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7 easy weekend getaways from the San Francisco Bay Area

The Noyo Harbor Inn is a great base for exploring the Mendocino Coast. | Courtesy Noyo Harbor Inn

Too busy to plan a vacation? No problem. 

Simply book a weekend at one of these seven resort-ish properties located not too far from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Each one provides a base for lots of nearby activities—or just a lovely place to relax and never leave the grounds. 

But whatever type of escape you’re looking for, book it soon because summer nights at lodges around Northern California are filling up fast!

Inn Town Campground, Nevada City

Yuba River, campground vibes and Gold Country from $50 in July 

“Running a campground is more fun than running a motel because not everyone staying in a motel is on vacation,” said Erin Thiem, former motel manager and current co-owner of Inn Town Campground. Together with her husband, Dan, the Thiems created a unique destination offering campsites and glamping just two blocks from Downtown Nevada City’s shops, restaurants and farmers’ market. 

Downtown Nevada City has shops and a farmers' market just blocks from the Inn Town Campground. | Courtesy Inn Town Campground

Inn Town just won a spot on USA Today’s list of the 10 best campgrounds in the country after being open just seven years. It’s a great base for splashing in the Yuba River (when it calms down later this summer), Scotts Flat Lake or the campground pool and Nevada City’s famed mountain biking trails are also nearby. But you don’t really need to leave your tent. “Sometimes, we get campers who just come to hang out at camp,” Thiem said.

The Inn Town Campground offers camping sites and glamping tents in Nevada City. | Courtesy Inn Town Campground

Noyo Harbor Inn, Fort Bragg

Mendocino Coast, redwoods and soaking tubs from $265 in July

Built in the 1860s as the home of a Scottish lumber baron, the Noyo Harbor Inn guest rooms were completely renovated in 2017, preserving their classic millwork while adding fireplaces, soaking tubs and private decks overlooking the quaint seaside village harbor seen in Murder She Wrote. If you manage to leave the room, you’ll be set for endless adventures on the northern Mendocino coast, such as hiking coastal trails, kayaking the harbor or hopping on the famed Skunk Train through the redwoods.

Noyo Harbor Inn rooms have restored millwork. | Courtesy Noyo Harbor Inn

Hyatt Regency San Francisco

Views, city and brutalist glory from $322 in July

Looking for more of a staycation? Head to the Hyatt Regency on the Embarcadero to celebrate its 50th birthday. Take in the sweeping city and bay views from its perch near the base of Market Street then hop on a bike, cable car, streetcar or Muni to reach points all across San Francisco. Book in for Pride or another of SF’s lively street fairs or just take in the hotel’s Brutalist design, the world’s largest 17-story lobby, on-site dining and fitness center with one of the Hyatt’s Golden Anniversary package deals.

The Archer, Napa

Wine country, rooftop style and walkability from $343 in July

The Archer is the perfect destination for San Franciscans who loathe to leave the city. Its metro modern design, Charlie Palmer Steak restaurant and rooftop spa, “water deck” and bar combine for no need to leave the property. But should you venture out, so many of Downtown Napa’s attractions are within walking distance—from the dining and shops of First Street Napa to the Oxbow Market to riverfront strolls to tasting rooms—you could even Lyft there and back. 

Desolation Hotel, South Lake Tahoe

Tahoe, hiking and gambling from $530 in July

A new “micro resort” in the heart of South Lake Tahoe, Desolation Hotel is a sleek update in a neighborhood of old motor lodges. The property packs a pool, gym and restaurant/bar into a quiet spot between the lake and South Lake’s jangling row of casinos, plus easy access to summer hiking at Heavenly Valley and all of Tahoe’s wonders. Breakfast at the on-site Maggie’s Restaurant is so scrumptious you might just want to crawl back in bed.

Portola Inn & Spa, Monterey

Otters, seafood and endless coast from $328 in July 

Despite its global popularity, Monterey’s massive array of lodging makes it a surprisingly affordable destination, even during summer’s high season. Priced between the basic motels and the posh hotels lies the just-right Portola Inn. The Downtown Monterey property is near the aquarium on Cannery Row and Old Fisherman’s Wharf, as well as an easy drive away from Carmel and the must-see Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. But if you prefer to sit still, there’s a dining room, pub, pool and highly-rated spa on site to keep you relaxed.

Wildhaven Sonoma 

Wine tasting, Russian River and glamping from $179 in July

Glamping can be a hot proposition in Sonoma County’s summer but Wildhaven offers both a sweet tent camp setup and access to the cool Russian River at an affordable price for the always-expensive Wine Country. Once unpacked, you are poised to peruse the wineries of the Alexander Valley, the shops and restaurants of Healdsburg Plaza and more of the area by canoe or bike.

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