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What are the best scenic drives in the Bay Area?

Posted on November 14, 2020

What are the best scenic drives in the Bay Area? Don’t worry, we’re local San Francisco travel experts and we LOVE to share our beautiful Bay Area with you! At Spark Experiences, we value those meaningful moments during a journey just as much as we value the destination. We love showing off the most beautiful views during our San Francisco tours, ensuring a scenic drive that you can enjoy.

It helps that we have panoramic windows in our Tesla Model X, so you won’t miss a thing!

Scenic drive near San Francisco - Spark Experiences

The Best Scenic Drives in the Bay Area

Based on the destination, there are countless pretty road trips to enjoy in the Bay Area. With several parks and conservation areas in the region, plus our world-famous Napa Valley and Sonoma County wine country, the topography in the Bay Area is simply stunning.

And we can’t forget the gorgeous Pacific coastline!

California coastal view

If you’re hoping to do these scenic drives in the San Francisco area, then we highly recommend you hire a private guide to truly enjoy the views! There’s nothing worse than missing the beautiful vista because you’re navigating unfamiliar terrain and worrying about traffic and parking. A private guide takes away all that stress so you can enjoy every moment in complete comfort. Feel free to peruse our San Francisco tours for inspiration, and you can always contact us if you’re looking for a specific scenic tour!

We believe that the journey itself is a beautiful part of every special experience. And San Francisco is such a special place, we know you’ll make magical memories here.

For the best scenic drives in the Bay Area, here are some of our favorites…

The Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1)

The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is a classic California road trip journey beloved for generations. The Northern California section of the PCH is a true stunner, with beautiful beaches, the iconic Pigeon Point Lighthouse, and picturesque Half Moon Bay drive. This is a fantastic stretch of road that we love sharing with our guests during a custom private day tour of San Francisco and the Bay Area.

The Panoramic Highway to Muir Woods

We love visiting Muir Woods National Monument, taking visitors and locals alike into one of the most stunning areas in the Bay Area. The coastal redwoods are simply breathtaking in their height and beauty. But it’s not just the destination that makes this day trip from San Francisco so special!

The drive from San Francisco to Muir Woods touches along the Panoramic Highway. You could also carry on after visiting Muir Woods and circle around the entire park toward Stinson Beach before heading back to the city. This has to be one of the best scenic drives in the Bay Area!

Scenic drive from San Francisco to Muir Woods with flowers and greenery and mountains in the distance

The Great Highway

This short stretch of road is actually a very scenic drive in San Francisco itself! Hugging the coastline, you can enjoy views over the water as we skirt the city streets. We could easily include this scenic drive in your custom San Francisco tour with Spark Experiences.

The Cliff House by the ocean near San Francisco

La Honda Road (State Route 84)

This stretch takes you from Silicon Valley to the coast via a beautiful drive through protected natural spaces. A truly lovely escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, this scenic drive isn’t easily done on a Silicon Valley day tour from San Francisco, but could certainly be an option for a longer visit to the Bay Area.

The 49-Mile Scenic Drive

The 49-Mile Scenic Drive was designed to show off the highlights of the city of San Francisco. This is certainly an option if you want to do a self-guided tour of the city, navigating your own way and on your own time. The route is a loop covering much of SF and its popular hot-spots.

San Francisco city street between skyscrapers at dusk

Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35)

This is a classic and certainly one of the best scenic drives in the Bay Area. Highway 35, more often called Skyline Boulevard, boasts beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific coastline. This is a lovely drive for a weekend getaway from the city, giving you a different perspective on the cityscape and the tech hub of Silicon Valley as well.

Grizzly Peak Boulevard

This curvy road boasts phenomenal views over the San Francisco Bay, especially at sunset. It leads off Skyline Boulevard overlooking Oakland and Berkeley and is easily accessible on a San Francisco day trip!

View over San Francisco Bay from Grizzly Peak Boulevard at sunset

Saint Helena Highway in Napa Valley

A day trip to Napa Valley from San Francisco is the perfect opportunity to explore our beautiful region and its world-class wines. Highway 29 takes you through Napa for a very pretty, scenic drive in the Bay Area. If you’re interested in wine country tours, we are always happy to oblige!

The Silverado Trail

The Silverado Trail is a stunning country road through Napa Valley and it’s the one we prefer for our Napa Valley private wine tours. There is typically less traffic here and you can bask in the beautiful scenery along the way as we meander through Wine Country. Trust us…a day spent along these rolling, winding roads accompanied by several wine tastings is best done with the safety of a private guide!

Red wine glasses being raised in cheers

Sonoma County: Driver’s Choice!

Another favorite for us, we love taking guests on private Sonoma wine tours and meandering through this beautiful region. With several scenic drives to choose from, you’re sure to enjoy the ride.

Take Green Valley Road, Joy Road, or Occidental Road; hop on Bodega Highway or Bohemian Highway. You can go wherever the road takes you…and it’s sure to take you to several fabulous wineries along the way! A true escape from the city, these roads through Sonoma are certainly scenic.

One of the best scenic drives in the Bay Area, a trip to Sonoma to drive amidst these vineyards and rolling green hills

What do you think? Did we miss any of the best scenic drives in the Bay Area?

Of course, there are SO many options for beautiful scenery in Northern California, but not all of them are accessible as day trips from San Francisco. If you want to craft a perfect custom tour of San Francisco and beyond, we would love to suggest scenic routes you might like along the way. Contact us any time to discuss options and your travel preferences.

We are so excited to share our beautiful home region with you!