San Jose is the third-largest city in California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. It is a vibrant hub of technology, culture, and outdoor adventure.

From the iconic Winchester Mystery House to the bustling San Pedro Square Market, there is no shortage of things to do and see in San Jose, the bustling city.

However, sometimes you need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and explore the beauty of Northern California. That’s where this ultimate guide for weekend getaways from San Jose comes in!

Weekend trips are a great way to recharge, explore new places, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of the 50 top weekend trips within a three to five hour drive from San Jose, covering the best weekend getaways in Northern California.

The destinations featured in this guide include everything from romantic coastal towns to bustling cities, from relaxing wine-country vacations to scenic drives and redwood hikes.

So pack your bags, grab your friends or family, and get ready to hit the road! Adventure awaits as you explore the top weekend getaways from San Jose.

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Best Weekend Trips from San Jose (Around a Two-Hour Drive)

Looking for a quick escape to recharge and reduce stress?

The best weekend trips from San Jose, all within a two-hour drive, offer a change of scene without extensive planning.

Maximize your time by exploring new places, trying new activities, and indulging in local cuisine.

Spend quality time with loved ones and create lasting memories, making it perfect for a romantic getaway or a fun-filled family vacation.

Consider staying for the weekend to fully experience all that these destinations have to offer.

Travel Tip: While it’s possible to explore and enjoy the destinations within a two-hour drive from San Jose in a day, it’s important to note that you may not have enough time to fully experience everything that they have to offer.

Rushing from one place to another to tick off a list of activities can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, defeating the purpose of the getaway.

On the other hand, taking the time to slow down and spend a weekend in these destinations allows you to truly soak up the atmosphere, take part in activities that you may not have otherwise had the time to do, and explore the local culture and scenery at a leisurely pace.

So, while a day trip may be a tempting option, it’s worth considering spending a weekend in these destinations to fully immerse yourself in the experience

Get ready to explore! Here are 54 fantastic weekend trip ideas from San Jose, California, for your next adventure. #Travel #California #TravelGuide #SanFrancisco #BayArea Click To Tweet

1. Santa Cruz

Distance from San Jose: 38 minutes, 32 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

Nestled along the picturesque Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz is a vibrant coastal city brimming with natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and laid-back charm.

From the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to the towering redwoods of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, this city has something for everyone.

With a vibrant local culture, stunning beaches, world-class cuisine, and endless opportunities for outdoor exploration, Santa Cruz is the perfect weekend getaway to soak up the sun, surf and unwind in a picturesque coastal paradise.

Top 5 Things to Do in Santa Cruz

  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: A classic amusement park with rides, games, and attractions for all ages.
  • West Cliff Drive: A scenic oceanside walk with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Cruz coastline.
  • Natural Bridges State Beach: A beautiful beach with natural rock formations and a natural bridge.
  • Mystery Spot: A gravity-defying attraction where the laws of physics seem to be distorted.
  • Santa Cruz Wharf: A popular spot for fishing, seafood dining, and souvenir shopping.

READ MORE: 51 Top Things to Do in Santa Cruz, California 

Where to Stay in Santa Cruz

The Inn at Pasatiempo

Blue Inn

Pacific Blue Inn

Dream Inn Santa Cruz

2. Monterey

Distance from San Jose: 1 hour and 20 minutes, 72 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

Monterey is a picturesque coastal town with a mix of history, outdoor activities, and stunning scenery.

The town is home to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, a must-visit for anyone interested in marine life.

You can also take a stroll along Cannery Row, where you’ll find shops, restaurants, and galleries housed in the historic buildings that once served the sardine canning industry.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking and exploring at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, where you can hike trails with views of the Pacific Ocean and explore the tide pools.

Top 5 Things to Do in Monterey

  • Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Explore Cannery Row
  • Go whale watching
  • Explore Old Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Visit Monterey State Historic Park

READ MORE: 50 Top things to do in Monterey, California – The Ultimate Bucket

Where to Stay in Monterey

Arbor Inn Monterey

InterContinental The Clement Monterey

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

Portola Hotel & Spa

3. Carmel-by-the-Sea

Distance from San Jose: 1 hour 30 minutes, 75 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

Enveloped in a dreamy, storybook ambiance, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a charming coastal village set along the breathtaking Monterey Peninsula.

With its white sandy beaches, unique architecture, and rich artistic heritage, this enchanting destination offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

From strolling through the quaint streets lined with art galleries and boutique shops to savoring exquisite gourmet meals, Carmel-by-the-Sea provides an idyllic setting for a romantic weekend getaway or a peaceful retreat amidst natural beauty.

