San Francisco on the North Coast of California Travel guide
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San Francisco

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to the city of San Francisco, generally seen as one of the coolest places on the planet; the liberal haven of Berkeley; and Silicon Valley, home to a multitude of high-tech fishermans wharf companies. The wine-producing Napa Valley is a short distance to the north. San Francisco is world famous for its tourist attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, North Beach, Golden Gate Park, the Haight Ashbury; the names go on and on. One of the beauties of the city is that it is fairly small geographically, roughly 50 square miles, and therefore compact and easy to take in. The best way of seeing the sights is by cable car and yes they do go halfway to the stars chugging laboriously up San Francisco's notoriously steep hills and clattering madly down the other sides. They say there are enough restaurants in San Francisco for the entire population (estimated population 799,263) to all sit down and eat at the same time! At Fisherman's Wharf, you can get the famous Dungeness crab. (Crab season is September/October to about April). You can eat crab all year round but they're best in season. The Pier area (Pier 40 and further south at the Ferry Building) is where the ferries arrive from around the rest of the Bay Area. The mile between the Ferry Building and Pier 39 is an uncluttered waterfront view of underneath the Bay Bridge and the East Bay. Golden Gate Bridge Pier 39 is a tourist magnet with its famous San Francisco tradition of street theatre and an eclectic bunch of restaurants and shops that will keep you amused for hours. Next to the pier you will find another group of visitors to the city, the California Sea Lions who have taken up residence in the Marina and bring people from miles around to see them lolling in the sun and jostling for territory on the jetties and wharfs.

The major neighborhoods of San Francisco are North Beach, Castro, Mission, the Haight, Hayes Valley, Bernal Heights, Noe Valley, and South of Market. Not all of the neighborhoods are tourist destinations, but they all have excellent cafes and bistros and most boast good shopping areas.
After a few days basking in the glories of the city you will want to head back North across the Golden Gate to visit the areas you missed on your way down. North is the North Bay, starting with Marin County. You can hop on a ferry at Pier 40 to visit the artisan cove - Sausalito - for the day. There are also other fun, romantic and charming towns in the South Marin area such as Tiburon, Mill Valley and San Anselmo. All of these are within 30-45 minutes of SF. Mt. Tamalpais State Park is another recreational area encompassing biking, hiking, water sports and so forth. You can continue along (another hour or so) to the quaint quasi-resort-rustic village of Mendocino - or choose from dozens of coastal rustic-fishing-resort communities such as Tomales Bay, Inverness, Bodega Bay and Olema along the way - each with its unique charms! You can even take a regional bus to various Marin County parks and overnight camping at Samuel Taylor State Park.

To the Northeast is the Napa Valley and to the North is the Sonoma Valley (both part of Northern napa valley California's famed wine country). Many of your favorite vineyards are located along these highways and backroads. Napa Valley is the more famous of the two wine valleys, but both offer opportunities to visit small rustic, family-owned vineyards and larger, commercial wineries. Calistoga is famous for the spa treatments, mudbaths, massages and body wraps.
After you have read and digested all we have written about this wonderful holiday destination we will help you with every facet of planning, booking and savouring that tingle of anticipation that comes with a major trip to the Golden State. We will offer you the latest offers and best deals for your cheap flight to California, Hotels in California, best-priced tickets for Disneyland California, all your accommodation in California if you are traveling, plus the cheapest car hire in California, a guide to the wine country with a guide to the best California wine to sample. There is an exclusive guide to the national parks at Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon. We leave nothing to chance for your holidays in California so while you are "California Dreaming"; we are constantly updating the offers in our California guide so that you can rest happy "on such a winter's day!

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