Tucked away in the southeastern corner of the San Francisco Bay Area, the city of Fremont, California is in proximity to soft sand beaches, sapphire-blue lakes, lush mountain valleys, and verdant rolling hills perfect for a weekend getaway. Book a stay at one of numerous Fremont vacation rentals, then explore the city and take a short road trip to one of the surrounding towns. Look forward to opportunities for relaxing, soaking up the sun, thrilling water sports, fascinating attractions, and world-class wine tasting. Here are the best weekend destinations near Fremont.

1. Mendocino

Mendocino lies on a spectacularly beautiful bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the northern California coast about four hours from Fremont. The town is renowned as an artist colony, and the Mendocino Art Center, Prentice Gallery, and other eclectic shops selling paintings, jewelry, beadwork, furniture, and other treasures are within easy walking distance of each other. Fronting the town is Mendocino Headlands State Park, which features scenic walking trails, a museum with displays on the history and biology of the Mendocino area, and two beautiful sand beaches. Rent a canoe or kayak from Catch-a-Canoe Rentals, explore the Big River Estuary to the south of town, and watch for seals, otters, and other wildlife. A few miles up the coast, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens offers walking trails amidst flamboyant flower collections, a pine forest, rugged canyons, and coastal wetlands. Don’t miss a visit to awe-inspiring Point Cabrillo Lighthouse.

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2. Napa

Vacation rentals in the city of Napa, located less than an hour and a half north of Fremont, are in the heart of northern California wine country. Take the unique Napa Valley Wine Train for a tour of the valley along with a gourmet meal paired with excellent wines. Alternatively, Dynamic Napa Wine Tours takes you around to the best wineries for tastings in a luxurious van. For a bird’s eye view of the valley, join Napa Valley Balloons for an unforgettable panoramic hot air balloon flight. For those who enjoy outdoor sports, Kayak Napa Valley offers guided hiking, cycling, and kayaking excursions around the valley. Head for the downtown Napa Farmers Market to shop for fresh produce, baked goods, arts and crafts, and other products.

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3. Tahoe City

Tahoe City lies on the western shore of gorgeous Lake Tahoe in the midst of the Sierra Nevada Mountains about four and a half hours from Fremont. Take a tour of the beautiful, pristine lake with North Tahoe Cruises aboard the Tahoe Gal, a 120-passenger paddle wheeler. Alternatively, rent a kayak from Tahoe City Kayak, and paddle your way around the lake. The Tahoe Gatekeeper’s Museum offers fascinating displays of the history of the Lake Tahoe region. Upstairs is the Museum of Sierra Ski History and 1960s Winter Olympics, which focuses on the history of the sport of skiing and the 1960 Winter Olympics that took place in the Tahoe area. Near Tahoe City is the famous Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows recreational area, which features first-class downhill skiing and snowboarding in the winter and aerial tramway rides and special events during the summer.

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4. Bodega Bay

The town of Bodega Bay lies at the base of Bodega Harbor on the northern California Coast about two hours northwest of Fremont. Doran Regional Park, located on a sand spit on the south side of the harbor, offers a beautiful beach, picnic areas, and walking paths. Hiking trails on Bodega Head, a promontory at the end of the peninsula that protects the harbor, leads to excellent viewpoints to observe whales migrating along the coast. Bodega Charters takes you out on the open ocean to angle for salmon, rock cod, ling cod, and other species of fish. Take the kids to Candy and Kites, a unique shop with a large selection of sport kites as well as plenty of sweet treats. Bodega Bay Surf Shack offers rentals of surfing equipment and lessons in this iconic California sport at nearby surf spots.

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5. Mariposa

Located three hours east of Fremont, the town of Mariposa serves as a gateway to breathtakingly beautiful Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Close Up Tours out of Mariposa offers exciting excursions around the scenic park in comfortable vans. Get a panoramic overview of the park in a small airplane with Airborrn Aviation Services. For a fun family-friendly horse-drawn stagecoach ride to a historic 1849 gold rush location, take a ride with the Mariposa Stage Line. The Yosemite Zip Lines and Adventure Ranch features a zip lining course through the treetops of the Sierra Mountain foothills. Visit the Mariposa Museum and History Center to view fascinating exhibits and artifacts on gold rush and pioneer history.

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6. Capitola

Capitola is a beach town on the east side of Santa Cruz about an hour south of Fremont. Capitola City Beach is a lovely expanse of soft white sand in front of the colorful Capitola Village shopping area. Capitola Surf and Paddle rents surfboards, wetsuits, and stand-up paddle boards to help you have fun in the water, while Capitola Boat and Bait at Capitola Wharf supplies you with a boat and fishing gear for angling in Monterey Bay. For great family fun, head for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a lengthy waterfront promenade that features carnival rides, mini-golf, laser tag, a gaming arcade, and other attractions. Don’t miss the famous Mystery Spot just a few miles northwest of Capitola, a strange cabin in which you appear to defy gravity.

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7. Pacific Grove

Pacific Grove is a small coastal city on the Monterey Peninsula less than two hours from Fremont. The city is famous for the massive annual migration of monarch butterflies to the Monarch Grove Sanctuary between October and February. Even on the off-season, the grove remains a lovely park full of eucalyptus trees and Monterey pines. Asilomar State Beach offers a mile of soft sand for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing along with trails through dunes and coastal forest. From December through April, watch for migrating blue and gray whales off the coast. Be sure to visit the nearby Monterey Bay Aquarium, which features impressive displays of West Coast marine life.

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