It is one of the best places for a weekend getaway from San Jose, California. 

Top 5 Things to Do in Carmel-by-the-Sea

  • Take a stroll on the Carmel Beach
  • Visit Carmel Mission
  • Enjoy a super scenic drive on the 17-Mile drive
  • Explore Fairytale Cottages in Carmel-by-the-Sea
  • Take a leisurely stroll down Ocean Avenue

READ MORE: 40 Top things to do in Carmel, California – The Ultimate Bucket List

Where to Stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Hofsas House Hotel (Read my detailed review)

Tradewinds Carmel

Carmel Garden Inn

4. Big Sur

Distance from San Jose: 1 hour 44 minutes, 99 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

Perched along the dramatic Central California coastline, Big Sur is an awe-inspiring region characterized by its rugged cliffs, lush forests, and unspoiled natural beauty.

This stunning stretch of coast offers a serene escape for those seeking adventure and tranquility in a breathtaking setting.

From the iconic Bixby Creek Bridge to the enchanting forests of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Big Sur is a haven for nature enthusiasts, artists, and wanderers alike.

With miles of scenic trails, pristine beaches, and an array of unique accommodations, Big Sur is the ideal destination for an unforgettable weekend getaway, surrounded by the wild beauty of the California coast.

Top 5 Things to Do in Big Sur

  • Enjoy the panoramic views from the iconic Bixby Creek Bridge
  • Explore Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
  • Visit Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, home to the breathtaking McWay Falls, an 80-foot waterfall that cascades onto a secluded beach.
  • Visit Nepenthe, A restaurant and café with stunning ocean views.
  • Explore Point Sur State Historic Park, featuring a historic lighthouse

READ MORE: 52 Top Things to Do in Big Sur, California – A Guide 

Where to Stay in Big Sur

Big Sur Lodge

Big Sur River Inn

Ventana Big Sur (Adult only)

Travel Tip: Looking to explore the stunning Pacific Coast without the hassle of driving? Consider the Big Sur Monterey California Coast McWay Falls private tour from San Jose.

Enjoy the convenience of round-trip transfers in a comfortable air-conditioned SUV or sedan. Your personal driver-guide not only ensures a safe journey but also enriches your experience with local insights.

5. Pinnacles National Park

Distance from San Jose: 1 hour 30 minutes, 80 miles

Postcards from Pinnacles National Park, Travel Realizations,

Pinnacles National Park is located in the heart of central California, featuring striking rock formations, intricate cave systems, and diverse flora and fauna.

This is one of the lesser-known national parks in California and provides a unique outdoor experience for adventurers seeking an off-the-beaten-path destination.

From challenging hikes with breathtaking vistas to exploring the mysterious Talus Caves, Pinnacles National Park offers an array of outdoor activities that cater to nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike.

With its otherworldly landscapes, vibrant wildflowers, and opportunities for wildlife spotting, Pinnacles National Park is an ideal weekend escape to immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of California’s wilderness.

Top 5 Things to Do in Pinnacles National Park

  • Hike the High Peaks Trail: A challenging hike offering stunning views of the park’s unique rock formations and landscapes.
  • Explore Talus Caves: Explore the park’s intriguing cave systems, home to a colony of Townsend’s big-eared bats. Condor Gulch Trail: A moderate hike providing excellent opportunities for spotting the endangered California condor.
  • Hike to Bear Gulch Reservoir: A picturesque reservoir surrounded by impressive rock formations, accessible via hiking trails.
  • Participate in Ranger-led Programs: Participate in guided hikes and talks to learn more about the park’s geology, history, and wildlife.

READ MORE: Best Things to do in Pinnacles National Park, California! 

Where to Stay near Pinnacles National Park

Keefers Inn King City

Best Western Park Crest Inn is one hour drive from Pinnacles National Park. You can enjoy beautiful Monterey and explore Monterey Bay Aquarium if you have time.

6. San Francisco

Distance from San Jose: 1 hour, 48 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

A cosmopolitan city renowned for its iconic landmarks, diverse neighborhoods, and rich history, San Francisco offers an unforgettable experience for travelers.

From the majestic Golden Gate Bridge to the bustling streets of Chinatown, this captivating city has something for everyone(including many free things to do).

With its stunning vistas, world-class dining, and vibrant arts scene, San Francisco is a perfect weekend destination for culture enthusiasts, science museum lovers, foodies, and history buffs alike.

