Help me plan my staycation in SF Bay Area

<p>I'm planning a staycation in the SF Bay Area in August, and am looking for suggestions of people's favorite places, out-of-the-way, new, unique, etc. </p>

<p>Anything that is within 1.5 hours drive from Oakland is ok.</p>

<p>I like the outdoors, museums, music (all kinds), fine dining on the cheap, and theatre.</p>

<p>A couple of places I never went to until after I moved away from the area - </p>

<ul>
<li>Rosicrucian Egyptian museum in San Jose</li>
<li>Winchester Mystery House in San Jose</li>
</ul>

<p>Other places -
- Big Basin Redwoods state park (NW from Santa Cruz ) - Big</a> Basin Redwoods SP
- Calaveras Big Trees state park (maybe about 2 hours east from Oakland but worth it) - Calaveras</a> Big Trees SP<br>
- Ano Nuevo SP to see elephant seals - [url=<a href="http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=523%5DA"&gt;http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=523]A&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Napa for wine tours?
Interesting architecture at Quixote, Quixote</a> Winery - Hundertwasser Design
Classic rock named vinyards and great wine at Cliff Lede, <a href="http://cliffledevineyards.com/about/rock_blocks%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://cliffledevineyards.com/about/rock_blocks&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>There are some amazing "urban walks" in San Francisco. Google "San Francisco steps" and you'll find many unique areas with steps that are hidden treasures and make for great walks. Also, the rainforest exhibit at the Academy of Sciences in GG Park is well worth a visit and I'm not a big fan or museums. I had the greatest time doing these things when we picked my up my d from Berkeley in May. I used to live in SF and it made me realize how much I miss it and how much there is to do!</p>

<p>Biking in Marin. Bike over the golden gate. Oysters in Tomales Bay. Fort Ross on the Sonoma coast. Bodega Bay.
Drive out to the Russian River area. You can take the road out from cotati and come back via River Rd through Santa Rosa. Bring a picnic and hike and eat in Armstrong Redwood State park in Guerneville. Explore Occidental and Sebastapol.
I have never done it but how about Calistoga for a mud bath?</p>

<p>Thanks... some good suggestions here....keep them coming.</p>

<p>u<em>u</em>dad: I recently drove by the Rosicrucian Egyptian museum, have never gone. The missions and state parks are all good suggestions. I checked out Huell Howser's site and will go back for digging deeper. </p>

<p>mominva: I just got back from wine tasting in Santa Ynez valley (think Sideways), but will keep Quixote in mind for the next time I head to Napa. That said $25 tasting fee is pretty darn steep</p>

<p>crzymom: Yup, I may check out the Barbary Coast trail (San</a> Francisco Historical Society - Barbary Coast Trail® Guidebooks). </p>

<p>mom60: All good suggestions. fyi. mud baths in Calistoga are awesome! Last year I went to Sonoma</a> California Day Spa Near Santa Rosa, Napa, Wine Country in sonoma county. </p>

<p>Closer to home, I may look into
The Paramount Theatre tour - Welcome</a> to the Paramount Theatre, Oakland, California</p>

<p>Black Panther Tour - Black</a> Panther Virtual Tour Map at Black Panther Clothing . My sons went on this when in grade school</p>

<p>The</a> Skunk Train Fort Bragg and Willits California</p>

<p>The train to Sacramento and see Old Town</p>

<p>keep the suggestions coming.....thanks again</p>

<p>Bookmarked!</p>

<p>From Chowhound</p>

<p>SIX</a> Fab Nights in SF- Some Locals-only Must-Dos....? - San Francisco Bay Area - Chowhound</p>

<p>Monterey Bay Aquarium and John Steinbeck's house. Read The Log from the Sea of Cortez to warm up.</p>

<p>What is a staycation?</p>

<p>avoidingwork,
go to Quixote for the tour; I can't remember if you need to taste to get the tour, if so, share a tasting</p>

<p>cbreeze,
doing the tourist things when you 'stay' at home</p>

<p>GRAPE ESCAPE
THE 2010 SONOMA COUNTY FAIR
July 27 - August 8, 2010 </p>

<p>I drove through Petaluma recently.....looked like a really nice little town with interesting shops....if that's something you would enjoy.</p>

<p>Stanford Univ. Art Museum. Collection of a little bit of every type of art. In a beautiful building. Nice cafe for lunch.</p>

<p>Viewing tower at the DeYoung Museum (rest of the museum is pretty nice, too!) Not really unusual....but worth a visit if you haven't been there....</p>

<p>Lived in the S.F. Bay Area from 1956 until 2002:</p>

<p>Ferry to Alcatraz
California St. and/or Powell St. Cable Cars
Union Square
Fisherman's Wharf
Golden Gate Park
China Town
Jack London Square (Oakland) and/or the Oakland Embarcadero
Dine at Chez Panisse in Berkeley
Dine at The French Laundry in Yountville (make reservations NOW-- it's probably too late)
Golden Gate Bridge (Park and Walk)
Sausalito and/or Tiburon (Marin Co.)
Mount Tamalpais (Marin Co.)
Sonoma Square (Napa/Sonoma Area)</p>

<p>Call my parents in Moraga, they'll put you up....</p>

<p>jshain: Thanks for the list. I live in the bay area (hence a staycation instead of a vacation).</p>

<p>French Laundry and Chez Panisse are excellent, but don't exactly fit the requirement of 'fine dining on the cheap'</p>

<p>^The French Laundry is just ridiculous nowadays...how about the Chez Panisse Caf</p>

<p>You can try Ad Hoc instead of French Laundry in Napa. Same chef, a little less $$$ and a little easier to get a reservation. Better yet, try Mustard's!</p>

<p>Beach Blanket Babylon--H attended and said it was a hoot! (Cleaner version available--just pick the right showing)</p>

<p>Hats</a> off to 'Babylon' for steady musical laughs</p>

<p>Alonzo King Lines Ballet will present a student performance August 17, I think. Shouldn't cost much.</p>

<p>Maybe you have to be a bit of a computer nerd, but I really, really enjoyed the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. If you go on the tour you get 2000 years of computer history - highlights were programmed looms from the 18th century, pieces of the first real computers, the plywood box that held the first Apple, and the drawers that held the baby version of Google. It looks like it's pretty much closed in July for construction, but will be back in business in August. Computer</a> History Museum</p>

<p>I feel bad. I have lived in the Bay Area all my life and have experienced few of these great suggestions!!!
We truly pay way to much to live here.....and after reading lists like this you realize why! No reason to go anywhere else----a staycation is just perfect!</p>

<p>I might add Yosemite National Park-----get up early and drive the 4 1/2 hour road trip---park the car and breath in the majesty----spend the night if you can, or just drive home embracing the memories. A must see for any American.</p>