Sample the flavors found in one of the world’s culinary capitals—San Francisco—plus wine country, waterfront, and a chance to see the state’s biggest, baddest surf break.
OAKLAND (12mi/19km; 20min). Cross the Bay Bridge to Bocanova , in Jack London Square, for Pan-American fare (think short rib empanadas and a quinoa salad with duck confit) overlooking the yacht harbor and the Oakland estuary. Visit the extraordinary Oakland Museum of California for outstanding natural history and art. INFO Oakland Convention and Visitors Bureau ; 510/839-9000
BERKELEY (8mi/13km; 15min). Sample house-made charcuterie at http://www.revivalbarandkitchen.com/" onclick="tracking.run('Partner_Referral','revivalbarandkitchen.com/')">Revival Bar + Kitchen ; the eatery’s “whole-hog” butchery program works closely with local ranchers. For more refined dining, try the French fare at Michelin-recommended Bistro Liaison . Stroll the Berkeley campus and nearby Telegraph Avenue to feel like a college kid again. INFO Berkeley Convention and Visitors Bureau ; 510/549-7040
NAPA (50mi/80km; 50min). Wash down wood-grilled steaks and chops with top-shelf local reds at Mustards Grill . Prefer white wine? Try Fish Story for sustainable seafood and farm-fresh produce on the Napa Riverfront. The inviting downtown offers street art, galleries, and tasting rooms. INFO Visit Napa Valley ; 707/260-0107
SAN FRANCISCO (18mi/30km; 35min). Join the throngs at the Ferry Building Marketplace. Sample first-rate cheeses at Cowgirl Creamery , artisanal loaves at Acme Bread Company , and handmade chocolates at Recchiuti Confections. Work off your meal with a leg-stretcher along the Embarcadero to AT&T Park, home of the World Series champs, the San Francisco Giants (behind-the-scenes ballpark tours offered daily). INFO San Francisco Travel Association ; 415/391-2000
PALO ALTO (16mi/26km; 19min). Take a podcast-guided tour of Stanford University, Silicon Valley’s incubator of innovation. Be sure to visit the glorious Rodin sculpture garden. Then kick back at Coconuts Caribbean , where chicken is smoked slowly over allspice wood and brushed with a tangy jerk sauce. INFO Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce ; 650/324-3121
HALF MOON BAY (26mi/42km; 35min). Drive through coastal hills to this cozy oceanfront village. Dine al fresco (there are plenty of heat lamps) at Sam’s Chowder House . If an oyster stew with bacon and cream sounds heavy, consider the cold-water leviathans breaking at “Mavericks,” surfing’s most notorious monster wave, visible from the safety of the heated patio. INFO Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau; 650/726-8380