Who needs a vacation when you can take a baycation right here? There are so many awesome places to see in the Bay so you don't need to book plane tickets or drive hundreds of miles. We're sharing some of our favorite things to do and places to go for fun day trips and spontaneous weekend camping. And don't worry about gear and equipment; you can rent bikes, tents, backpacks, stoves, and now, even stand up paddle boards from us for all your weekend outings.
If you've crossed your local spots off your bucket list, check out other parts of the bay you haven't visited in a while. There are completely new adventures waiting just across the bay (and across the 680).
Are you looking to destress and disconnect? Reserve your stand up paddle board at our Santa Rosa store and then head up to Lake Sonoma for a calming, stand up paddleboard session. The beautiful lake feeds into multiple creeks you can explore. On your way back, stop along one of the many delicious wineries for a well-deserved glass.
If you plan on spending the weekend at Russian River, make camp at Willow Creek Environmental Campground. The campsite is right on the river, and since you don’t need reservations, you can snag a spot the day you get there. It’s also close to the beach, redwood forests, and, of course, wineries so you can have any kind of adventure while you’re there.
This park is a popular favorite for north bay mountain bikers (so you south bay mountain bikers should check it out). There are tons of trails to follow that will loop you through and around the park so you’ve got nothing but time to rip and ride them. Just make sure your trail adventures lead you to Lake Ilsanjo for a cool dip or just a scenic snack break.
Mt. Diablo is known for having some of the funnest mountain biking trails in the Bay Area! Rent a demo mountain bike at Sports Basement Walnut Creek and follow this route to the top of the summit for beautiful views. If you’re looking for tamer trails, Shell Ridge is adjacent to the mountain and has plenty of trails to hike or run. It gets pretty toasty so bring plenty of water!
You really don’t have to go far to bike around Lake Merritt.Take your family for an easy ride around the lake. Stop off at Children’s Fairyland for your kids to become real-life princes and princesses. The Lake Merritt Gardens have plenty of cool plants and flowers to take artsy pictures of. When you’ve all worked up an appetite, Tacos Mi Rancho will satisfy everyone’s hunger.
You can spend your whole weekend here and it still wouldn’t be enough time to see it all. Up in the Oakland hills, you can camp, bike, hike, and even swim! Explore miles of forest on your bike or your feet. Stop by Robert’s Regional Recreation Area in the park so your kids can enjoy the pool and jungle gym. Plus, the Chabot Space and Science Center is nestled right next to the park so you and your family can nerd out about space!
If swimming in the San Francisco Bay is on your bucket list, this weekend is the perfect time to cross it off. Rent a wetsuit and cap from our Presidio store, then walk or bike over to Aquatic Park just down the road. Once you acclimate, you’ll be swimming laps like nobody’s business. When you’re done and dried off, head down to Pier 39 for a warm bread bowl of clam chowder.
Experienced bikers will enjoy the views that Twin Peaks offers as a reward for making it up steep, windy roads. Two-tired folks can follow Twin Peaks Boulevard to the top. If you’re getting up there on your two feet, start at the base on Crestline Drive. Don’t forget to take a victory picture at the top (and tag us on Instagram so we can see it)! After flying back down, visit Zazie's for a delicious chicken dinner and glass of wine. You know, to replenish your nutrients.
Everyone wants to get on the Golden Gate, but what about what’s on the other side? Mt. Tamalpais and China Camp are some of the best places to feel like you’re camping in your backyard without actually camping in your backyard (which is especially difficult if you live in an apartment). You don't need to make reservations but make camp at Bootjack or Pantoll Campground early to claim your spot. Then hike up the Bootjack Trail for beautiful views along the creek. China Camp's Back Ranch Meadows Campground, is perfect for playing on the beach and taking a hike. You can even rent a demo mountain bike at our Presidio store to take on some of the park’s trails.
The south bay’s hidden gem for stand up paddleboarding is Lexington Reservoir. Rent your SUP from our Campbell store then get some peace and quiet on the reservoir. You’ll need to get your SUP checked in (there is a small fee) but after that, it’ll be smooth sailing. If hiking is your scene, you can walk along the beautiful Lexington Reservoir Trail Loop. When you've worked up an appetite grab some falafel and a kebab at Cafe Artemis which just so happens to be next to Sports Basement in Campbell.
For some saltwater scenes, Pescadero State Beach is a favorite in the South Bay. Enjoy a relaxing walk on the beach and the marsh behind it and be on the lookout for all kinds of cool wildlife. Road cyclists will love the San Gregorio Loop that rides along the ocean on Highway 1 and then past towering redwoods. Make sure to go south on Highway 1 to minimize strong headwinds. And whether you’re on two wheels or four, make sure to stop at Arcangeli Grocery Co for the best artichoke bread you will ever have.
If Big Basin is booked up, try a walk-in campground at Castle Rock. Set up camp at the Castle Rock Trail Camp for beautiful views! Plus, the park is still near Big Basin so you can still explore your favorite trails. Experienced backpackers will love taking on the State Park Trifecta hike that goes through several state parks on 30 miles of trail. Bonus points for collecting maps from all the parks!