Attractions Nearby San Francisco, Day Trips and Excursions
(San Francisco, California - CA, USA)
Close to San Francisco are a number of nearby attractions, perfect for day trips and excursions. Oakland
is especially nearby and comes with a variety of draw cards, such as both Jack London Square and Lake Merritt, while head to the south and you will soon reach the Robert Crown Memorial Beach, where sunbathing and sandcastles go hand in hand.
California is famous for its strong and plentiful sunshine, and so those vacationing in San Francisco often choose to visit a water park or two, with both Raging Waters in San Jose
and Waterworld California in Concord being within comfortable reach of the city. For something quite weird and wonderful, a trip to the Winchester Mystery House is in order, while for altogether more natural attractions, a visit to see the ancient redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) at Muir Woods will be quite inspiring and highly suitable for keen photographers looking for that arty canopy shot.
Muir Woods National Monument
Address: Off Highway 101, San Francisco, California, USA
Situated 12 miles / 19 km north of the city and part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is the Muir Woods National Monument, filled with towering and simply awesome redwood trees. Muir Woods is the 550-acre / 225-hectare remnant of the vast forests of redwood trees once covering this entire area. In 1908, President Roosevelt made Muir Woods a national monument and named it after the Sierra Club founder, John Muirs. Being so close to the Pacific Ocean, the forest is frequently covered in a layer of fog, and it is this increased humidity that has resulted in such lush growth of the trees.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to sunset
Winchester Mystery House
Address: 525 South Winchester Boulevard, San Jose, California, 95128, USA
Tel: +1 408 247 2101
The completely unique Winchester Mystery House can easily be summed up in just one word - strange. Sarah Winchester, the wealthy owner, believed that the house was full of spirits that were haunting her and so converted the interior, adding many bizarre features to confuse the spirits. These additions include a stairway that leads right up to the ceiling, doors that open onto walls, corridors that don't actually lead anywhere and a door on the second floor that actually opens into thin air. The Winchester Mystery House is situated in San Jose and comes with guided tours and special 'Fright Nights'.
Open hours: daily, October to March - 09:00 to 17:00; April and May - 09:00 to 18:00; June to September - 09:00 to 19:00; Fright Nights in September, October and November
Admission: charge, discount for seniors and children, children under six free
Address: 2333 South White Road, San Jose, 95148, California, USA
Tel: +1 408 238 9900
Situated relatively close by, Raging Waters is a popular attraction in San Jose and includes many exciting water slides, swimming pools, water cannons, waterfalls and picnic spots. There are also quieter pools for younger children to use. The adjacent Lake Cunningham Park provides further recreational activities, while nearby Reid Hillview Airport is a useful point of reference.
Open hours: Saturday and Sunday - 10:30 to 18:30
Address: 1950 Waterworld Parkway, Concord, 94520, California, USA
Tel: +1 925 609 1364
Waterworld California is situated in the East Bay and is close to San Francisco, being approximately 40 minutes away and to the northeast. This extremely family friendly tourist magnet provides an enormous variety of water activities, such as high-speed water slides, tube slides, raft rides, a wave pool and a large swimming pool. There are also picnic facilities and parking is available onsite.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 10:30 to 18:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:30 to 20:00
Address: Corner of Bellevue and Grand Avenues, Oakland, 94610, California, USA
Tel: +1 510 835 1306
Lake Merritt is situated in Oakland, being roughly 13 miles / 21 km to the east of San Francisco and bounded by Lakeside Drive, 12th Street, 1st Avenue and Lakeshore Avenue. This vast tidal lagoon provides many recreational activities, such as boating, sailing and canoeing, as well as perimeter trails for walking, jogging and cycling, stretching for more than 3 miles / 5 km. Lake Merritt is also an important natural habitat and is an official wildlife refuge, with artificial islands serving as bird sanctuaries. If you are here at night, then the 'Necklace of Lights' comprising more than 3,000 light bulbs is well worth looking out for.
Jack London Square
Address: 30 Jack London Square, 94607, Oakland, California, USA
Tel: +1 510 627 1670
Jack London Square is the top attraction in Oakland and is full of entertainment options. The square houses numerous shops, a cinema and a weekly farmer's market (held every Sunday), while there are also some spectacular views. There is a long boardwalk at the port and this is the perfect place to stroll on a hot summer's evening. Jack London Square stands alongside the waterfront and lies on the southern side of Broadway, being within walking distance of a huge selection of restaurants, including the highly regarded Kincaid's Fish Chop and Steakhouse at the end of Franklin Street.
Angel Island State Park
Address: Taylor Street, San Francisco, 94133, California, USA
Tel: +1 415 435 3522
Angel Island State Park is a vast 740-acre / 300-hectare island that is full of history. With exceptional trails for walking, jogging and cycling, this park also has an area for camping. Angel Island is situated within San Francisco Bay and was actually connected to the mainland as recently as 10,000 years ago, before being separated by rising sea levels following the Ice Age. Guided tours are available, explaining the historic past of this scenic attraction. Visitors should look out for the historic Immigration Station, which is now listed as a National Historic Landmark, as well as Mount Caroline Livermore, where the views don't come any better.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to sunset
Robert Crown Memorial Beach
Address: Corner of Eighth Street and Otis Drive, Alameda, 94501, California, USA
Tel: +1 510 562 7275
The Robert Crown Memorial Beach is a long and attractive stretch of fine sand in nearby Alameda, being located next to Washington Park and directly south of Oakland. With good facilities, including tennis courts, grassy fields, baseball pitches, windsurfing in the summer months, a children's playground and a picnic area, this spot provides a pleasant day trip. If you are here in early June, you may be lucky enough to catch the annual Sand Castle and Sand Sculpture Contest, which dates back to the 1960s and now attracts more than 100 entries and over 1,000 spectators.