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Spots I love in Northern California

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Northern California is more than San Francisco.
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Whitethorn, CA 95589, USA

This is some of the finest, most remote backpacking in northern California.

Its stunning.

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Black Sand Beach, California, USA
We began our walk up the Lost Coast Trail by enjoying Black Sands Beach, which doesn't really have very much sand, in the Kings Range National Conservation Area. For the next 24 miles from Black Sands Beach, the Lost Coast Trail is primarily on...
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Hidden Beach, Nevada 89451, USA
Tahoe's East Shore is famed for a reason: white sand, clear water, and great afternoon sun. I took this shot at the easily accessible Hidden Beach, just east of Incline Village on Highway 28. Park wherever you can on the main road, then walk along...
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U.S. 101, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA
Just north of the golden gate is a wonderful winding road with beautiful views of the Golden Gate and San Francisco. This is great for a long bike ride or quick road trip out of the city.
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1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA
Just 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge is Muir Woods National Monument, a 554-acre park; old-growth coast redwoods, the tallest trees in the world, cover 295 of those acres. Peaceful and lush, the forest is ideal for simply communing with...
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Woodside, CA, USA
State Route 35, also known as Skyline Boulevard, is a 54-mile road that runs through an escarpment of hills that make up the Santa Cruz Mountains. Located in the San Francisco Peninsula, this ridge of luscious green, separates the Pacific Ocean...
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Fort Bragg, CA 95437, USA
After the big crab cake event at the Mendocino Crab & Wine Days festival, a walk to the windy shore provided a bracing, refreshing break from the weekend's indulgences.
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Inverness, CA, USA
Explore the natural beauty of West Marin, with plenty of small towns to explore. At Point Reyes Station, stop at the CowGirl Creamery to grab a picnic lunch while exploring the small shops, or head to Point Reyes National Seashore. Later stop in...
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1 Point Reyes-Petaluma Rd, Inverness, CA 94937, USA
Miles and miles of secluded beaches, wildlife and, if lucky, gorgeous weather, puts Point Reyes on my top 10 list of places I can go to again and again and again. Thank God Americans realized they need to preserve places like these.
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24898 Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, Burney, CA 96013, USA
only 4 hours up north of san francisco is Burney Falls State Park. The 129 ft falls is a beautiful Oasis set among pristine forest area. There are campgrounds not far from the falls and you can catch Rainbow Trout in the picturesque river..... The...
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Latin America
He and his guys are the best instructors on the beach. Make sure you head to the blue umbrellas midway down to the water . They will be sitting there with about 6 dogs lounging between the boards. Mario will provide everything you need to get rad....
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913 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
There’s nothing like a cold creamy treat on a warm day, and one ice cream shop in the cozy California beach town of Santa Cruz is doing it so, so right. Penny Ice Creamery isn’t your average ice cream joint; you won’t find Ben & Jerry’s-style...
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Pfeiffer Big Sur Rd, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
The drive from LA heading north to Carmel on the PCH through Big Sur is a journey in itself. It doesn't matter your destination, although the quaint town of art, shops and restaurants in Carmel won't disappoint. I've driven through the French...
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Paso Robles Dr, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405, USA
Baby elephant seals by the hundreds come to this beach in San Simeon, by the lighthouse on the PCH/Hwy 1 just north of Cambria, California every winter. They birth, nurse, then mate from December to February. Very sweet and magical feeling on this...
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Bodega Head, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, USA
After weeks of increasing stress from the daily grind of work and family responsibilities, I spent one perfect weekend in Bodega Bay, on the coast of California north of San Francisco. The highlight was a walk on Bodega Head, a piece of land that...
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19225 CA-1, Marshall, CA 94940, USA
Oysters with a spectacular view. They have clam chowder and usually another soup too. Oysters come raw, barbecued, or a few other ways. Just a little over an hour drive north of San Francisco. About 10 miles south lies Point Reyes Station were you...
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Petaluma Ave, Sebastopol, CA 95472, USA
The Sea Ranch, a community located three hours north of San Francisco on the coast, comes close to Utopia for me. Founded by a group of UC Berkeley architects in the 1960s, Sea Ranch was conceived as a rustic escape from the city. The houses are...
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California, USA
Its a long haul from San Francisco, but so magical when you arrive you almost forget how long you've been in the car.
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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA, USA
Not crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco would be like skipping the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It’s a rite of passage every visitor should experience. The best way to traverse this iconic symbol of the city is either on foot or two wheels....
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2601 Monarch St, Alameda, CA 94501, USA
At St. George Spirits, a liquor distiller located inside a huge hangar on the decommissioned Alameda Naval Base, you can learn all about alcohol production—and you can taste all-natural vodkas, gins, Eau de Vie, whiskeys, and more. The tour lasts...
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23240 California 1, Marshall, CA 94940, USA
Since I’m still relatively new to San Francisco, I’m still discovering all of the amazing places just outside of the city. Every weekend I try to hop in a car and explore. My latest discovery is Nick’s Cove, a restaurant and cottages located in a...
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52801 California State Route 1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
Driving Highway 1 through Big Sur is one of my favorite California experiences. Last year, I made the stunning trip north after visiting my family in Santa Barbara for Thanksgiving. Fall is one of the best times to visit because the cold fog that...
