Many people go on vacations and trips with their children. We definitely enjoy it. Sometimes you just need a trip without them. Having been over a year now since I have flown anywhere, I was so excited to meet my husband last weekend for our first kid-free vacation! We were going to do San Francisco and Napa in 3 days!
Since he was already out in San Francisco for work, I thought it would be fun if I met him out there and we spend a few days together without the kids. My mom graciously watched them for us and we started to plan everything out. San Francisco is one of our favorite places to visit. We’ve been there a handful of times and it never disappoints us.
I caught a very early flight into SFO that got me in at 10:30am. The hubby picked me up and we really had no agenda. All we knew is that we were prepared to eat, drink and sightsee without a minivan or diaper bag. We got our rental car and we were off. On a whim, we decided to NOT to the normal touristy things like Fisherman’s Wharf or Lombard Street. So we headed to the western side.
If you drive about 10 miles west of SFO you reach the beach! Ocean Beach to be exact. We have never walked along here before so we wanted to check it out. This beach is beautiful and perfect for family picnics and joggers. Just a short walk across the street and you find yourself in beautiful Golden Gate Park. Home to a Museum, Tea Garden, Recreational Play Center, Equestrian Field and even two windmills, this park has everything you need for an entire day out.
If you travel just a short drive (or walk) north and you will end up at Lincoln Park and the Cliff House. See the beautiful remains of the Sutro Baths and take in the spectacular views off the cliffs. It was such a beautiful day to look over the cliffs and watch the water crashing along the beach and breathe in the fresh air! We even got a view of the Golden Gate Bridge from one side.
We took time for a little lunch at one of the nearby restaurants and then we were ready for our next stop. Since the hubby had never been to the Muir Woods before, I really wanted to take him there. It had been years since I had been there myself. We drove through the Presido and over the Golden Gate Bridge. Only a few miles north and you reach your destination.
Wouldn’t you just know it. The park was FULL of visitors. We couldn’t even find a parking spot. So, we kept driving hoping to find a place to even pull over and no luck. But, we did discover that there was a beach at the end of road. We figured we would check it out. Welcome to Muir Beach…obviously I am in heaven anytime I’m at the water.
We didn’t want to stay at an overpriced downtown San Francisco hotel, so we opted for a more charming location just over the bridge. We had stayed in Mill Valley before and loved it. This time, we stayed a few miles up the road in a city called Larkspur, in Marin County. We met up with some friends who had also flown in from Chicago that day who were about to start their 2 week vacation. We met them in Mill Valley at a great restaurant, Tamalpie.
Sunday morning arrived and the plan was to head up to Napa for the day! Again, no particular agenda. We drove about 60 miles north to Calistoga, CA. We chose to just go there and start the Napa journey because its a really cute and quaint country town. We did our honeymoon bike tour up there and loved it. We visited the welcome center to gather a couple winery brochures and the nice employee there recommended a couple to go to.
And here we are at our first winery of the day: Tamber Bey. This beautiful winery in Calistoga was built in 2013 and it has all of the feels of being in a ranch. You can enjoy your wine inside the clubhouse or outside surrounded by the horses in their stables. The employees were so sweet and chatted with us for a long time while they educated us on their wines. The horses loved on us and even sneezed into my wine and nibbled on my shoulders!
After indulging in about 8 different wines there, we decided to purchase 2 bottles to take home with us. We were starving at this point so we drove down the road to look for some lunch. Oh boy were we in luck. We found this amazing little BBQ joint that had outdoor seating.
It was a little after 1 o’clock in the afternoon and we decided we would head over to another winery. We knew where we were going (a short 20 minute drive south towards the Napa Valley) but we just HAD to stop at the famous Napa sign for a quick photo and to look at some of the beautiful vines.
We reached our second destination of the day, the beautiful St. Supery Winery. We didn’t make a reservation there, which is usually required, but luckily they had room for us. We sat upstairs at the bar and sampled some great wines. We did bring 1 bottle home from here of one of their lovely Chardonnay’s.
By the end of that wine tasting, we decided to call it enough for the day. Although it seems like one could go from winery to winery to winery in a day – but believe me, after you’ve had like 10-15 samples of wine, you can really start to feel the buzz!
We left the beautiful winery and drove about 10 miles south to our hotel, just on the outskirts of downtown Napa. Newer in the area, the Senza Hotel is a beautiful hotel and luxury resort. Most of the rooms look out into vineyards and rolling hills. The furniture and accommodations are modern and comforting. It’s definitely a gem and we would stay there again in a heartbeat!
The hotel graciously hosts and wine and cheese reception and we took advantage of it. Luckily the rep from the Castello di Amorosa was there sampling their wines. We went to their winery last time we were here, so it was great to have their wine again. We ate in downtown Napa that night. I wish I could say that we had an appetite, but we were so full from the wine tastings and lunch that we just had a very small dinner and then called it a night in our relaxing suite.
With the beautiful views of the vineyards and even a hot air balloon in the air, it was time to wrap up our trip. We headed back to San Francisco and took in the beautiful sites one last time. We knew we wanted to grab a quick lunch by the water before catching our flight. We headed over to Pier 45 to grab a clam chowder bowl and some calamari and checked out the old war vessels.
We certainly had a great time on our trip and of course we missed the kids. (They did just fine with grandma, by the way!) We realized that in a couple days, you can really take a breather and enjoy some great moments with your significant other. San Francisco and Napa will always be magical in our eyes. There is so much to do and see out there, I never get tired of the sights and sounds of the beautiful west coast!
Don’t be afraid to do non-touristy things!
Venture into the outskirts of town
Sometimes NOT planning out your day can be rewarding
Enjoy the local sights and sounds
Stay and eat at venues that are unique
Enjoy your time together, that is the whole purpose of the trip!
Gorgeous! San francisco is on the top of my u.s. travel bucket list!
What a fun and beautiful trip! I hope i get to visit the area with my family some day.
you and your husband are the cutest! I have always wanted to visit Napa and san francisco. my husband is from solvang but we have never made it up that far north to visit. one day I am going to use your tips when i visit.
Thank you!! Oh I love Solvang! Been there many times!!! I’m sure you’ll get to northern CA sometime 🙂
What a lovely trip! SF is one of my favorite cities to visit!
wow! it looks absolutely beautiful there!
I LOVE Golden Gate Park AND the Sutro BAths! I’m glad you got to spend time there. My husband is from Fairfield, which is right next to Napa Area so we’ve seen a lot of the area btu I’ve never stayed there overnight, looks like you guys had a great time!
We did! Thank you!