READ: A guide to the 20 Best Golden Gate Bridge Vista Points in San Francisco

Top 5 Things to Do in San Francisco

  • Admire the Golden Gate Bridge: An iconic symbol of the city, offering breathtaking views and picturesque walking paths within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
  • Wander Lombard Street: Visit the famous crooked street, known for its steep hairpin turns and beautiful gardens.
  • Explore Fisherman’s Wharf: A bustling waterfront area with seafood restaurants, souvenir shops, and street performers.
  • Stroll through Golden Gate Park: A sprawling urban park featuring gardens, museums, and various recreational activities.
  • California Academy of Sciences: A world-class science museum featuring an aquarium, planetarium, and rainforest exhibit.

READ MORE: Discover 80 Best Non-Touristy Things to Do in San Francisco

Where to Stay in San Francisco

Hotel Drisco

Argonaut Hotel

Riu Plaza Fisherman’s Wharf

Hotel Zephyr

7. Mill Valley

Distance from San Jose: 1 hour 20 minutes, 66 miles

Nestled at the foot of Mount Tamalpais, Mill Valley is a picturesque town surrounded by lush forests, rolling hills, and scenic vistas.

With its charming downtown area, rich arts scene, and close proximity to numerous outdoor attractions, Mill Valley offers an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Top 5 Things to Do in Mill Valley

  • Explore Mount Tamalpais State Park: A beautiful park offering panoramic views, hiking trails, and picnic areas.
  • Muir Woods National Monument: A serene park featuring ancient redwood trees and tranquil walking paths.
  • Old Mill Park: A lovely park with redwoods, a playground, and a historic mill.
  • Downtown Mill Valley: A charming area with unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants.
  • Cascade Falls: A picturesque waterfall located within a short hike from the town.
  • Read my complete guide to 35 Top Things to Do in Mill Valley, California

READ MORE: Best Trails in Muir Woods National Monument: A Guide

Where to Stay in Mill Valley Mill Valley Inn

Holiday Inn Express Mill Valley

Mill Valley Inn

Acqua Hotel

8. Point Reyes National Seashore

Distance from San Jose: 2 hours 10 minutes, 88 miles

A stunning coastal wilderness area located along the California coast, Point Reyes National Seashore offers visitors the chance to explore the rugged coastline, diverse wildlife, and pristine beaches.

With its dramatic landscapes and numerous hiking trails, this national seashore is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Top 5 Things to Do in Point Reyes National Seashore

  • Visit Point Reyes Lighthouse: A historic lighthouse offering sweeping ocean views and whale watching opportunities.
  • Explore Tomales Bay: A scenic bay known for its oyster farms, kayaking, and wildlife viewing.
  • Visit Drakes Beach: A beautiful sandy beach with striking cliffs and abundant marine life.
  • Hike the Chimney Rock Trail: A scenic trail offering panoramic views of the coastline and a chance to spot elephant seals.
  • Visit Bear Valley Visitor Center: A great starting point for exploring the park, with exhibits, maps, and ranger-led programs.

READ MORE: 50 Top Things To Do in Point Reyes, California 

Where to Stay near Point Reyes National Seashore

Olema House at Point Reyes

Wooded Inverness Escape – Walk to Beaches! (Vacation home)

Hillside Home with Deck and Views of Tomales Bay! (Vacation home)

9. Sausalito

Distance from San Jose: 1 hour 30 minutes, 60 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Floating homes of Sausalito, San Francisco

A picturesque bayside town just north of San Francisco, Sausalito offers stunning views of the city skyline, unique art galleries, and various waterfront dining options.

With its charming streets, Mediterranean-style architecture, and relaxed atmosphere, Sausalito is a perfect weekend destination for those seeking a tranquil coastal escape.

Top 5 Things to Do in Sausalito

  • Sausalito Boardwalk: A scenic waterfront promenade with beautiful views of San Francisco and the bay.
  • Check out the houseboats: You can also take a houseboat tour.
  • Visit the Bay Model Visitor Center ( Admission is free) –  a unique opportunity to view the complete bay-delta system at a glance.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum: A family-friendly museum featuring interactive exhibits and creative outdoor play areas.
  • Sausalito Art Galleries: Explore the town’s vibrant arts scene by visiting its numerous galleries and studios.

Where to Stay in Sausalito

Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa

Cavallo Point Lodge

The Gables Inn Sausalito

10. Napa Valley

Distance from San Jose: 2 hours 30 minutes, 94 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

Napa Valley is a premier destination for wine enthusiasts and food lovers, renowned for its world-class wineries, scenic vineyards, and exceptional culinary scene.

