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San Francisco 
Bay Area & Beyond
Travel Guide!

Welcome to Explorer1.com! Your Source for Bay Area Travel Information.

The San Francisco Bay Area is surrounded by some of California’s best vacation destinations.  Whether you are looking for the perfect mountain retreat, romantic coastal getaway, wine tasting or water skiing on a crystal clear Alpine lake, you are just a few hours away from your perfect vacation destination. In fact, the area has so much to offer that it can be a little overwhelming for both the out-of-town visitor and local explorer alike.

That's where Explorer1.com's travel guide comes into play. We organize the best of what the San Francisco Bay Area and its surrounding destinations have to offer. Whether you are looking indoor or outdoor activities, fine dining, places to stay, events and festivals, or an area primer to determine which destination will best meet your travel plans – we can help you find it fast.

Our MENU allows you to easily explore the Region's top travel picks such as the best resort spas, golf courses, breweries, mountain bike trails, scenic train tours, hiking, and much more! The WHAT'S ON TAP provides a quick glance of the region's current major events & festivals, top seasonal activites, and some urgent travel advisories. Our Destination Explorer below gives you the ability to search a specific vacation location such as Half Moon BaySanta CruzNapa ValleyLake Tahoe, and many more.

Why Use Explorer1.com to Help Plan Your Next California Vacation?  

Unlike the cold, calculating algorithms that create search engine results and the multitude of Visitor Bureau Websites that are mandated to promote their locations and due paying members, Explorer1.com is free to independently experience vacation destinations in California and share our own, unbiased, opinions about the services and activities that we encounter. Yea us!
 
 
 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What's on Tap

Events

Winter Festivals & Events:

10th Annual Mendocino Crab and Wine DaysJanuary 22 – 31, 2016 

Mendocino, California – Recently listed as one of the Top 10 Seafood & Wine Festivals in Coastal Living Magazine.

SOS Seafood Festival – January 30, 2016

Half Moon Bay Harbor – This is a fun and educational festival featuring Chefs Pavilion with celebrity chefs' demos. 

Santa Cruz Bridal Expo – January 31, 2016   11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Santa Cruz, CA  – Check out Santa Cruz' best wedding vendors! 

Zinfandel Experience February 25 -27, 2016 

San Francisco, CA – A three-day wine and culinary extravaganza attracting wine lovers from around the world.

For more "top" events, click on our Festivals & Events page or select a specific travel destination from our Destination Explorer.

Attractions

Top Winter Attractions:

Snow Skiing in the Sierras

Lake Tahoe is home to 15 snow ski resorts and some of the best alpine and cross county snow skiing in the world. You're sure to find a ski resort and hotel that will meet your expectations.

Whale Watching – Dec. through May  

Elephant Seal Watching – December is breeding season. Año Nuevo State Reserve has a large colony of northern elephant seals that assemble there each winter.

 

Advisories

The Region's Fall Advisories:
Yes, it's still water, water, water! California is undergoing an extreme drought. If you are planning a lake vacation be sure to check about water levels. That rafting trip, fishing, or skiing can be impacted.

EXTREME fire danger. The drought has created a very dangerous combination of dry vegetation and no moisture in the air to help contain any fire. Please use extreme caution during your trip.  
  
Traffic Conditions. Traffic through major cities and extremely popular travel destinations can be challenging. Plan ahead to drive before and after commute hours. Go to www.caltrans.com to learn about road conditions. As a special note, Highway 92 in to and out of Half Moon Bay can be very difficult during the pumpkin season. Plan ahead and arrive early and leave late!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Destination Explorer

Looking for specific destination information? We got you covered. You can access our Santa CruzNapa ValleyHalf Moon BayLake TahoeMontereyYosemiteReno, and many more by simply clicking on the information blocks below or selecting a destination from the "Destination Explorer" menu option.

With a click of the mouse, you will be able to access information on local area hotels, motels, restaurants, resorts, eco-tourism, local attractions, weather, local maps, road conditions, area profiles, events and much…much more.