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California, USA
I started to rock climb outside this year. Cathedral Peak in Tuolumne meadows can be climbed in 5 pitches. This is the view from the top.
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80 4th St, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, USA
This is another place I immediately return to when I'm in the Bay Area. It's a cheese lover's temple! I loved this salad pictured that I had. It was also my first picture of San Francisco! I must say that the Mount Tam is one of my favourite...
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Fort Bragg, CA 95437, USA
And what did we eat at The Q, the downhome but culinarily upscale barbecue shack near Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg? Delicious pulled pork, onion rings, and cole slaw (not shown), and this generous serving of super tender brisket with sides of sweet...
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Fort Bragg, CA 95437, USA
Another highlight of the annual Mendocino Coast Crab and Wine Days festival is the cioppino dinner, held in the Fort Bragg Pentacostal Church hall. The fresh Dungeness crab is "swimming" in an amazing broth given added texture and kick from ground...
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7751 CA-1, Little River, CA 95456, USA
I was invited to be one of six judges at the annual Mendocino County Crab & Wine Days crab cake cook-off and wine-pairing competition. This was the first of the 11 entries we sampled. We later tasted 50 wines (!) to see how they paired with fresh...
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Guerneville, CA 95446, USA
Beautiful organic winery set in heart of the Russian River Valley north of San Francisco. Chickens and an elegant dog.
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25050 CA-1, Jenner, CA 95450, USA
Salt Point Park is in the Northern part of Sonoma County in California. There are 20 miles of trails in this park and we hiked the Central Trail to the Pygmy Forest and looped around the Prairie to the South Trail to return via the Powerline...
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CA-1, California, USA
Highway one along the California coast in southern SFO territory.
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210 Pigeon Point Rd, Pescadero, CA 94060, USA
I stumbled across this Hostel while driving up the Coast Highway and took a quick pitstop. The view was amazing with cliffs on either side of us, a lighthouse in the middle, and ocean everywhere in front.
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Drakes Bay, California, USA
A lot of people are aware of Hog Island in Tomales Bay, but just a few minutes down the road is Drake's Bay which also offers fresh oysters on the cheap. It may not have as many tables and areas to eat, but it also doesn't have the crowds and you...
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Rockaway Beach, Pacifica, CA 94044, USA
Walk from Pacifica State Beach (park by the Taco Bell) to Rockaway Beach and if there's no fog you'll be blessed with some of the best views of the Pacific Ocean in Northern California. It's a fairly easy walk that continues along the beach, with...
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1 Point Reyes-Petaluma Rd, Inverness, CA 94937, USA
On beautiful Drakes Bay, the beach is wonderful on a nice sunny day. And it's quite a treat to have access to pretty good food, out of the wind and with a great view from this cafe.
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Tennessee Valley, California 94941, USA
As a hiker at heart living in a city, I am always looking for close escapes that will give me a good city release and wilderness dose. If you are looking for a nice selection of trails and gorgeous coastal hiking just outside of San Francisco, I...
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California, USA
No adjectives could quite describe the colossal beauty of this protected patch of ancient forest. Huge redwoods reach neck craning heights and massive width around a forest floor blanketed with clover. Even the stumps of fallen trees make for...
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1 Point Reyes-Petaluma Rd, Inverness, CA 94937, USA
Roughly two hours out of San Francisco, the beautiful Point Reyes hides with its secluded beach, hidden trails, and national elk reserve. A two hour drive might seem daunting, but rest assured that the drive is well worth it and just as stunning...
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1 Pilot Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA
While many visit Carmel By The Sea for a weekend getaway, near by Carmel Valley is my preference for a weekend retreat as home base. It feels more worn in a beautiful livable sort if way. After an afternoon of exploring the shops and tasting rooms...
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14700 Shoreline Hwy, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, USA
The Fork is a little-known gem at the Point Reyes Farmstead, just north of San Francisco. They're famous for their cheese (Original Blue, Bay Blue and Toma), but they also do monthly family-style dinners at their gorgeous new facility called The...
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3501 Civic Center Dr, San Rafael, CA 94903, USA
Every Sunday rain or shine, you can find the Marin County farmer's market. The vegetables are organic and seasonal (because they are from nearby farms!). You can find pastries, coffee, smoothies, spreads, and craft items. Row after row of them. If...
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205 North St, Pescadero, CA 94060, USA
My day hanging with a family of goats was far more thrilling than I initially expected. The excursion was one of several during a trip through San Mateo County and Silicon Valley - the areas surrounding San Francisco. As a child I remember feeding...
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Chimney Rock Trail, Inverness, CA 94937, USA
Chimney Rock's 1.8 mile trail offers stunning views of the Pacific, Drake's Bay, and 500 foot cliffs plunging into the ocean. The hike's namesake rock formation, Chimney Rock, located at trail's end, juts out into the water where Bay meets...
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21047 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville, CA 95441, USA
Catelli's Restaurant sits on the 2-block main drag of the tiny town of Geyserville in Northern California. This town is part of the wine country that runs north-south through the Alexander Valley. Even though the town and its run-down structures...
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Coleman Beach, California 94923, USA
Foggy even in the summertime, you will still find the surfers at Coleman Beach, a beautiful stop along Highway 1 on the Sonoma Coast. Stop to people watch or if you are brave a swim! This stretch of road is very similar to that of Big Sur but less...
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1245 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442, USA
If you happen to be cruising up the California coast via US 1, I highly recommend a detour through the sweet little town of Morro Bay. Aside from the great fresh seafood served at eery turn, there is plenty of hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking,...