Must-Sees On a Bay Area Road Trip

A California coast road trip is one of those things that’s on pretty much everyone’s bucket list, but doing the entire coast can be overwhelming, so a lot of times travelers opt to break it up into sections and do them at different times.

The Bay Area is a beautiful, unique part of California that shouldn’t be missed, so what should you know before doing this area?

Let’s say you’re renting an RV in San Jose using Outdoorsy, or anywhere in the area, where should you make sure that you stop along the way?

These locales are in no particular order, since you’re starting or ending destination could vary, but they just give you an overview of some of the highlights to keep in mind.

Big Sur

Big Sur is around 145 miles from San Francisco and is quite possibly one of the most beautiful spots in all of California, and maybe the world.

Big Sur has plenty of luxury lodging options, but if you’re RVing, you can stay at one of the many sites in the area, ranging from rustic to more high-end.

You can of course hike at Big Sur, and you might also want to consider visiting the Esalen Hot Springs.

San Jose

We mentioned possibly renting your RV and starting out in San Jose, so while you’re there, think about sightseeing.

Santana Row is a beautiful shopping facility, but there are other options as well such as a visit to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph.

Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay is north from Big Sur, and you can visit as an example, the Point Lobos State Reserve in Carmel, and then continue to Monterey Bay.

Monterey Bay is known for its amazingly fresh seafood, as well as the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The area is also home to unique independent galleries in Carmel-By-the-Sea, while Pebble Beach features world-class golf.

Santa Cruz

If you’re more a free spirit, you might be interested in going northward from Monterey Bay toward Santa Cruise. It’s a beach town where you’ll find surfers and paddleboarders, but you’ll also be close to the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, and the Wilder Ranch State Park.

If it’s warm, you might stop at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Santa Cruz also has sustainable farms offering tours. You can often watch how they make certain items, such as jams, and there are options where you can buy lunch or listen to live music, depending on which farm you’re at.


It’s no surprise that traveling in California can get expensive, particularly if you’re anywhere near the Bay Area, but Calistoga, which is about 75 miles from San Francisco, is a more budget-friendly stop along the way.

The town itself seems like an old west town, and there are also petrified redwood forests that turned to stone following a volcano eruption.

Finally, another Bay Area road trip option worth checking out is Point Reyes, which is only about 35 miles from San Francisco. It offers a lot of outdoor activities like kayaking and hiking, plus there’s a lighthouse you can visit and places where you can get fresh oysters at a great price.

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