We hope that you will find Exporer1.com is the ultimate travel guide for California's Central Coast, Northern California, the Sierra Mountains, and Western Nevada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half Moon Bay, CA

Half Moon Bay

One of the smaller California coastal communities. It has plenty of open green space for outdoor activities. It’s also home to many unique shops and restaurants. The annual Pumpkin festival has the biggest draw to the region.

Here are some highlights

  • Great for quite, romantic getaways, and outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, walking and horseback riding.
  • Limited indoor and nightlife activities
  • Lots of outdoor activities such as horsbackriding, fishing
  • Generally, not a major tourist destination. The pace is very slow, relaxed.

Lassen

The Lassen area includes: Lassen Volcanic NP & Forest, Eagle Lake, Chester, Mineral, Hat Creek, Quincy

Recreation in the Lassen area centers on the two designated wilderness areas of Lassen and Castle Crags. Dominating the landscape for several hundred miles in all directions, Lassen looms 14,162 feet, a beautiful snow-cloaked massif, second only to Mount Rainier in height among the famous Cascade Range volcanoes.

Some of the highlights include:

  • See volcanic activity firsthand
  • Great camping
  • Low tourist activity. Great for remote getaways
  • Lots of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, horsebackriding, fishing.

Lake Tahoe

The Lake Tahoe area includes: South Lake, North Lake, Truckee, Incline Village, Stateline, Casinos, etc.

Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, straddled by the California-Nevada state line, Lake Tahoe is one of those special resort destinations that can cater to just about any interest. Whether you prefer an extreme hike in Desolation Wilderness Area, parasailing over the Lake's beautiful, blue-sapphire waters, or playing black jack and catching a stage show at one of Lake Tahoe's luxurious casinos, Lake Tahoe is a great choice.

Some highlights include:

  • Great restaurants, casinos and resorts
  • Spas
  • Great nightlife
  • Great beaches for sunbathing and water activities
  • Great hiking and nature walks
  • Historic sites
  • Many unique villages around the Lake

Mendocino Coast

Mendocino Coast includes Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Gualala, Ukiah

Mendocino is a very upscale coastal community. It is great for romantic getaways with lots of fine restaurants and art galleries.

Here are some highlights

  • Great for romantic getaways
  • Limited indoor and nightlife activities
  • Slow pace

Fort Bragg

A very cool coastal community with fun shops, eateries, and a good music scene.

Here are some highlights

  • A good alternative for families with kids.
  • Nice getaway for couples who enjoy a more casual environment with some cool nightlife.
  • Lots of outdoor activities: hiking, biking, fishing.
  • Not a big tourist destination, so the pace is medium paced

Monterey & Big Sur

The Monterey area includes: Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel, Pebble Beach

A popular tourist destination. It boasts the Monterey Bay Aquarium, museums, art galleries, fine restaurants and lots of nightlife and music scene. In addition to all the indoor activities, the area is home to some great open space suitable for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. And, of course. the Monterey Bay, home to some great ocean adventures such as fishing, boating, surfing and tide pool exploration

  • Good for romantic getaways -- especially for younger couples who love the nightlife!
  • Great family destination -- especially those with older children.
  • Lots of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing.
  • Great music scene
  • Lots of unique shops and eateries
  • Lots of bay activities such as boating, fishing, and beach combing
  • Major tourist destination. Fast pace, busy

Napa Valley

The Napa Valley area includes Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena, Yountville, Wine Country, etc

With its concentration of world class restaurants, wineries, and spas all embraced by beautiful mountains and perfectly manicured vineyards, Napa Valley is the ultimate getaway!

  • Great for romantic getaways
  • World class wine tasting
  • World class restaurants
  • World class spas
  • Renowned art galleries
  • Lots of unique shops and eateries
  • Some outdoor activities such as bike riding, walking, and hot air balloon rides
  • Major tourist destination. Fast pace, busy

San Francisco

San Francisco

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz County includes Santa Cruz, Capitola, Aptos, Felton, Boulder Creek

Whether your perfect vacation is to take in spectacular ocean views while strolling along sandstone cliffs, experiencing the exhilarating thrills and chills of a beachfront amusement park or listening to the rhythmic sounds of the ocean waves while you relax on a sun baked beach, Santa Cruz has something for everyone.

