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Best Fall Family Getaways Near San Francisco

There is no shortage of enjoyable things to do in America's favorite city and San Francisco in the fall has a definite family-focus vibe in the air. Along with its warm, comfortable, breezy climate, fall months offer clear skies, almost no rain and busy but not hectic tourist sites. All in all, fall is a great time to grab the kids and head to San Francisco and nearby scenic spots for short getaways the whole family can share together.

Walking Tours
San Francisco City Guides
c/o SF Public Library
100 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 557-4266

San Francisco is an infinitely walkable city and getting around on foot is often the best way to see the city's famed charms and diverse neighborhoods. Take a few guided walking tours and learn directly from folks who love and know the city best. San Francisco City Guides offers numerous tours led by knowledgeable, enthusiastic volunteer guides, and at no cost to you. Fall is a perfect time to take advantage of all that City Guides has to offer, and during October the group offers additional tours of lesser-known neighborhoods. Get out those new walking shoes while the weather is sunny and warm for the best family walks ever. Tours are free but donations are accepted and greatly appreciated.

Ferry Building Marketplace

One Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 983-8030

As a famous location with tons of history, the Ferry Building Marketplace is currently known Bay Area-wide for its year-round, top-of-the-line farmers market held every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. There are also smaller markets held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Saturday market occupies both the front and rear of the building with sweeping views of San Francisco Bay, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a cappuccino, hot chocolate or juice for the kids from any of the coffee merchants and cafes in the building. The markets showcase the best in local fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, cheeses, jams, specialty chocolates, dried fruits, breads, pastries, meats, eggs and more. With samples to boot, everyone will be pleased. The Thursday market presents a selection of artisan street foods such as grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, specialty sandwiches and ethnic foods. The Saturday market includes local restaurants offering hot meals. A bonus is the market provides an opportunity to learn about food, farms and agriculture. No wonder nearly 25,000 shoppers stop by the markets each week. After a farmers market visit, head behind the Ferry Building for the Sausalito Ferry to lovely Sausalito, a refreshing 30-minute ride across the Bay.

Related: Best Bay Area Hiking Spots



Sausalito Chamber of Commerce
1913 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 331-7262 ext. 10

How does this picturesque setting sound to you: a quaint seaside town and artists' colony with lush scenery, open marinas, scenic houseboats and café culture amid a backdrop of a golden bridge spanning the horizon? Named one of America's Happiest Seaside Towns by Coastal Living magazine, Sausalito fits this description well. If you take the ferry from San Francisco, you will step into the heart of this charming village. Sausalito offers interesting walks and tours to please the entire family, and great dining options as well. The town is home to two famed attractions. The Bay Model, the only one of its kind in the world, is where visitors have the unique opportunity to view the entire bay-delta system at a glance. The Bay Area Discovery Museum, with a mission to delight, engages and educates children through exploring the local environment. Recognized as a leading children's museum, it features hands-on art, science and environmental exhibitions and is the only U.S. children's museum located in a national park.


Muir Woods
Muir Woods National Monument
Mill Valley, CA 94941
(415) 388-2595

A mere 11 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, legendary Muir Woods is a true tree lover's paradise. This description only hints at the beautiful natural setting of this park. Muir Woods, a national monument, has a rich history and offers much to learn about and explore. There is incredible diversity in the greenery with redwoods dominating the scene. The kids will especially enjoy seeing the world's tallest type of tree, the Coast redwood, in addition to numerous other plants and animals. Many tour companies bring groups to Muir Woods daily, with most tours originating in downtown San Francisco or Fisherman's Wharf. Check local listings for tour packages.Related: One-Tank Trip to Downtown Mill Valley

Tomales Bay Foods is a popular Point Reyes merchant / Credit: Melanie Graysmith
Point Reyes National Seashore
1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
(415) 464-5100 x2

This fall is the perfect time to visit Point Reyes National Seashore. In commemoration of its 50th anniversary as part of our nation's National Park System, the bucolic area north of San Francisco is celebrating with a year-long celebration. The seashore is 25 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge and remains in a natural state as intended by former President John F. Kennedy who said 50 years ago that the peninsula should be saved as a national treasure. A dream for every level of hiker, the area offers numerous trails varying from one hour to six hours to complete. Contact the Visitor Center for occasional trail closure updates. Treat the family to a wonderful day here.

Melanie Graysmith is a freelance writer and artist based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. Melanie is a member of an independent filmmaking group and aims to spin her stories into film. Her work can be found at

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