San Francisco is full of activities, but with a beautiful coastline just a short drive away, it’s hard to resist the urge to hop in the car and explore. We spoke to Marianne Wong, a Les Clefs d’Or concierge at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco, to find the Bay Area’s best road trip.
TRIP 1: Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco to Point Reyes National Seashore
Distance: 76 miles
Enjoy the great outdoors along the jagged coast of Northern California along Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway). The open space and beautiful Pacific Ocean offer majestic scenery. From a walk through the monumental coastal redwoods in Muir Woods to experiencing the dramatic Point Reyes National Seashore and its history, this trip is a must for any Bay Area visitor.
Where to stop off: Pencil in time at Muir Woods to see a grove of rare giant coastal redwood trees that is part of the National Park Service. Visit Point Reyes National Seashore to feast on fresh crab and oysters.
Where to eat: The Pelican Inn, a delightful English-style pub at Muir Beach, or Station House Café in Point Reyes Station
Best view: Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands and Point Reyes National Seashore
Best landmark: Golden Gate Bridge, giant redwood trees at Muir Woods and the lighthouse at Point Reyes National Seashore
Bonus tips: Stop at Cowgirl Creamery or Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company to pick up delicious local artisan cheeses. Eat at the bakery and deli at Palace Market in Point Reyes Station — it has great treats for picnics.
TRIP 2: Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco to Half Moon Bay
Distance: 62 miles
There’s one reason to drive to Half Moon Bay: the stunning scenery. The wild Pacific coastline is gorgeous, the purple mountains in the backdrop are mesmerizing and plenty of wildlife roams the big open spaces. Just head down Highway 1 south (Pacific Coast Highway) to Half Moon Bay to see the dramatic coastline along the Pacific Ocean.
Where to stop off: Make a pit stop at any of the beaches. If you love flowers, a quick detour to Filoli Gardens, just south after the Highway 35 exit off of Canada Road, is a must.
Where to eat: For great coffee and a snack, try Blue Sky Farms. Or go to Sam’s Chowder House for seafood and views of the Pacific Ocean.
Experience this road trip in a Porsche when you stay at Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco between September 13 and October 11, 2014 — take one of four Porsche vehicles out for a two-hour spin during the San Francisco stop of Porsche Destination Drives.
Photos Courtesy of Christian Mehlführer and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group LLC