Santa Cruz has the perfect blend of beautiful beaches, majestic redwood forests, unique shops, gourmet restaurants and award-winning local wineries.

Here are some highlights:

  • Great family destination -- especially those with older children.
  • Great for couples who love the nightlife!
  • Great music scene
  • Lots of unique shops and eateries
  • Generally the warmest summer weather on the coast
  • Generally, the calmest beaches on the central coast
  • Lots of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, surfing.
  • The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, surfing and beaches make this a major tourist destination, so it can become very busy

Shasta Lake

The Shasta Lake area includes: Shasta Lake, Trinity Lake, Lewiston, Redding, etc.

The Shasta Unit is one of three units that comprise the Whiskeytown - Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area. It was established by Congress in 1965. These areas were recognized for their unique and varied recreation potential.

Shasta Lake forms the core of the Shasta Unit and offers a variety of outdoor activities including: boating, water-skiing, swimming, fishing, camping, picnicking, hiking, hunting, and mountain biking.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Great beaches for sunbathing and water activities
  • Great hiking and nature walks
  • Moderate tourist activity. Great for remote boating and camping getaways

Mount Shasta

The Mount Shasta area includes: Mt. Shasta, McCloud, Dunsmuir, Weed, Yreka

Recreation in the Mount Shasta area centers on the two designated wilderness areas of Mount Shasta and Castle Crags. Dominating the landscape for several hundred miles in all directions, Mount Shasta looms 14,162 feet, a beautiful snow-cloaked massif, second only to Mount Rainier in height among the famous Cascade Range volcanoes. No trails lead up Mount Shasta, but trails provide access to the Wilderness and the foot of the mountain.

Some of the highlights include:

  • See volcanic aftermath firsthand
  • Some say the area has a huge spiritual element to it
  • Great camping
  • Lots of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing.
  • Low tourist activity. Great for remote getaways

Sonoma

Sonoma

It's a diamond in the rough! Like its world renowned cousin - Napa Valley - the Sonoma region has plenty of world class wineries, but unlike Napa Valley, it isn't overrun by tourists. In addition to being more down-to-earth, its local TrainTown, cool Farmer's Market, historic sites, and outdoor activities, caters much more to kids.

Here are some highlights:
  • Not as posh as Napa Vlley, but still good for romantic getaways
  • World class wine tasting
  • Wonderful restaurants
  • great spas
  • Lots of unique shops and eateries
  • Lots of outdoor activities such as bike riding, walking, hiking, sight seeing, and hot air balloon rides
  • Moderate tourist destination. medium paced

Yosemite & Mono Lake

Yosemite Valley includes: Yosemite National Park, Sonora, Oakhurst, Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes

Yosemite National Park was one of the first wilderness parks in the United States. Consisting of 1,200 square miles, it is home to great waterfalls, deep valleys, grand meadows, giant sequoias, ancient glaciers and vast wilderness areas.

Carved from solid granite by rivers and glaciers, Yosemite Valley's spectacular rock formations are the Park's best known features. Visitors from around the world come to take in its amazing beauty. To connect with nature in all of its glory.

Here are some highlights:

  • Great family destination
  • Great Senior destination
  • Great camping
  • Lots of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, surfing.
  • Yosemite National Park is world renowned and is a major tourist destination. Extremely busy during peak tourist season

Reno

Reno

Whether your perfect vacation is experiencing the excitement of casino gambling and topnotch entertainment, strolling along the Truckee River, or seeking the exhilarating thrill of the outdoors with activities such as hiking and water skiing in the summer or snow skiing and snowboarding in the winter, Reno has something for just about everyone.

Reno has the perfect blend of beautiful desert landscapes, spectacular lakes and rivers, unique shops, gourmet restaurants and world class casinos.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

The famous Vegas Strip is home to some of the finest, most exciting resort hotels, casinos, and destination spas in the world. Along the Strip you'll find the pirate ships of Treasure Island, MGM Grand's movie themes, and the elegance of the Venetian Resort Casino and Wynn. While in Las Vegas, you can enjoy world class shows, restaurants, shopping, and theme parks.