The Bay Area’s Best Small Town Escapes


Summer is officially here and as much as we love San Francisco, it’s always nice to leave town for a bit to enjoy the sunshine in a new locale. recently put out their list of the Top 10 Small Town Escapes worth the Drive. Check them out!

1.Aptos – Enjoy lunch at the Seascape Beach Resort, then soak up the sun at Rio Del Mar State Beach or Seacliff State Beach where you can gaze out at the USS Palo Alto, a World War I cement ship parked at the end of the pier since 1929. (Drive time: 1.5 hours)

2.Bolinas – Just up the coast from its more famous neighbor, Stinson Beach, Bolinas is Marin County’s most elusive small town. The art scene is thriving and views of the ocean are amazing. Residents value their privacy and don’t openly advertise to tourists, but once they arrive, if they can find it, they’re welcomed…sort of. (Drive time: 1 hour)

3.Carmel – From beaches to wine tasting and golf, Carmel seems to have it all for everyone – including the dog. Bring along your furry friend because Carmel is one of the most dog friendly places you’ll find in California. (Drive time: 2 hours)

4.Half Moon Bay – Best known for its Art & Pumpkin Festival every October, the town offers much more all year round, including beautiful beaches, a thriving downtown shopping area and fantastic dining options. (Drive time: 40 minutes)

5.Healdsburg – Enjoy world class food and wine without the crowds of other larger wine country towns. Plus local events and beautiful scenery can’t be beat. (Drive time: 1.5 hours)

6.Mill Valley – Home to the famous Mill Valley Film Festival, the quiet town is located at the base of Mount Tamalpais and offers a great selection of stores and restaurants to visit after a hike through Muir Woods. (Drive time: 30 minutes)

7.Nevada City – This small town was originally a Gold Rush community and retains the feel of those early days with historic buildings, mining museums, and rivers and creeks to try your hand at panning. (Drive time: 2.5 hours)

8.Placerville – You might have passed through Placerville on your way to South Lake Tahoe, but the town is worth a stop of its own. Antique shops, restaurants and the original Bell Tower are all worth checking out on a walk down Main Street. (Drive time: 2 hours)

9.Sausalito – Just a short drive over the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito is one of Marin’s most popular towns and for good reason. The waterfront community made Smithsonian magazine’s list of 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013. (Drive time: 30 minutes)

10.St. Helena – Another small but well-recognized Napa Valley wine town, St. Helena is ideal for a romantic getaway or girls shopping trip. Be sure to visit the Rhine House at Beringer Vineyards which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Drive time: 1.25 hours)