Even with all that San Francisco has to offer, sometimes it’s nice to get away from the hustle of city life. Luckily, within a short distance of the cityscape are several scenic, tasty, and unique experiences that make a great day trip–or dayte, if you will–with someone special.
It’d be a crime not to take advantage of the fact that San Francisco sits just an hour’s drive (traffic permitting) from some of the best wine regions in the world. Stop in at just a few of the hundreds of wineries lining the rolling hills of Napa and Sonoma, and then purchase a bottle from your favorite tasting to pair with dinner at one of the local culinary gems. Don’t miss the restaurants in Yountville, the charming town that houses the legendary French Laundry. For a slightly less formal (and pricey) meal, try Bouchon down the street.
Nestled two hours south of the city, this quaint waterfront town is both historic and romantic. Spend a couple of hours watching jellyfish glow and sea otters play at the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, then window shop down Cannery Row before enjoying a seafood lunch at the Wharf. If you have time, extend the trip down to Carmel or Big Sur.
400 Beach St, Santa Cruz
Let your inner child out with a trip to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, about a 90-minute drive south from San Francisco. This oceanfront amusement park features the best-of-the-best, classic carnival rides, games and sticky snacks. Summer brings free music on Friday nights and free movies on the beach.
This adorable Sonoma town 70 miles north of the city has it all: Shop and eat gourmet food in the town plaza with a stop at the Bear Republic Brewing Company, wine taste along Dry Creek Road or embark on a canoe or kayaking adventure down the Russian River.
20215 Hwy 1, Marshall
This unique, farm-to-plate oyster shucking experience is available by reservation only for just $5 on Tomales Bay, 46 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. At Hog Island, you’ll learn how to shuck your own oysters and then enjoy the sweet sea-taste of your hard work at a picnic table by the bay. Spots book up months in advance, so plan accordingly.
Use San Francisco’s Blue and Gold ferry service as your tour guide to discovering the Bay’s surrounding islands. Take off from Pier 41 and explore the beaches, shops and waterfront restaurants of Sausalito and Tiburon, or take the ferry over to Angel Island for a day of scenic hiking.
1280 N. McDowell Boulevard, Petaluma
If wine isn’t your thing, Northern California is home to many local breweries. One of the favorites, Lagunitas Brewing Co., located 30 miles north in Petaluma, offers free tasting tours and live music while you sample from their TapRoom. You can also pick from a comprehensive Bay Area brew list here.
Bart to Oakland, Berkeley or Alameda
Though stepchildren to San Francisco, the cities of Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda offer an easy escape from the city on Bart. All three boast reputable foodie, music and art scenes, plus thrifty shopping, like the Alameda Point Antiques Faire, the largest show in NorCal held on the first Sunday of the month.
Half Moon Bay
Perfect for a quick (sometimes chilly) trip to the beach, Half Moon Bay is less than 30 miles south of San Francisco. Much like Monterey, it features a historic downtown with shops, art galleries and restaurants, several local beaches and hiking or biking trails.
More San Francisco Date Ideas:
The Best North Beach Dates in San Francisco
The Best Brunch Dates in San Francisco
11 San Francisco Date Ideas As Unique as the City Itself
San Francisco Date Ideas: The Best Hiking and Biking Dates
San Francisco Date Ideas: The 9 Best Wine Bar Dates
San Francisco Date Ideas: The Best Rainy-Day Dates
San Francisco Date Ideas: The Best Outdoor Market Dates