Summer's in full-swing and everyone's abuzz with their fabulous vacation plans. Have you failed on that organizational front? Are you murderously jealous of everyone's fabulous vacation plans? Don't be. There are tons of quick grab-your-stuff-and-go day escapes within an hour of the city. Here are four we love.
Half Moon Bay
It's just a half an hour outside of the city, but the dialed-down tempo of this surf town makes it seem leagues away. You've heard of a little spot called Mavericks, obviously, but if you're not up for channeling your inner Kelly Slater, head to Princeton Jetty, a wind-protected beginners beach (check out the surf report first though). If catching waves isn't your bag, take a stroll along the five-mile paved beach trail that winds its way to Pillar Point (where you can catch a view of Mavericks). Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and whales; this is a hotspot for marine activity. Need a bite? Grab a fish taco at the Flying Fish Grill. Or if you're in the mood for a fancier meal, hit up Cetrella on Main Street.
It's hot here in the summer (like, really hot) so to keep cool, you'll want to stay in the water. Activities of choice? Water skiing, wakeboarding or jet skiiing in the Delta. If you don't have a boat or waverunner to call your own, rent one at any of the local outfitters like Delta Watercraft, H2O to Go or H2O Craft Rentals.
Forget the Highway 29 bottleneck traffic; head up 101N instead to this charming Wine Country hub. If you're not feeling a vineyard-hopping situation, head to the town square instead, where there are more than enough tasting rooms to keep you hydrated. In terms of eats, Cyrus, located right off the square in the ground level of Les Mars, is giving French Laundry a run for its money. If you're looking for something a little less spendy, hit up Oakville Grocery Co. instead. In terms of vineyard-visiting, consider bikes your transportation mode of choice. Wine Country Bikes offers day rentals, guided tours and even bicycles built for two.
Point Reyes steals a lot of attention (albeit deserved), but its neighbor, Tomales Bay, offers a quieter, less touristy getaway just a couple of miles north. Get an up -close sampling of some Northern California wildlife in a bay-kayaking venture with Blue Water Kayaking. Tomales is also somewhat of a photographer's dream: knee-high grass, dilapidated boats and rustic piers jutting out over the Bay make for impressive additions to the Flickr account. If you're into seismic drama (who isn't?), head for the half-mile Earthquake Trail near Point Reyes, which illustrates the area's geological history (it's cool, we swear). And fresh oysters and clam chowder at Pat Kuleto's latest enterprise, Nick's Cove, are a must-try before heading back into the city.