10 Nature Retreats To Escape San Francisco



solvang by Sgerbic from Wikimedia Commons

One of the nicest things about San Francisco is the easy access to weekend getaways, given to the city’s strategic placement between beaches, woods, and mountains.

Head north to see Napa and Sonoma vineyards, as well as enormous redwoods and a rough coastline. You’ll find quaint Carmel-by-the-Sea and breathtaking Big Sur in the south. Yosemite and Tahoe, two bucket-list locations with spectacular landscapes and year-round activities, are also within driving distance.

1. Inn at the Presidio, SAN FRANCISCO

Inn at the presidio

Inn at the presidio by David Wakely from Wikimedia Commons

You don’t want to leave San Francisco yet? Don’t be concerned. We’ve arranged a staycation that will allow us to get away from the city. The Presidio, San Francisco’s own national park, features around 50 miles of hiking pathways through dense eucalyptus woodlands, as well as incredible waterfront views of the Golden Gate Bridge, lovely beaches, and one of the most magnificent public golf courses we’ve ever seen.

This ancient 26-room inn has a large front porch with rocking rockers and an outside terrace with a cosy fireplace perfect for midnight s’mores. Set your goals for relaxed days and peaceful evenings, and you might not want to leave.

2. Flamingo Resort, Santa Rosa 


flamingo resort by Ken Lund from Wikimedia Commons

We adore Santa Rosa because of its small-town charm and weekend afternoons spent sampling beers on tap at the Russian River Brewing Company. Add a stay at the recently renovated Flamingo Resort on a 10-acre property with a pool, spa, private cabanas, pickleball, tennis courts, and more to turn a day trip into a weekend escape.

If you’re into wellness, sign up for one of the property’s monthly themed Second Sundays, which include yoga, tea ceremonies, and sound baths. After you’ve worked up an appetite, dine at one of the two onsite restaurants, which serve meals prepared by Chef Sergio Morales, who previously worked at the renowned Sam’s Club in Calistoga.

3. Vista Collina, Napa 

Vineyards in Napa Valley

Vineyards in Napa Valley by Brocken Inaglory from Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes you just want a vacation where you don’t have to arrange anything. Vista Collina appears. This luxury Tuscan-style complex, nestled among hillside vineyards, is the place to go if you want a full-on, never-leave-the-resort experience. Are you ready for some wine?

Visit the resort’s tasting village, which features nine handpicked tasting rooms highlighting Napa Valley’s top boutique wineries. Are you hungry? The property’s Fivetown Grocery sells local, farm-fresh products, and you can enjoy a picnic on the 16,000-square-foot event lawn. Alternatively, the onsite culinary centre offers cooking classes and wine seminars. You can’t commit to a whole weekend? You may secure a particular area simply for the day with Resort Pass—no stay necessary.

4. Jordan Winery suites, Healdsburg 

A trip to Jordan Vineyard & Winery, which was recently refurbished, is a must, and don’t miss their trademark Paris on the Terrace alfresco sampling experience (until August 29), which has Paris-meets-California bistro cuisine and wine pairings to match. Alternatively, attend one of June’s Estate Tour & Tasting events, a three-hour moving feast that concludes with a mountaintop toast.

If you want to extend your vineyard experience, Jordan Estate Rewards members (pro tip: membership is free!) can stay in one of the winery’s guest suites. While you’re in town, stop by Little Saint, the new plant-based restaurant, quick-service café, and wine shop from Single Thread founders Kyle and Katina Connaughton, which is set to open in the former SHED space just off the main square.

5. Vacation Rental, Monterey 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium by Rhododendrites from Wikimedia Commons

This family-friendly road trip escape takes a little over two hours. There are vacation rentals for every sort of party (even dogs!) available, ranging from beachfront villas to modest country cottages. A day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and a trip down famous Cannery Row will keep the youngsters occupied.

Don’t miss Candy Row, an old-fashioned candy store with barrels full of sweets—every child’s fantasy comes true. Rent bikes the next day and ride them along the somewhat flat waterfront bike route that follows the coast and runs all the way south to Pacific Grove.

6. Coachman Hotel, South Lake Tahoe 

South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe by Airickson from Wikimedia Commons

The newly enlarged Coachman Hotel is the ideal spot for a summer weekend in Tahoe, with direct access to the lake, forest, and mountains. There are casinos in Lakeside Beach, Heavenly Village, and Stateline. The newly enlarged Coachman Hotel is the ideal spot for a summer weekend in Tahoe, with direct access to the lake, forest, and mountains.

A 5-minute stroll will take you to Lakeside Beach, Heavenly Village, and Stateline casinos. Are you looking for some quality hotel time? Cool off in the pool during the day, then relax in the hot tub at night after enjoying beverages (or complimentary s’mores) over the community bonfire. Later this year, the hotel will welcome the first South Lake outpost of Reno’s Perenn Bakery, which is famed for its delectable pastries.

7. Classic B&B, Mendocino 

classic b b summer weekend vacations near san Francisco
The seaside town of Mendocino is famed for its number of exquisite beds and breakfasts, and no matter which one you select, you won’t be disappointed. Check read our piece on the town’s historic water towers if you’re seeking unique lodging.

Plan a stroll around the shops and cafés on Mendo’s peaceful main streets once you’ve settled in, and then take in stunning ocean views from the cliffs along the headlands. Make time to visit the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, which are tucked between Highway 1 and the Pacific Ocean on 47 acres of canyons, marshes, pine forest, and 125 varieties of rhododendrons.

8. Wylder hotel, Hope Valley 

Take the picturesque trip from San Francisco to Hope Valley (on Highway 16 and then up beyond Kirkwood ski resort on Highway 88) and arrange a stay at one of the property’s various hotel options for a weekend of outdoor fun in the mountains.

From log cabins, quaint cottages, and the expansive Hope Valley House to yurts, campgrounds, and a painstakingly restored vintage Spartan trailer, there’s something for everyone. Then head to the West Fork of the Carson River for some hiking, bicycling, and perhaps fishing. Breakfast, lunch, and supper are served in the historic Sorensen’s Cafe (which goes back to 1926!).

Don’t miss the traditional beef burgundy stew, and before you go, pick up a freshly baked pie from the general shop.

9. Cat Canyon Ranch, Santa Maria 

After a year and a half of being cooped up in your apartment, you want a taste of the countryside. Book a vacation at Cat Canyon Ranch in the Huasna Valley, where you’ll find stunning meadows, fascinating farm animals, and a lovely log home.

Enjoy your morning coffee on the front porch, then light up the grill for an alfresco supper on the patio in the evening. This is the finest of country life. If you become bored, the Santa Maria Valley wine region is about a half-hour drive away.

10. The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, Solvang

Solvang California

Solvang California by Austin102 from Wikimedia Commons

You might recognize Solvang from the film Sideways or the Danish village’s distinctive windmills. However, chances are you’ve passed it on your way to Santa Barbara. This time, we recommend making Solvang your final destination and spending the weekend at this opulent dude ranch (aka city girl roughing it).

From fishing, golf, tennis, canoeing, and equestrian riding (with lessons for “lil’ riders” and barnyard fundamentals) to yoga, massages, and facials, the 10,500-acre resort has everything. Stay for the next California Ranch Cookout (on August 24 with LA chef Ray Garcia), a supper series offering outdoor dishes prepared by famous chefs.

 The best way to significantly lower your stress levels is to disconnect from society, and weekend getaways, especially in the places we’ve mentioned, are a great way to do that.

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