Interesting day trip ideas for this Saturday?

Due to circumstances that I won’t bother going into, I’ve found myself with a rental car for the weekend.

I’m looking to get out of the city on Saturday and I’d be willing to drive in any direction within approx. 3 hrs of San Francisco.

I’m considering a day trip through the Sierra foothills although I’m really open to any and all ideas - destination, food and activities.

I was wondering if anyone’s been to The Prospector in Twain Harte recently?

Any other good suggestions?

It would help to know what you’re interested in . . . well, OK – it would help ME to know.

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Don’t know if the Cotati Accordion Festival appeals. That’s where I’m going tomorrow.

Can’t say I’m a big fan of accordion or polka music but I do appreciate the suggestion!

Jason, my interests are pretty diverse… food aside, I’m a big history nerd; I’m into architecture, esp. modernism; outdoors activities (scenery: forests/mountains/beaches, moderate hiking, etc) and wildlife; culture: art, music and film; vintage thrifting… etc. etc. We spend a lot of time around the Marin Headlands, the Point Reyes seashore, Half Moon Bay and Pacifica, nearby state parks and nat’l parks when we’re afforded more than a day, the historic gold rush towns, wine country, the Sacramento Delta area, Palo Alto, and on and on. I’m just looking for somewhere interesting and new (to me) to go on Saturday. It could be a coastal beach town or somewhere in the Sierra foothills or something completely different. It could be based on a particular activity or event, festival, parade, market or just something involving food. I’m completely open to any and all suggestions.

I’d go SOUTH . . . into the Santa Cruz Mountains. Not only are there more than 50 wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains and the City of Santa Cruz, combined, but there are some great redwood forests (Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, the Forest of Nicene Marks State Park [the epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake], Big Basin State Park), great beaches (Wilder Ranch State Park, Natural Bridges, Lighthouse, and Seabright State Beaches), some terrific food, excellent sailing on the Monterey Bay out of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, and some amazing art, including Annieglass in Watsonville . . . .

Go to Bodega Bay. Have early dinner at Terrapin Creek .

And the mendocino botanical gardens

Thanks for all the suggestions, I’m researching everything now. Mendo might be a bit too far for a day trip but Santa Cruz wilderness and Bodega Bay both sound great… I’ll run these by the missus as soon as she gets home from work. Thanks again!

Jason says it all here . Take a drive to Santa Cruz via Hwy 1 south . The coast is beautiful . You can head up to the Mountains once in Santa Cruz . Plenty to see and a lot of great wineries . Don’t dare to drive HWY 17 . The earlier you leave the less the traffic . About a hour and fifty minutes from the city to SC on hwy 1.

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I need last minute resto tips for Santa Cruz area please! Thanks!!

This site lists the wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Ridge is convenient, a quick climb up from Cupertino, and the views are great.

Thanks again for all the suggestions!

We ended up in Santa Cruz yesterday, although after driving through the Henry Cowell Redwoods, I realized we’d actually been to that SP a few times cutting inland from Palo Alto. The trails were pretty crowded which is to be expected for a Saturday in August, so we stopped into Monty’s Log Cabin for a drink and then cut back down to Santa Cruz and explored the downtown area, which I’d never done before. We stopped for lunch at the Peruvian place in Pacifica en route because I’d read good things on the old CH board. It was pretty good but nothing to write home about. We didn’t go all the way up into the SC mountains because I realized we’d done it before and it’s an extra 40-60 mins opposite SC, but we did try some of the wineries on Ingall St, which were not very good. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time anyway! We hit the boardwalk around sunset and then had dinner at Soif, which was kind of a mess. Food was way overpriced and not very good (limited menu recycling same ingredients - we had capers in FIVE different dishes!) and the service was completely absent. Kind of a strange place with a bit of an identity problem. I’d have preferred to just grab a sandwich at Zoccoli’s to eat on the boardwalk or pier. All in all, it was a really fun day though. Thanks again!

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Some interesting ideas on Thrillist, both for local activities and Trips

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Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, Yuanyang County, Yunnan
Credit: inkelv1122, Flickr