3 Adventurous stops in the North Bay of San Francisco
Writing and Photography by Ashley Beschell of Beschell Photography.
While living in San Francisco, it can be incredibly refreshing to escape the city. Unfortunately, very few of us actually have cars. So, as you can imagine, when we finally did commit to exploring the North Bay (the stretch of land along the coast of California, just north of San Francisco), I wanted to optimize the experience and get a taste of the best features this beautiful region had to offer: mountains, wine, and ocean.
1. Mountains: Mount Tamalpais
Do you know how much you can see from the top of Mount Tamalpais? A lot. Like Sausalito, San Francisco, all the bridges, and, on most days, many clouds.
If you’re dedicated to starting early, there are a lot of hiking trails you can take get to the top. We wanted to dedicate our time to further exploring, so we drove to the vistor’s center & climbed the ¼ mile trail to the top. The views were panoramic and breathtaking.
2. Wine: Sonoma County
Break up the drive to the coast by driving through wine country, and stopping at any winery that catches your eye! Make it extra scenic by driving down the Russian River, and when you see a sign or a venue that looks interesting, stop! It’s Sonoma County, so the reality is, it’s probably good. We loved the spontaneous itinerary, and stopped through some of the cute towns we encountered on the way.
While I highly recommend a pick your own adventure itinerary, stopping anywhere and wherever appeals to you, here were some of our favorites!
Winery: Woodenhead Wines - they have INCREDIBLE pinot noir and a great patio overlooking their vineyard.
Town: Guerneville - a charming town with a rich logging history.
3. The Ocean: Goat Rock Beach
We followed the Russian River to its coastal mouth in Jenner, CA. The beaches here are beautiful and Ireland-esque with fog, cliffs and greenery! Take Highway 1 for some seriously scenic, Nor-Cal beach views! We loved Goat Rock Beach and the small towns we encountered, particularly Nick’s Cove!
We stopped at the Station House Cafe in Point Reyes Station for appetizers and dinner (the mussels are GREAT) and Osteria Stellina for dessert (while seasonal, I strongly recommend the pumpkin pudding).
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