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The Perfect Long Weekend In The Bay Area

Residents know, and visitors quickly learn, that San Francisco micro-climates follow their own quirky calendars and mix it up with surprises through all 24 hours of the day. It's generally agreed that we save some of the very best weather for fall when that signature fog dissipates. Perhaps you're building your own bucket list of great ideas for good-weather adventures in and near the city -- here are a few more picks. Have we missed one of your personal favorites?

Golden Gate Overlook
Off Lincoln Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 561-5300

Take a hike or a bike, or just grab your sneakers as there are magnificent natural surroundings for appreciating special views without even leaving the city limits. Explore curious ruins at Sutro Baths, take on the sand ladder challenge at Baker Beach, tackle Telegraph Hill's flowered Filbert Steps to Coit Tower or mount the mosaic Moraga Steps leading to a lone bench atop aptly named Grand View Park. The newest city spot for a spectacular Golden Gate Bridge view was created for the bridge's 75th birthday in 2012. Framed by century-old trees, this vantage point is designed to perfectly align the north and south bridge towers. Find it at the convergence of three major park trails in the Presidio.


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

These Sequoia sempervirens are among the tallest living things on the planet, standing serene and majestic in a forest spared from logging by good fortune and philanthropy just over a century ago. A mind-boggling 1,200-year history is marked off by concentric tree rings dating to the collapse of the Mayan civilization and Viking Age occupation of the future Kingdom of England. While there are older and bigger coastal redwoods, this national treasure at the base of Mt. Tam is only 11 miles from the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Six miles of trails through the redwoods connect to a further 60 miles of trails within the must-visit, much-loved picturesque Mount Tamalpais State Park.

Half Moon Bay Golf Links
Two Miramontes Point Road
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 726-1800

Channel your inner Arnold Palmer on one of these two public golf courses that feel nothing but private. Choose the newer Ocean Course where fabulous Pacific views get even better high up on the bluffs' last three holes, often called among the best anywhere. You'll need to choose between focusing on your putting skills or snapping great photos. Afterwards, celebrate your best game in grand Scottish style with a Glenmorangie at the Ritz-Carlton's bar, just steps away. Make it on a Thursday and you'll find the hotel lounge has burgers, beer and jazz special from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. From Civic Center, it's 29 miles to your tee-off.

Related: Fore! Most Affordable Golf Courses in San Francisco

Domaine Carneros
1240 Duhig Road (off Highway 121)
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 716-2788

On weekends, wine country beckons. Heading toward Napa and Sonoma, you'll spot the landmark neo-château of Domaine Carneros located in the AVA that straddles both counties at a family-owned winery founded by Champagne Taittinger in 1987. The Carneros region is best known for its cool climate and maritime influences, making it the perfect terroir to grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, two of the essential varietals in award-winning sparkling wines from the first and only American sparkling wine producer with 100-percent certified organic estate vineyards. Reserve to indulge in caviar or artisan cheeses served on the terrace, for tastings in flights or to take the estate tour. Domaine Carneros is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:45 p.m.

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

Pack in a full day focused on the waterfront. Arrive early by historic trolley for the Saturday bustle of the California-certified Ferry Building farmers' market. Consider staying for a free morning cooking demo and noon-time walking tour led by a San Francisco City Guide, also free. Or grab a quick, local, sustainable, seasonal, organic bite and some artisan brew while discussing the options of a ferry ride to Sausalito or to Alcatraz. On the last weekend of each month, catch the Muni 108 bus to Treasure Island Flea to prowl around stalls for antiques and bric-a-brac. Save time to be amazed by the intersection of art and science at the newly expanded Exploratorium on Pier 15, and later on, catch The Bay Lights twinkling from dusk to 2 a.m. during evenings through March 2015.

Related: Best Day Trips for Under $100 in the South Bay Area

Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. A transplanted New Yorker, she has traveled throughout the world as the Big Apple's official tourism representative. She served as organizer for three Royal Visits to America. As an international relocation consultant, Laurie assisted more than 400 families with overseas moves and is a proud mother of two, thoroughly bi-cultural children. Her work can be found on
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