San Francisco: All Inclusive

Backpacking

Backpacking in San Francisco

For those looking to visit California and San Francisco on a budget, staying in hostels and backpacking around the State is a good option. You’ll find hostels in San Francisco that cater to backpackers in several areas – from downtown to Fisherman’s Wharf. You can expect to pay around $20 - $30 for a bed in a dorm, depending on the time of year. Some San Franciscan backpacking hostels include breakfast with the accommodation. If you pre-book your accommodation with the hostel online you may get a slightly better rate. If you are planning a holiday to San Francisco as a backpacker you’ll need to be careful which hostel you use, as some of the less expensive ones are in or near the rougher areas of town.

Beach

Beach in San Francisco

You would think that a city right on the Pacific would make a great beach holiday; however San Francisco is an exception. The weather here is often chilly and foggy, especially during the summer months, so San Francisco is not ideally for a beach holiday. That said, there are some nice beaches in San Francisco but these are best for long walks, surfing or watching the sunset. You will be lucky if the beaches in San Francisco are warm enough for sunbathing.

If you are looking for sunshine and warm weather you are better off heading south of San Francisco to Santa Cruz or even further down the coast. These towns are just a few hours drive from the city and would be a good option if you want to combine a beach holiday with a visit to San Francisco. There are also some great beaches just outside San Francisco such as Stinson Beach, Half Moon Bay or Point Reyes, which make a great day trip if you have a car.

Camping

Camping in San Francisco

Fancy camping on an island in the middle of San Francisco Bay or sleeping amongst the redwoods? Although there are no camping facilities in San Francisco itself, there are several State Parks with campgrounds within an hour’s drive of the city or a ferry ride away. Staying at a campsite within striking distance of San Francisco will give you the best of both worlds – you can enjoy the outdoor beauty of Northern California and see the sights of the city. If you are looking for a camping holiday in the San Francisco Bay Area, be sure to reserve a campsite if you want to stay at one of the nearby State Parks. If you are travelling around California in an RV, there are a few RV parks near San Francisco.

City Breaks

City Breaks in San Francisco

Whether you are interested in shopping or culture, San Francisco is a great option for a city break. You can shop at the fashionable department stores around Union Square, then take a cable car out to Fisherman’s Wharf for a seafood dinner and stroll along the water’s edge. Or perhaps you’d prefer to visit the Museum of Modern Art before you attend a performance of the San Franciscan Symphony Orchestra. If you are a baseball or American football fan, a city break in San Francisco will let you see the Giants or 49ers and still give you time to explore the city.

One advantage of visiting San Francisco for a weekend break is that it’s small enough for you to take in several of the main sights in just one day. You won’t be able to see and do everything the city has to offer in just a couple of days, but a short stay in San Francisco will give you a taste of the city… and it will probably leave you asking for more.

Corporate Weekend

Corporate Weekend in San Francisco

San Francisco is a top destination for conventions and corporate weekends. With its wide range of sights to see, shopping and cultural activities there is bound to be something for everyone in San Francisco. There are several businesses in San Francisco which offer corporate team-building events. They would be able to help you organise you Corporate Weekend in San Francisco. The city also has some well known sites for conventions if your business to looking for a place to hold an event. With its numerous attractions, excellent restaurants and wide range of accommodation, San Francisco makes for an ideal corporate weekend location.

Cruises

Cruises in San Francisco

San Francisco is well known as a destination for cruise holidays along the California coast. There are numerous cruises that stop in San Francisco. This includes those heading north of San Francisco up to Alaska or south to Los Angles and beyond to Mexico. If you are thinking of taking a cruise along the California coastline, be sure to choose one that includes San Francisco in its itinerary. Just think how wonderful it would be to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge with its panoramic views of the city as your cruise liner enters the San Francisco Bay.

Culture and Arts

Culture and Arts in San Francisco

If you are looking for a cultural holiday then San Francisco may be right up your street. San Francisco has several well regarded art museums, as well as numerous art galleries. The city’s most notable art museums includes the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park and the Museum of Modern Art (the only museum of its kind in the western US). The Asia Art Museum, with its collection of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Himalayan and Southeast Asian works, is also worth a visit. San Francisco also has a world-renowned ballet company, an opera company and the San Francisco Symphony. Theatre-goers are well catered to in San Francisco at the numerous venues around town. If you are looking for a west coast holiday that is rich in cultural activities San Francisco is an ideal choice.

