As Charming as Parkmerced and the Outer Sunset may be, the rest of the Bay Area ain’t so bad. Not going home this summer? Make friends with someone who has a car and get to know what’s what.
1. Oakland (19.8 miles from campus)
San Francisco can feel like an island sometimes, what with water on three sides. Right across the bay, Oakland feels like the westernmost edge of mainland America. With one of the fastest rising rents in the United States (12.3 percent since last year), people are catching on to the east bay trends. Hang out in the East Bay sunshine by Lake Merritt, get a freshly squeezed greyhound at Cafe Van Cleef or see one of Oakland’s hot new bands at the Night Lite (all before the last BART home).
2. UC Berkeley (21.8 miles from campus)
SF State is a commuter school, we like it like that. But if you want a second shot at the college experience, brush up your chops and try and get into grad school at the number one public university in the world, according to Shanghai Rankings.
3. Half Moon Bay (24.3 miles from campus)
The San Mateo County coastline is beautiful. Drive down Highway 1 for some of the Bay Area’s finest fish’n’chips at Barbara’s Fish Trap, stroll historic Main Street in San Mateo County’s first real town and catch a wave at Mavericks before the winter big wave season.
4. Alice’s Restaurant and Skyline Boulevard (32.2 miles from campus)
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant down Skyline Boulevard. From Skyline, along the crest of the Santa Cruz mountain range, tucked away in a redwood grove and surrounded by vintage cars and motorcycles, is the restaurant that Woody Guthrie made famous. Alice’s is worth the drive alone, but make a day out of it by stopping to hike one of the trails along the way.
5. Castle Rock State Park (48.3 miles from campus)
Take all the rock climbing practice from Mission Cliffs, Dogpatch Boulders and Planet Granite and give the real thing a shot. Castle Rock State Park boasts over 31 miles of hiking, two overnight camp sites and some of the Bay Area’s finest rock climbing.
6. Santa Cruz (70.3 miles from campus)
Is Santa Cruz part of the Bay or not? Well, I guess it depends on where you’re from. But regardless, take a day to surf some of Northern California’s best breaks like Steamer’s Lane, or hang out at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, California’s oldest amusement park. Grab a scoop at Marianne’s Ice Cream and see a show at The Catalyst.
7. Muir Woods and Mount Tamalpais (18.5 miles from campus)
Get out to the world’s most visited redwood park. Just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge you can hike, bike ride and camp in Muir Woods. Mount Tamalpais, affectionately known as Mt. Tam, offers striking views of the North Bay, East Bay and Peninsula. Its popularity might make it hard to find a parking spot, but you live in San Francisco, you’re used to that.
8. Stinson Beach (25.4 miles)
Don’t let Ocean Beach set your standard for Northern California beaches. Just west of Muir Woods is Stinson Beach, a seaside town with a population of less than 650. Summer is whale-watching season, so catch the grey whales as they make their annual trip from Alaska to Baja California. Then go grab a drink and a bowl of clam chowder on the The Sand Dollar’s patio.