Hop into an Exceptional Ride and Get Away from San Francisco
There’s nothing like a road trip, even when you’re getting away from one of the world’s most memorable and beloved cities. But when the open road calls, slip behind the wheel of an exotic or luxury car in SF and make a getaway that’s as iconic as the town where you started. A huge bonus is that when you leave San Francisco, the roads out of town are gorgeous. California is calling!
Heading North From San Francisco?
If you haven’t stopped to look at the Golden Gate Bridge before, enjoy the ride across the glorious span, then exit and go left under the freeway to the Marin Headlands road. There are several stunning viewpoints where you can look back at the city and the bridge. Or you can even drive further into this hilly ocean-side park and walk to the Point Bonita Lighthouse. It’s worth a little deviation from your escape route just to stand beside your head-turning car and take in that view for five minutes of awe, day or night.
Check Out Bolinas!
Head for Bolinas to see the quirky nature that Northern California’s been famous for. With your GPS, you won’t have any trouble getting to this small town 30 miles north. For years the locals discouraged tourists by tearing down any state highway signs leading to their hideaway, so you may not find any visual clues on the way. Feeling active? Bolinas is a famous site for first-time surfers to play in the waves. Look for that classic spot, The 2 Mile Surf Shop, and they will tell you what the tide’s doing, so you’ll be good to go. It’s not the most gorgeous California beach, but it’s pretty tame, and that’s why people have their first surf day here.
Visit the Grand Hotel!
For the best story-telling adventure, stay at The Grand Hotel. Long ago the owner found a sign and put it on his house on a whim. People started asking for rooms, which was amusing or annoying at first. Then he decided to actually let people stay over at his quirky abode! There’s no website, but you can find the phone number via Google. You can also drive to other accommodations in one of the nearby towns.
Stop at the Salon!
You are almost required to drop into Smiley’s Schooner Saloon, one of the oldest bars in California, to play pool or darts and enjoy one of the only places for a drink in the little town.
Heading South From San Francisco?
While going all the way down to Los Angeles is an epic drive – the perfect reason for a luxury car rental – there are charming destinations all along the way. For a sweet weekend getaway, you don’t have to go far.
Drop-In Duarte’s Tavern!
Just getting onto Highway One and passing through Half Moon Bay along the rocky, winding coast feels like the open road fantasy you had in mind. Head for Pescadero, a town name that simply means “fisherman.” While only about an hour south, this little town offers a pleasant ocean beach when the weather’s sunny. But the main attraction is inland about a mile, where you’ll find Duarte’s Tavern, a much-loved family business that’s been the talk of the little town since it was founded in 1894. Here you will find many choices, but locals will let you know you simply can’t miss the cream of artichoke soup followed up with a piece of pie. Make that the olallieberry pie, and you’re clearly in the know.
Visit a Local Farm!
To confirm that you’re in agricultural old-time California, book a tour at Harley Farms to try some cheeses that the coolest chefs covet, and meet the goats that make this artisanal process possible.
Stay in a Luxurious…Tent?
This coast is often socked-in with coastal fog, which makes the rustic luxury accommodations at Costanoa’s Tent Bungalows sound like roughing it. But when you see the photos of the tent cabins, you’ll want to get down there for this unique “glamping” experience. Try the sauna and enjoy a campfire conversation on a cool summer evening.
Heading East From San Francisco?
Historic Nevada City
You’ll be cruising on U.S. Interstate 80, which runs almost to the New York state border. But many of the best California getaways take you off the freeway onto the curving back roads of the gold rush country, to towns such as Grass Valley, in the Sierra Foothills. You’ll arrive there – in another world – in under three hours. A few miles up the road is historic Nevada City, with lots of charming little restaurants and a much-awarded local winery. Another favorite eatery is The Willo, which is about 15 minutes out of town. At this restaurant, you join in on the fun as you cook your own steak on the grill in the dining room!
Visit the Empire Mine, which was one of the richest and deepest gold mines in California!
You can even stay at the historic hotel, The Holbrooke, whose guest book was signed by Presidents Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland back in the day.
Into the Lost Sierra
If you want to enjoy the spectacular California mountains a little longer, head up to the town of Truckee, where you’ll find the site of the Donner Party’s tragic winter encampment and the Donner Memorial on the shores of a lovely mountain lake. The park museum answers some questions and poses others about one of the nation’s only incidents of cannibalism. Then, take your mind off the dark history with some inspirational local gift shopping, always a treat at the little shops down on the boardwalk across from Truckee’s historic (and still operating) train station.
Wrap up the day by enjoying a meal at the sophisticated yet rustic Truckee Tavern. Stay in your choice of many fine local ski condos or lodges in the region.
The next day, pack a picnic and head north to the tiny town of Blairsden, California, in the beautiful stretch of mountain meadows and forest known as the Lost Sierra. Here you’ll find the Brewing Lair of the Lost Sierra, a wooded outdoor craft beer taproom and nine-hole disk golf course where you can sit under the trees and enjoy the fresh alpine air. Relax and take it all in. You’re way off the beaten track here, in a very special corner of California few people ever visit.
Let CarHopper Put You Into Your Dream Vehicle
When you’ve packed your overnight bags for your escape, we’ll be there for you, offering a choice of stunning cars for your next vacation. Our rental vehicles are known for adding that note of unparalleled luxury to road trips out of these great American cities with our convenient CarHopper offices.
Please contact us when you’re ready to hit the road in a distinctive and characterful car: we’ve got your keys.