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5 Small Town Getaways in Northern California

These quaint little towns will leave you wishing the weekend wouldn't end.

By / November 10, 2015

 

Time to get the heck outta dodge! Check out these 5 small-town day trips or weekend getaways all within driving distance of the Bay.

 

Orr hot springs

Orr Hot Springs

 

Ukiah 
The Investment: 1 Day or Weekend Getaway (2 hour drive) 
The Sell: Redwoods, skinny dipping, and abandoned hospital turned Buddhist temple
What to do: Take a hike through Montgomery Woods State Reserve and marvel at the mega trees. Physical activity—phew! You deserve a drink. Head to Ukiah Brewing Company, the country’s first certified organic brewpub. Post pint, soak your tootsies and such in a private outdoor, naturally heated bathtub at Orr Springs—a clothing optional, hippy-dippy hot spring oasis in the middle of the forest. If that hasn’t left you feeling zen enough, check out the City of 10,000 Buddhas, one of the country’s first Chinese buddhist temples.

 

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Cypress Tree Tunnel

 

Point Reyes Peninsula 
The Investment: One Day or Weekend Getaway (1.5 hour drive)
The Sell: Oysters n’ nature n’ stuff

What to do: Fine, we cheated. Point Reyes Peninsula isn’t just one small town, but a stretch of coast spotted with make-you-wanna-hurl they’re so charming towns. Start in boho Bolinas (if you can find the sign), and grab breakfast at Coast Cafe. Head to Alamere Falls and marvel at Mother Nature’s sorcery. If you’re into lighthouses, Point Reyes has a good one. For a guaranteed 25 Instagram likes, be sure to drive through the Cypress Tree Tunnel. If you weren’t able to score a reservation at HIOC, The Marshall Store is a great alternative to shuck and suck. Too tired to make the drive home? Spend the night in a private cabin on the water at Nick’s Cove. Take in a calm morning in a kayak or on a paddle board before heading back to the city. Boom. Nature. 

 

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Anderson Valley Brewing Company by Henry Zbyszynski via Flickr Licensed by CC 2.0

 

Boonville 
The Investment: One Day or Weekend Getaway (2.5 hour drive)
The Sell: Wine, farms, beer, farms, good vibes, farms

What to do: With a name like Boonville, can you really go wrong? This little Anderson Valley gem is surrounded by sprawling hills, great wine, and their very own language. We’ll refrain from the wine talk because there are definitely people who do that better than us, but we will tell you to pick up a six pack of Anderson Valley Brewing Company beer and sling some friz on the Brewery’s very own free disc golf course. Or sip some Bite Hard local cider on your private deck at the Boonville Hotel. If you like cheese or if you have a heartbeat, visit Pennyroyal’s artisanal cheese farm where you can tour the facility and chow down on some cheddar. There’s also great hiking trails in the area and but, nahh, food and booze.

 

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Mossbrae Falls by CheWei Chang via Flickr licensed by CC 2.0

 

Mt. Shasta
The Investment: A Weekend (5 hour drive)
The Sell: Bigfoot, waterfalls, and winter sports

What to do: If you’re a brooding city dweller looking to escape the mundane failings of industrial squalor—or if you just don’t want to talk to anyone for an entire weekend—head to Shasta. Shasta might be best known for the OG sasquatch sighting, but it’s also the inspiration for that too-pretty-to-be-true oil painting you see in your dentist’s office. Check out Mossbrae Falls or for an easy but beautiful hike. Trek around Castle Lake to Heart Lake—a lake shaped like, you guessed it, a heart. Do Airbnb or VRBO for the most authentically rustic places to lay your head. If you want to change up your Tahoe ski routine, hold out ‘til December when Mt. Shasta Ski officially opens.

 

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Pigeon Point Lighthouse

 

Pescadero 
The Investment: One Day or Weekend Getaway (1.5 Hours)
The Sell: Glamping, goats, and sick views

What to do: The drive down is half the treat, so take your time. Stop at Highway 1 Brewing Company and be on the lookout for the Jalapeño saison. Not always available, but if it is, tap that. Stretch your legs again at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse—one of the tallest in the country. It’s also a hostel if you’re into that kind of thing. Plan to spend some time at Harley Farms and hang with some fancy, friendly goats who also happen to make award-winning cheeses (we like cheese, can you tell?). If you’re the kind of person who usually has the knee-jerk reaction to slap your friends who suggest camping, Costanoa might be more your speed. Splurge for a tent bungalow so you can face-plant straight onto your heated mattress at night.

Comments

8 Comments

  1. JoAnn Foley

    Please don’t write about where I live – The town isn’t so cute that it makes people want to hurl, but the Disneyland writeups make me want to: articles like this help attract way too many tourists, causing tons of toilet paper and other trash piled up in the outdoors, demands on water and septic, traffic accidents on rural roads, lack of parking, and increased crime. Businesses, journalists all benefit from the crowds and selling food, goods, and advertising, but those who live here don’t profit from or appreciate the onslaught of tourists. How would you like this to happen in your neighborhood?

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