Northern California Weekend Trip Ideas

Jenner, CA 

2 hours from San Francisco

I had never heard of Jenner before staying at Timber Cove, but think it’s a great escape from San Francisco for a night or two. It’s located on a bluff along the Pacific Coast a little over 2 hours North of the city, so I’d recommend packing layers since it can get pretty chilly. There also isn’t a ton around the hotel, so I’d plan to spend most of your time on property hiking, playing games and eating most of your meals there as well. We stayed for 3 days and the menu didn’t change so we felt pretty limited by the end of our second day. The rooms are designed well and even have a record player, which I thought was a fun. I’d recommend booking an ocean view rooms since that’s the main draw to the hotel. 

We didn’t feel like the hotel excelled in terms of service. It’s a 3 star hotel in a rural area, so I wouldn’t go in with high expectations but we left feeling frustrated that simple requests went unanswered and overall staff was not very attentive.

Stay: Timber Cove

Eat: Fort Ross store for sandwiches 

Do: Some of our favorite Pinot Noir wines are made from grapes grown in and around Fort Ross/Seaview so I’d recommend wine tastings at Boars’ View or Fort Ross Vineyard. 

Mendocino, CA

3 hours from San Francisco

Located along the Pacific Coast line about 3 hours North of San Francisco, Mendocino is the perfect escape for fresh air, ocean views and a slower pace for a long weekend. I’d recommend staying at Heritage House, an extensive property set right on the bluffs of Mendocino. It’s the perfect oasis for practicing the art of doing nothing – lounging on your deck, hiking on property trails or spending the afternoon at the spa. We found the grounds spacious and loved that they are dog friendly. In my aunt and uncle’s younger years, they would escape to Heritage House for a weekend away, and I love that it’s become the same oasis for us. The hotel has an “of another era” vibe but has also been updated along the way.

Just be sure to pack layers, the weather can be similar to San Francisco with lots of fog and cool ocean breezes. 

Stay: Heritage House – we stayed in the Heritage Suite, which was very spacious, nicely appointed and had a beautiful deck to enjoy our coffee in the morning and cocktails at night. It’s so close to the ocean that we kept the patio door open and fell asleep to the sound of the ocean.

Eat: Wild fish – this small restaurant on the coast was the meal highlight of our trip. Be sure to book a reservation in advance since there are only a handful of tables and go with your server’s recommendation. Every dish was delicious! 

Do: Wine tasting in Anderson Valley – we spent one day wine tasting in Anderson valley, which is a windy 45 minute drive away through some gorgeous ancient Redwoods. Once you reach Anderson Valley, the temperature spikes about 10 degrees and there are endless wineries for you to try. We had reverse sticker shock when we learned most tastings in Anderson Valley are free or less than $10…. a welcome surprise from those Napa Valley wine tasting fees. I’d recommend tasting at Husch – try their red flight and bring lunch to enjoy on one of their outdoor tables.

Big Sur, CA 

3 hours from San Francisco

Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places on earth and quintessential California. Surrounded by redwoods that have been around for centuries and uninterrupted Pacific Ocean views make it one of my favorite places to escape to from San Francisco.

Stay: Ventana Big Sur

Eat: If you stay at Ventana, all meals are included so you’d be hard pressed to dine elsewhere. The properties main restaurant is called the Sur House and even as a hotel guest, I’d recommend making reservations prior to your arrival. You can book it on OpenTable if you collect OpenTable points. 

Big Sur BBQ is located at the base of the property on Highway 1 in a big red building. I believe it’s owned by the same owners of the hotel, but unfortunately isn’t included in the all-inclusive package. I think this is some of the best BBQ you can get on the West Coast and would recommend lunch here no matter where you stay in Big Sur.

If you’re celebrating a special occasion or want to mix it up from the on-property restaurant, I’d absolutely recommend dinner at Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn. It’s directly across the street from Ventana and the hotel can drop you off and pick you up after your meal. You will need a reservation as the food is Michelin star worthy and has some of the most breathtaking views of any restaurant in California. Their Sommeliers are incredibly knowledgable, so I’d recommend consulting them for wine pairings.

Do: Hike in the state parks (bring cash/not dog friendly)

Point Reyes, CA

1 hour from San Francisco

Point Reyes is a great day trip from San Francisco, but could easily turn into an overnight stay or weekend away. It’s only an hour North of San Francisco but feels so remote with beautiful rolling hills and scenery. Downtown Point Reyes is a quaint and small area with plenty of good food options and stores to stroll into. It’s a good place to go without much of a plan. 

I haven’t stayed at Sagra farms but it’s about 20 minutes north of downtown, and I love that they’re focused on sustainability and use local products like bedding from Coyuchi, which happens to be who makes my favorite bathroom towels. You can check out their line of home goods at their flagship store in downtown Point Reyes. 


Eat: You can shuck your own oysters at Hog Island Oysters and enjoy the beautiful views surrounding their restaurant. Just remember to bring a jacket as it can get quite chilly.

Do: Cowgirl Creamery, Coyuchi at Point Reyes Station, Point Reyes Cypress Tree Tunnel

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