May 29, 2018

Best Bay Area Road Trips

This post is sponsored by Lexus USA.

Best Bay Area California Road Trips

Over the last year I’ve spent more time focused on travel within my home state of California and it has reminded me more and more of the deep-rooted love I have for it. Much of my exploring has been during day drives in the bay area so today I’ve partnered with Lexus USA to share some of my favorites with you.

Best Northern California Road Trips Best Bay Area California Road Trips

1. Skyline Boulevard
If you head South on Skyline from highway 92 the road winds around a few turns and shortly after you’ll come to a point where you can see both the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay at the same time. The moment only lasts a few seconds at highway speed and if you blink you’ll miss it, but it’s one of the most special parts of this drive for me.

2. Highway 1
Highway 1 seems like a no-brainer when it comes to local road trips, but while most people head south to Big Sur, I prefer the coastline between San Francisco and Santa Cruz. It’s dotted with a few small towns and some of the most beautiful rock and cliff formations in California. A favorite stop is Panther beach, marked only by a large dusty roadside turnout. You’ll need to do a short hike to get down to the beach, and there’s a cave to walk through to get to adjoining Team Beach.

3. Mount Tamalpais
I do not have a wonderful history with this curvy stretch of road that runs between Stinson Beach and Mill Valley. The last time I drove over it was at night after spending 12 hours on the rest of Highway 1 and it was not a good time. I have faith that if I drove over it in daylight and for a shorter period of time I’d really enjoy it. I’ve heard the views are wonderful and Stinson Beach is a fun little place to spend the day.

4. Lick Observatory
One of my favorite places I’ve ever been is Lick Observatory when I was a child. It sits high up on Mt. Hamilton and is visible from most of the south bay. There is even a Ham Cam that is updated 24/7, it’s fun to watch during inclement weather or particularly beautiful sunsets. The road to get up to Lick from the San Jose side is very windy and climbs up the mountains with many switchbacks. It’s fun to drive and provides excellent views of the south bay.

5. Highway 280
Often overlooked because of it’s size, Highway 280 is my favorite way to get to San Francisco from the South Bay. It winds through the eastern mountain ride along the peninsula and is magical at sunrise and sunset. Often you can see wildlife along the side, and there are multiple vista points to take a break if you need to.

What are your favorite places in the Bay Area to drive?

Best Bay Area Road Trips Best Bay Area Road Trips

This post is in partnership with Lexus USA who was kind enough to loan me a 2018 Lexus RC F-Sport for a week. Thank you for helping to support the sponsors that make life here at Hej Doll a little sweeter.
Aerial photo by Steve Doll, other photos by Sarah Hettervik.

Expand Comments

Ahh, this is one of the many things Roan and I want to do in the future! I love me an amazing road trip, and I know for sure that the Bay Area won’t disappoint!

Looking good! The Lexus too!

I LOVE Lick Observatory! Great picks here. 🙂

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