California Bucket List ~ San Francisco Bay Area

I’m so excited to write this post today, because aside from one day visiting Yosemite National Park, this is probably the area I’m most excited to visit someday in California! We’ve often talked about just taking a giant road trip to see the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean and then turning back around again!


  • USS Hornet Sea, Air, and Space Museum: This naval ship has become a state-of-the-art museum.


  • Benicia Capitol State Historic Park: Take a guided tour to learn about an important time in California’s history.

Bodega Bay

  • Sonoma Coast State Park: Filled with long sandy beaches and secluded coves.

Boulder Creek

  • Big Basin Redwoods State Park: This is the state’s oldest park and is filled with a redwood forest.


  • Petrified Forest: Take a tour through petrified redwoods.


  • Mt. Diablo State Park: Learn about the history of the mountain and the area.


  • Jelly Belly Candy Company: Learn how jelly beans are made on this fun interactive tour.


  • Salt Point State Park: Over 20 miles of hiking trails provide panoramic views.


  • Sugarloaf Ridge State Park: Explore a self-guided nature trail along Sonoma Creek.


  • John Muir National Historic Site: Explore the life and legacy of John Muir.

Mill Valley

  • Mt. Tamalpais State Park: Hike among the redwood groves.
  • Muir Woods National Monument: Surround yourself in a redwood forest.


  • Montara State Beach: Explore tide pools and stay overnight in a lighthouse!

Mountain View

  • Computer History Museum: Learn about Silicon Valley icons and the history of computers.


  • Oakland Zoo: Their gondola ride to the California Trail sounds particularly interesting!


  • Ano Nuevo State Park: Take a hike to see the elephant seals!
  • Butano State Park: Explore a quiet canyon and bubbling creeks among the redwoods.

San Francisco

  • Alcatraz: Take a tour of the famous prison.
  • Andy Goldsworthy Sculptures at the Presidio: Works of art made from fallen trees.
  • Aquarium of the Bay: Explore local marine life along San Francisco’s walk-able waterfront.
  • Cable Car Museum: Of course no visit to San Francisco is complete without learning about the cable car.
  • Coit Tower: The staple of San Francisco’s skyline, you can take an elevator to the top.
  • Fort Point National Historical Site: Learn more about the history of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area: Filled with numerous walking trails.
  • Pier 39: Filled with dining and entertainment options, as well as the world famous sea lions.
  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park: Explore the maritime history of the Pacific Coast, located in Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • San Francisco Zoo: This zoo is nestled up against the Pacific Ocean.

Santa Clara

  • Intel Museum: Discover the technology that changed our world.

Santa Cruz

  • Santa Cruz Surfing Museum: Explore over 100 years of surfing history housed in a lighthouse!

Santa Rosa

  • Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center: Learn about this entire Peanuts gang!


  • Bay Area Discovery Museum: Located at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, this museum offers winding tunnels and tide pools to explore.

All attractions can be found in the 2019 California Travel Guide.



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