San Francisco Bay trip...Part 2

Related to this thread (but I think different enough to require a new one)

I’m thinking I’ll also drive from San Jose, east of the Bay…North. Then cut across West and follow the coast down. I’ll have 2 or 3 days (this is in addition to the San Francisco BART&Bus trip).

So what is something cool and neat to see and do east of San Fran Bay? I was thinking taking 680 North through Pleasanton; but there is no reason why I couldn’t go another way…as long as I get to the coast for the highway 1 drive south.

Any thoughts on this aspect?

There are some pretty good wineries in and around Livermore. The drive this time of year can be very picturesque, especially with all the rain we’ve had. Lots of green, and lots of wildflowers.

But if you don’t have much time, you might want to bee-line it over to the coast. Heading east is going the wrong way…

Once you get to the coast, will that be starting in SF? You might stop for lunch in Half Moon Bay. Not a whole lot to do there, but some decent restaurants. South of HMB, there is a lot of empty coastline without much on it. Very beautiful. I just did the drive north from Santa Cruz last weekend.

Or, make it down to Davenport and have lunch in that tiny town. Don’t miss a little bit of wine tasting at Bonny Doon Winery. The whole town is only 3 blocks, so you can’t miss it.

Pigeon Pt lighthouse is also between those two places. A nice scenic spot to at least pull over and check out the view.

How far south do you plan to go?

Thanks John
I was thinking that we would get to the coast north of San Francisco (but don’t know how much further north). Then drive south until we ran out of time and get back to San Jose. We’d like to do Nature related things, state parks, redwoods, interesting natural monuments etc.

Muir Woods, then. That’s north of SF.

There are lots of state parks you can hit south of SF, too. I’d recommend Portola Redwoods State Park near San Gregorio.

Further south you have Ano Nuevo, but you might not see any elephant seals this time of year.

Due west of San Jose, on the coast, is a wonderful little state park called Bean Hollow. There are two areas completely different (geologically) to explore and the beach itself holds a surprise. It’s my favorite of all the beaches between SF and Santa Cruz.

if you have any interest in classic cars, go check out the Blackhawk Museum in Danville. They also have an impressive exhibit on the Old West and a nice collection of old jukeboxes there.

Another excellent East Bay Museum is the Oakland Museum of California.

Not that far north of San Francisco is Bodega Bay, where some of “The Birds” was filmed. Quite scenic. The schoolhouse from the movie is in the town of Bodega which is a bit inland. A bit north of this is Fort Ross, which is a restoration of a Russian fort.
You can drive along the Russian river which leads to some nice small towns like Sebastopol. Go far enough East and you it 101 which makes getting back easy - but which is not scenic.

Ditto Muir Woods and the Oakland Museum. The Oakland Museum has a parking garage, but is also very close to BART.

An absolute MUST DO is to stop at Battery Spencer on your way back from Muir Woods (or on your way out there). One of the best views of the GG Bridge and SF you’ll ever find (Fog willing!).

Definitely. Vista Point, which is on 101 on the Marin County side of the bridge, is tourist ridden and is sometimes shut down during holidays. Battery Spencer is far superior.

I can’t think of anything too interesting on 680, unless you have specific interests (sounds like nature is a go, but museums and such?). Sounds like it would be better to take 580 and cross over at San Rafael or Vallejo, but unless you’re looking for something specific that’s a bit roundabout.

Also, you’ll get people who disagree and say it’s okay, but it’s probably safest to ease off on the “San Fran.”

Well, the Chevy’s in the Pleasanton Mall makes a mean Margarita! :smiley:

There’s the Linday Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek.

The East Bay Regional Park District has many choices for nature lovers.

U.C. Botanical Garden, located in the hills above the main part of the Cal campus, has many interesting and beautiful plants from all over the world. Tilden Botanical Garden in Tilden Regional Park (part of the East Bay Regional Park District) concentrates on California native plants.

And if you come at the right time, the county fair has a horse with the head of a rabbit and the body of a rabbit.

I used to work for EBRPD. Note the map - the area covered is huge and non-contiguous. And many of them are just normal city parks, not as cool as Tilden.

BTW, please post a trip report when you’re done.

Give a shout to my friend M. B. when you pass through Pleasanton.

Has anyone mentioned Mount Diablo yet?

For all the outdoor scenery you seem to favor, especially things like redwoods and coastal scenery and such, you should plan some extra time to explore north of the bay – Napa County, Marin County, Sonoma County. Others have already mentioned some of the places there.

You could drive between Highway 101 at Santa Rosa and the coast, passing through Sebastopol and Guerneville and lots of redwood forest. There’s a side road running out of Guerneville that leads to a state park in the redwoods with hiking, picnic areas and such. (ETA: It’s Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.) There are plenty of such parks in that overall region.

On the coast in Marin County, there’s Point Reyes National Seashore. Plenty to see and do around there, including a visitor’s center. Approximately across the road from that on Highway 1 (and a bit south, I think) there’s an Audubon Bird Sanctuary area with some redwoods full of nesting herons, that’s open for a few hours at certain times. There’s a trail leading up a hill to a viewing deck well above the nesting trees, so you can look down on them from above. People there all talk in hushed whispers (if at all), so it’s like being in a cathedral.

IIRC – Doesn’t Point Reyes have, among other things, a lighthouse with a staircase of ten thousand steps to get down to it? (Or am I thinking of some place closer to the mouth of the Bay?)

The Alameda County Fair is around July 4. You can see the horse races for free, and also the Alaskan baby pig races.

That’s the place. Not as tough as you might think. And the lighthouse is interesting too. Plenty of oysters (in season) around Point Reyes, and also tulle elk.

Somewhere up the coast is a lighthouse you can stay in for the night, but I’ve never done it. Have stayed in a motel where all the rooms are in cabooses, but that is up in Lake country.