In no particular order right now, just to get some information in once place...
Briefly, "What" means just that. "Where" is a rough location (city, maybe county). "How Far" is an unverified ball-park guess at how far away it is in hours (distance is largely irrelevant). The time may be linked to an on-line map. "Other" means what other stuff do I know of in that area that might be interesting. Most of the places are linked to pages about them. Most home pages have price info for the non-free things.
|TheTech Museum of Innovation||San Jose||0:20-0:30||They have an IMAX theater, among other cool things.|
|Sequoia National Park||Three Rivers (Fresno county)||3:00 - 4:00?||Don't know.|
|Yosemite National Park||Yosemite||4:00 - 5:00?||Don't know.|
|Monterey Bay Aquarium||Monterey||1:30 - 2:00||Seafood. Historic stuff.|
|Lick Observatory - Visitors||Mt. Hamilton (4,200 feet)||0:30 - 1:00||Mt. Hamliton Grandview Restaurant|
|Tour San Francisco||San Francisco||0:45 - 1:00||These are links to guided tours. We can also just head up and wander around. Might want to see Morrison Planetarium in Golden Gate Park.|
|Visit Alcatraz Island||San Francisco Bay||1:00||Don't know.|
|Winchester Mystery House||San Jose||0:15 - 0:20||Don't know.|
|Visit Santa Cruz||Santa Cruz||1:00||Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Lighthouse Field State Beach, Beaches, etc.|
|Visit Half Moon Bay||Half Moon Bay||0:45||Beach, Shopping, Stuff along Hwy-1|
|Visit Big Sur||Big Sur||2:30 - 3:00||Various, costline, sights, parks, etc.|
|Napa - Wine Country||Napa Valley||2:00||Picnic, Wine Tasting and Tours (I like St. Supery), Small Shops, Hot Springs|
|di Rosa Preserve||Napa||2:00||This is an interesting mix of nature and museum. From the special I saw on TV, it looks like it'd be interesting to visit. Nearby: Sugarloaf Ride State Park, and Ferguson Observatory|
|Driving Tour of the Bay Area & Coast||All Over||2:00 - 4:00||That's a round trip estimate, depending on where exactly we go. (more below)|
It's rather neat to see what's visible in just a few hours of driving starting from my apartment. You can see the Santa Cruz Moutains and the Diablo Range from where I live. We can ride north up I-280 to San Francisco. Then we can hop on Highway 1 and drive south along the cost, hitting towns like Pacifica and Half Moon Bay (among others). We'll see cliffs and shoreline and beaches. We can head south toward Santa Cruz and cut back east on Route 84 which goes through the Santa Cruz Mountains (a fun drive) and gives a couple of good views of the Bay.
There are lots of fun variations on that trip, too. All depends on how much you want to see and how much driving you're up for.
If you really want to drive, it's possible to go to Lake Tahoe, Santa Barbara, and more.
Here are some random other links that might prove interesting...
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