Disabled Needs

Disabled Needs in San Francisco

Disabled visitors are well catered for in San Francisco, with reserved parking available free of charge providing you display a disabled badge in the car. It is also one of the few American cities that has taxis that offer disable access. Even the Island of Alcatraz now has disabled access. Disabled visitors to San Francisco’s most major public places have ramps, wide doors, lifts and other wheelchair provisions. BART trains can be accessed by a lift and the Muni buses have wheel-chair access.

If you plan to rent a car, contact the rental company for written proof of their policies towards disabled drivers. The car hire company should be able to give you directions to the local county office so you can claim a visitor’s disabled driver badge. However, you may need to wait a few hours to collect your badge. Many of the popular attractions, such as Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park and Alcatraz, are accessible by wheel-chair.

Family Holiday

Family Holiday in San Francisco

San Francisco is a great place to visit for people of all ages. In particular, the San Francisco caters well to children offering attractions such as the cable cars, the Aquarium, the California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park, as well as the fabulous Exploratorium by the Palace of Fine Arts. Children should also enjoy a wander around Fisherman’s Wharf with its street performers. If you are travelling as a family to San Francisco you should consider getting a 7- day City Passport. This will entitle you to visit up to five attractions as well as unlimited travel on Muni and cable cars. The San Francisco City Passport offers significant savings on entrance fees to all the major sites. The San Francisco Zoo, while not the biggest in the world, does have some great activities for kids and makes for a fun day out. All in all, the kids should enjoy a holiday in San Francisco just as much as the adults.

Gay and Lesbian

Gay and Lesbian in San Francisco

San Francisco is well known for its gay scene, and it is certainly one of the most tolerant cities in the US. Whether you are a swinging single or a gay couple you will find San Francisco a refreshing change. The Gay scene in San Francisco includes drag shows as well as numerous gay and lesions bars and clubs. The gay area of San Francisco is the Castro District, which is buzzing with shops, cafes, bars and clubs. San Francisco also has several great gay and lesbian B & Bs and hotels. A stay at one of these may well make your stay in San Francisco truly special.

Hen Destination

Hen Destination in San Francisco

San Francisco is a great place for a truly memorable location for a hen party (or bachelorette party as they are called here). The nightlife, especially in SoMa (south of Market Street) with its dance clubs and bars will make for a great night out. A weekend spent in San Francisco would make a great hen “do”, as you can spend some time seeing the sights, shopping and then enjoy a great night out. San Francisco also has a wide variety of accommodation and restaurants, so it can cater to a variety of budgets – making it ideal for a hen party weekend.

Stag Destination

Stag Destination in San Francisco

San Francisco, with its sites, activities and range of hotels and restaurants is an ideal destination for a stag party. The nightlife, especially in SoMa (south of Market Street) with its dance clubs and bars will make for a great night out. A weekend spent in San Francisco would make a great stag party, allowing you to include a day’s deep sea fishing, watch a sporting event or go sailing, before hitting the bars and clubs. San Francisco also has a wide variety of accommodation and restaurants, so it can cater to a variety of budgets – making it ideal for a stag celebration.

Honeymoon

Honeymoon in San Francisco

With its beautiful panoramic views of the bridges and bay and downtown skyline, San Francisco makes for a romantic honeymoon destination. From sightseeing to shopping and fine dining, couples will find plenty to do on a honeymoon in San Francisco. After a long day visiting San Francisco’s attractions you may want to enjoy a candlelight diner overlooking the bay or have a romantic drink while watching the sunset on the Pacific. It is best to visit San Francisco on honeymoon in the autumn and spring, when the weather is fine but the high-summer crowds aren’t around. Plus, you should be able to save a bit on your accommodation and travel costs by avoiding the high season. You may want to bear this in mind is you are planning your wedding.

Sailing Activity Holiday

Sailing Activity Holiday in San Francisco

If you are sailing up the Californian coast San Francisco would be an ideal place to stop and explore. If you are visiting the City and fancy a day on the water there are several companies offering chartered sailing trips around the bay, including sailing out to Angle Island to explore the State Park.

