sky, a cathedral of nature, with the blue sky far above.
A redwood forest is like no other place on this Earth.
Walnut Creek, the East Bay's New Hot Spot for Fine Dining
In the last decade Walnut Creek, once covered by walnut orchards, has become a destination for fine dining. The downtown area teems with restaurants, ranging from mainstrean cuisine to a variety of exotic restaurants opened by first-generation immigrants from Asia and the Middle East. There is no shortage of options.
Walnut Creek dining makes an excellent end-of-day finish to tours of Mt. Diablo or the Livermore Valley wineries.