There's a reason people who visit the San Francisco Bay Area want to move, and people who live in the Bay Area never want to leave (real estate prices be damned) -- and it's not just the weather (as any San Franciscan will tell on on a chilly July day). San Francisco's skyline sparkles on a clear day, and it's just as magical encircled in tendrils of fog. But beyond the city, a veritable treasure trove of visual delights await, from rolling vineyards to hilltop vistas to the rugged California beaches.
These 10 views will make you weak in the knees. They'll also make your friends jealous, so be sure and upload that money shot (or many). While you're at it, share your photos with offMetro SF and be entered to win amazing prizes in our photo contest.
1. Work for it:ￂﾠMount Tamalpaisￂﾠ| Panoramic Highwayￂﾠ|ￂﾠMill Valley
In exchange for a light dosage of blood, sweat, and tears, Mt. Tamￂﾠoffers a stunning bird's eye view of redwood forests, oak groves, and the huge, glittering ocean. Hike or bike to the summit. (mttam.net,ￂﾠparks.ca.gov)
Directions Take Golden Gate Transit Bus 92 toward Manzanita. Get off in Marin City at Donahue and Terners and transfer to Marin Transit Bus 61 toward Brighton Avenue. Get off at Panoramic Highway and Pan Toll Road.
2. The great escape:ￂﾠRiver's Endￂﾠ| 11048 Highway 1ￂﾠ|ￂﾠJenner-by-the-Sea
Named for the place where the Russian River meets the Pacific, this unassuming bluff-top restaurant and inn on the Sonoma Coast reminds us that California is paradise. (ilovesunsets.com)
Directions Because of its secluded locale, driving is the only way to get there. Consult the map below for directions.
3. Fired up:ￂﾠLa Costaneraￂﾠ| 8150 Cabrillo Highwayￂﾠ|ￂﾠMontara
The only thing better than the Michelin-rated Peruvian cuisine at this gorgeous Half Moon Bay restaurant is the beachfront deck, replete with fire pits. (lacostanerarestaurant.com)
Directions TakeￂﾠBARTￂﾠto the Daly City station and transfer toￂﾠSamTransￂﾠbus number 110. At the Linda Mar stop, transfer toￂﾠSamTransￂﾠbus 294 and get off at 2nd Street. (Visitￂﾠsamtrans.comￂﾠfor more information.)
4. Vine in the sky:ￂﾠSterling Vineyardsￂﾠ| 1111 Dunaweal Laneￂﾠ|ￂﾠCalistoga
Gondola rides, Napa Valley's rolling hills, and world-class vino. Need we say more? (sterlingvineyards.com)
Directions Hop aboard theￂﾠBaylinkￂﾠVallejo ferry, and then take theￂﾠNapa VINEￂﾠroute 10 bus to Calistoga.
5. Adrenaline rush: Indian Rock Parkￂﾠ| 950ￂﾠ Indian Rock Avenueￂﾠ|ￂﾠBerkeley
Beginner and veteran rock climbers alike will go gonzo for Berkeley's magnificent, craggy rock outcrop. But be careful: If the climb doesn't halt your breath, the views might. (ci.berkeley.ca.us)
Directions TakeￂﾠBARTￂﾠto the Downtown Berkeley station. Walk to Shattuck Avenue and Center Street, and take bus number 18 toward Albany. Get off at Sutter Street and Hopkins Street and walk north to Indian Rock Avenue.
6. Dine at the top of the world:ￂﾠMeritage at The Claremontￂﾠ| 41 Tunnel Roadￂﾠ|ￂﾠBerkeley
From its post in the Oakland Hills, this opulent restaurant offers a wine-driven menu and some of the best views imaginable. (meritageclaremont.com)
Directions TakeￂﾠBARTￂﾠto the Rockridge station. Take Bus 49 to Claremont and Ashby and walk to Tunnel Road.
7. The deck out:ￂﾠHorizons Restaurantￂﾠ| 558 Bridgewayￂﾠ| Sausalito
Terrible puns aside, sipping a Bloody Mary on this sun-drenched deck is your recipe for a perfect weekend afternoon. (horizonssausalito.com)
Directions Take theￂﾠGolden Gateￂﾠferry to Sausalito.
8. Drink it all in: ￂﾠSilverado Vineyardsￂﾠ|ￂﾠ6121 Silverado Trailￂﾠ| Napa
Drink fine wines on the terraces of this lovely winery, where views of Napa Valley abound. (silveradovineyards.com)
Directions Take theￂﾠBaylinkￂﾠferry to Vallejo and catch theￂﾠNapa VINEￂﾠroute 10 bus to Yountville.
9. Rock out:ￂﾠGreek Theatreￂﾠ| 2001 Gayley Roadￂﾠ| Berkeley
This impressive amphitheater on the UC Berkeley campus draws the big bands for its incredible acoustics, but we're pretty sure the fans love the views just as much. (calperformances.org)
Directions TakeￂﾠBARTￂﾠ(Richmond line)ￂﾠto the Downtown Berkeley stop and make your way through the campus. (You can also catch bus 52 at University and Shattuck and take it to Gayley Road.) The theater is just off Gayley Road.
10. Golden Gate gazer:ￂﾠTheￂﾠCapriceￂﾠ| 2000 Paradise Driveￂﾠ|ￂﾠTiburon
Offering misty views of the Golden Gate Bridge and French/Italian cuisine, this small Tiburon restaurant is a treat. (thecaprice.com)
Directions TakeￂﾠtheￂﾠBlue and Gold Fleetￂﾠferry to Tiburon. Walk east along the coast to the restaurant.
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