Couples Holiday

Couples Holiday in San Francisco

San Francisco is a very romantic city and is an ideal destination for both straight and gay couples of all ages. You can wander around the numerous attractions and neighbourhoods in San Francisco, then have a romantic drink as you watch the sunset. You may also want to visit some of the areas near to San Francisco such as Sausalito over the Golden Gate Bridge or the wine country up in Napa and Sonoma. The coast south of San Francisco around Monterey Bay is another romantic place to visit. San Francisco is quite possibly the most romantic city in the States and is ideal for couples. With its architecture, landscapes and atmosphere and scenery, San Francisco is must for couples looking for a romantic holiday.

Golf Activity Holiday

Golf Activity Holiday in San Francisco

Keen golfer will be interested to learn that there are several golf courses in and around San Francisco. The city itself has several golf courses; including the Presidio Golf Course which many feel is one of the best in the state. Also in San Francisco is the Lincoln Park golf course has 18 holes as well as a challenging nine-hole golf course in Golden Gate Park. Beyond the city you’ll find numerous golf courses all around the San Francisco Bay area. Whether you are looking for just a few games of golf while in San Francisco or want to play 18 holes in a new golf course each day you are sure to enjoy a golfing holiday in San Francisco.

Skiing - Snow Boarding in San Francisco

The Sierra Nevada mountains between California and Nevada has some wonderful skiing. The ski resorts are 322 kilometres away from San Francisco - around a five to six hour drive away. Skiers who want to enjoy a short stay in San Francisco, as well as some time on the slopes can combine their trip to Northern California - getting the best of both worlds.

Shopping Holiday

Shopping Holiday in San Francisco

For shopaholics San Francisco offers some of the best shopping in California. It has a great variety of places to shop. There are up-market department stores around Union Square including Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Several streets have great boutique shopping such as Union Street and Upper Fillmore Streets, as well as Hayes Valley. Also worth a visit is the impressive Westfield San Francisco Centre on Market Street. This shopping centre has ten levels and boasts around 400 stores, include the well known Bloomingdales and Nordstrom’s. Even the more touristy area of Chinatown and Ghirardelli Square offer some fun shopping in San Francisco. Another idea for shopping in San Francisco is Haight Street (of the 1960s fame) which is now a busy shopping area with some great esoteric shops and fancy vintage clothing boutiques.

Wine Tasting Holiday

Wine Tasting Holiday in San Francisco

The Napa and Sonoma Valleys have a world-wide reputation for their wines. These beautiful valleys with their vine covered hills are just an hour’s drive (42 kilometres) from San Francisco and make an ideal day trip while visiting San Francisco. There are more than 300 wineries in these two valleys, and several produce award-winning wines. To get to the wineries you can hire a car and head out for a day or two. If you prefer, you can take a tour bus up to the Napa and Sonoma Valley wineries. Tours cost start at $70 per person. Many of the wineries are now charging for a tasting with fees starting at $5. The wine country is home to several scenic towns and villages such as Calistoga and St Helena. And if you are staying in San Francisco for several days, you may want to add in an overnight stay at one of the resorts or hotels up in the wine country into your travel plans. Another idea while you are in Napa is to take a trip on the Napa Valley Wine Train - a three hour train trip through the Napa Valley between Napa and St Helena. The prices per person are $49.50 or $89 (including a gourmet meal in the Pullman dining car).

Touring - Driving holiday

Touring - Driving holiday in San Francisco

The Pacific Coast Highway – is one of America's most scenic drives. For visitors touring California, taking this road between San Francisco and Los Angeles opens up a variety of coastal scenery, from rugged sea cliffs and pounding surf to nature preserves and rural towns a world away from their big-city anchors.

This 485-mile Pacific Coast Highway drive is not the fastest route between these cities. Allow at least two days to include a minimum of sightseeing, more if you plan to linger along the way. Here are some of the highlights on the northern stretch between San Francisco and Monterey.

Beaches: Leaving San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway, the urban sprawl of the Bay Area gradually gives way to the freedom of the ocean road. A string of state beaches hugs the coast along Highway 1, beginning at Pacifica and running south to Pillar Point Harbor, a natural harbor and former whaling station.

Wide sandy beaches stretch for four miles along Half Moon Bay, an old agricultural town which hosts an Art and Pumpkin Festival every October. Further south, Pescadero is another quaint farming town with whitewashed churches and buildings.

In between are more sandy beaches backed by rocky bluffs, and idyllic coves with roaring surf, tidepools and lagoons. Sea lions can often be seen offshore from the lighthouse at Pigeon Point.