The third-largest city in California, San Jose is known as the metropolitan hub of Silicon Valley. Well-known for its sunny, mild weather, the city is home to several extraordinary sights such as the historic San Pedro Square, the stunning Municipal Rose Garden, and the intriguing Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.
List of Top 7 Weekend destinations from San Jose
However, if you are planning a quiet weekend away from this urban city, here are the top 7 weekend destinations from San Jose:
A quaint little town on the beautiful Pacific coast, San Simeon is a perfect weekend destination for those who wish to spend some time amidst peace and nature. There are plenty of outdoor attractions here including but not limited to the gorgeous beaches which are regarded as some of the most stunning beaches in California, architectural marvels such as the San Simeon Hearst Cathedral, plenty of wildlife include zebras and elephant seals, and hiking the astonishing San Simeon Creek trail.
Best Time to Visit: While you could visit the town any time of the year, winter and fall are the most preferred seasons for those who prefer to avoid crowds.
How to Reach: You could either three and a half hours from San Jose to get here, or you could board a train to Paso Robles and then get a taxi from here to San Simeon.
Popular for its wineries and olive groves, Paso Robles is a gorgeous destination to spend the weekend in. Famous as California’s wine country, the best way to explore its wineries is through a wine tour. The town is not only blessed with the most amazing weather, but it is also home to several natural hot springs. River Oak and Franklin Hot Springs are quite famous. Explore the downtown on foot to experience the many dining opportunities here.
Best Time to Visit: The most recommended time to visit here is either early or late summer when the weather is best. During the fall grape harvest, the town gets busy, and hotels fill up, but you can have fun there almost any time of year.
How to Reach: There are direct buses and trains between the two locations. A one-side trip to Paso Robles from San Jose would take around three and a half hours and cost between $30 to $50.
The beating heart of California’s Wine Country, Napa Valley is dotted with hundreds of world-famous wineries. While exploring the wine scene here is a must, there are also plenty other equally interesting things to do. The historic Napa Valley Wine Train is perhaps the top attraction here. Other popular attractions include paddling the Napa River, enjoying a hot balloon ride over the Valley, going to the free Oxbow Public Market, and hiking the Skyline Wilderness Park.
Best Time to Visit: The months between August and October or March and May are the best to visit here. Napa’s peak tourist season corresponds with the region’s harvest season which is between August and October.
How to Reach: The fastest and the most convenient way to reach Napa from San Jose is by a self-driven car. The drive will take just an hour and a half and cost approximately $8 to $12 in fuel.
Nestled on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, Kings Beach is the perfect weekend spot for a family vacation. With a dedicated playground for kids, the beach location is great for unwinding yourself. You can book parasailing and kayaking tours with multiple tour operators. For something more peaceful, you can also try golfing at the Old Broadway Golf Course. If you are here in winter, don’t miss out on the Lake Tahoe Snowmobile tours that take you over 100 miles of trails.
Best Time to Visit: From late June through August, Kings Beach is a great place to go for live music in North Lake Tahoe!
How to Reach: The cheapest and easiest way to get to Kings Beach from San Jose is by self-driven car. The drive takes around four hours and will cost between $23 to $33 in fuel.
Synonymous with sun, sand, and sea, the quintessential beach town of Santa Cruz is among the most popular weekend spots for all kinds of travelers. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, dotted with fun rides, attractions, and plenty of food vendors. The Giant Dipper, an iconic roller coaster first inaugurated in 1924, is the topmost attraction here. Main Beach is increasingly popular for swimming and sunbathing. Another equally popular beach is the Cowell beach which is just next to the Main beach.
Best Time to Visit: The most recommended time to visit Santa Cruz is from September through November as the summer tourists leave by then and prices go down as well.
How to Reach: There are three ways to get here – by bus, taxi, or self-driven car. A taxi or a car would take around half an hour and a train ride take almost an hour.
The island of Alameda is a hidden gem in the Bay Area, with beautiful beaches and shop-lined streets. On any given afternoon, you can find families, neighbors, and tourists making their way through the town to experience all it has to offer. From naval ships and hiking trails to arcades and museums, Alameda has a little something for everyone. Some popular places to see here are the Crown Memorial State Beach, Alameda Theatre and Cineplex, and USS Hornet Museum.
Best Time to Visit: The most suitable time of year to visit Alameda for activities is from late June to early October.
How to Reach: The cheapest way to get here is by a self-driven car which will take only half an hour and cost between $3 to $4 in fuel. Alternatively, you can also take a train to Fremont and take a cab to Alameda County.
Half Moon Bay
Surrounded by wooded rolling hills, the comfy seaside town of Half Moon Bay is a humble small town with a friendly vibe. Half Moon Bay is a popular weekend getaway from San Jose with brilliant shops, plenty of great restaurants, and quaint bed-and-breakfasts, and makes a wonderful stopover on a Northern California coastal itinerary. A few popular things to see and do here include the Coastside Trail, Lemos Farm, and Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park.
Best Time to Visit: The best time of year to visit Half Moon Bay for general outdoor tourist activities is from early July to late September.
How to Reach: To get here, take a train to San Carlos and then a taxi to Half Moon Bay. For more convenience, you can also rent a taxi or drive to the Bay.