Best Weekend Getaways San Francisco

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area or visiting for a while? There are some incredible places to explore that are just a short drive away!

Whether you're looking for a place to ring in New Years 2013 or just want to escape for the weekend, here are a few of the best weekend getaways from San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is located in the Sierra Nevada, a couple hundred miles north and inland from San Francisco. It's an ideal vacation spot for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. In winter, it becomes a winter sports lover's paradise.

There are a number of ski areas in Tahoe, but here are a few popular ones:

Heavenly Mountain Resort: located in South Lake Tahoe, right along the California-Nevada border, Heavenly is "the largest ski area in California and Nevada." It has 97 runs and 30 lifts and has the highest elevation of the resorts in the area.

Squaw Valley Ski Resort: Squaw is "the second largest ski area." It hosted the Winter Olympics in 1960. In partnership with Alpine Meadows, it offers over 270 trails and 43 lifts.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort: the resort has one of the highest snow falls in the area and has 15 lifts. It's 33 miles south of South Lake Tahoe.

Northstar California (formerly Northstar-at-Tahoe): Northstar near the North Shore and has 19 lifts. It is a popular resort with families.

Need a place to stay in Tahoe? We've got you covered!

From luxurious cabins to celebrate New Years with friends to more affordable options for a quick weekend away, take a peek at these beautiful places to stay in Lake Tahoe - from $20/night!


A picturesque town located approximately 120 miles south of San Francisco, Carmel is home to a significant community of artists. It is reported that over half of the homes built in the early 1900s were built by artists, and today the town is filled with art galleries, as well as cafes, boutiques, restaurants and specialty shops. Many of the shops are dog-friendly, so if you have a dog it's an especially great destination.

The town can be explored in less than a day, but there are many nearby attractions. You can stroll along the shore or take a drive along the coast, on the famous 17-Mile Drive. If you're a golfer, you can head over to Pebble Beach Golf Links and play the course named America's greatest public golf course. Or you can head to the nearby city of Monterey and visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Fisherman's Wharf. Be sure to drive along the coast near Pacific Grove, where you'll find lots of great spots to pull over and admire the coastal views. And if you're really in the mood for a drive, head up Highway One to Big Sur, which has some of the most beautiful swaths of coastline in the country. If the coast gets too foggy, you can head to Carmel Valley and explore the local wineries.

Check out all of the great places to stay near Carmel-by-the-Sea, starting at $45/night!


World-famous for producing excellent wine, Napa County is a popular destination for both San Francisco Bay Area locals and visitors to the area. It's around 50 miles from San Francisco and can be visited in a day but is best enjoyed over a weekend. In addition to wine tasting, you can enjoy a wide variety of spa treatments and sample the incredible cuisine in the many local restaurants.

We've got lots of homes starting at $35/night in the surrounding areas, such as Sonoma County, so take a look - you just might find the perfect Wine Country weekend getaway!

Ready to travel? Head to and search top vacation rental sites at once.

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Photo credits:
Carmel photo 1:
Carmel-by-the-Sea photo strip:
Napa image: photo by John_Taylor
Post by Anis Salvesen