With its stunning landscapes, charming towns, and luxurious spas, Napa Valley offers an indulgent and memorable weekend getaway.

Top 5 Things to Do in Napa Valley

  • Wine Tasting: Visit the region’s numerous wineries and tasting rooms to sample its world-famous wines.
  • Take a scenic drive – Drive along the Silverado Trail, which passes by many of the valley’s wineries and vineyards and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and valleys.
  • Napa Valley Wine Train: Enjoy a gourmet meal and stunning vineyard views aboard this historic train.
  • Hot Air Balloon Rides: Experience the beauty of Napa Valley from above during a sunrise hot air balloon flight featuring breathtaking views and majestic hot air balloons.
  • Oxbow Public Market: A bustling market featuring local produce, artisanal goods, and diverse dining options.

READ MORE: 55 Top things to do in Napa Valley Besides Wine Tasting

Where to Stay in Napa Valley

Silverado Resort and Spa

Vino Bello Resort

The Meritage Resort and Spa

Auberge Resorts Collection

11. Healdsburg in Sonoma County

Distance from San Jose: 2 hours 20 minutes, 120 miles

One of the charming wine country towns in the heart of Sonoma County, Healdsburg offers a delightful mix of gourmet dining, boutique shopping, and world-class wineries.

With its picturesque central plaza, historic architecture, and surrounding vineyards, Healdsburg is an idyllic destination for a relaxing weekend getaway.

Top 5 Things to Do in Healdsburg

  • Healdsburg Plaza: A vibrant town square featuring unique shops, art galleries, and fine dining options.
  • Wine Tasting: Explore the region’s diverse wineries and sample its acclaimed wines.
  • Russian River: Enjoy kayaking, canoeing, or swimming in this scenic river nearby.
  • Healdsburg Museum: Discover the area’s history and culture through exhibits and artifacts.
  • Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve: A serene park featuring ancient redwood trees and tranquil walking trails.

READ MORE: 16 Top Wine Country Getaways Near the San Francisco Bay Area – Sip, Savor, and Explore

Where to Stay in Healdsburg

Hotel Healdsburg

Harmon Guest House

12. Santa Rosa

Distance from San Jose: 1 hour 58 minutes, 106 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Luther Burbank Home and Gardens

As the largest city in Sonoma County, Santa Rosa offers a diverse range of attractions, from historic sites and museums to outdoor recreation and a thriving culinary scene.

With its charming downtown area, beautiful parks, and proximity to numerous wineries, Santa Rosa is an excellent base for exploring California’s wine country.

Top 5 Things to Do in Santa Rosa

  • Luther Burbank Home & Gardens: Explore the historic home and gardens of the renowned horticulturist.
  • Charles M. Schulz Museum: Discover the life and work of the Peanuts creator at this fascinating museum.
  • Trione-Annadel State Park: A beautiful park featuring hiking trails, a lake, and abundant wildflowers in the spring.
  • Russian River Brewing Company: Taste the renowned craft beers at this popular local brewery.
  • Safari West: Experience a unique wildlife adventure at this African-style wildlife preserve.

Where to Stay in Santa Rosa

Vintners Resort

Hotel La Rose

Hilton Garden Inn Sonoma County Airport

13. San Ramon

Distance from San Jose: 54 minutes, 38 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

Located in the San Ramon Valley, this family-friendly city offers a mix of outdoor recreation, cultural attractions, and shopping opportunities.

With its picturesque landscapes, beautiful parks, and a variety of dining options, San Ramon is a great destination for a relaxing weekend getaway.

Top 5 Things to Do in San Ramon

  • Las Trampas Regional Wilderness: Explore this beautiful park featuring hiking trails and stunning views of the valley.
  • Explore Forest Home Farms Historic Park & Museum: Discover the area’s agricultural history through exhibits and farm tours.
  • Visit the Blackhawk Museum: A Smithsonian affiliate museum that showcases some of the world’s most exotic cars.
  • Visit The O’Neill National Historic Site: learn about O’Neill’s life and works. Eugene O’Neill was a renowned American playwright who won the Nobel Prize in Literature and three Pulitzer Prizes.
  • City Center Bishop Ranch: Shop and dine at this upscale outdoor shopping center.

READ MORE: 21 Top Things to do in San Ramon, California 

Where to Stay in San Ramon

San Ramon Marriott

Hyatt House San Ramon

Sonesta Select San Ramon

14. Berkeley

Distance from San Jose: 1 hour 14 minutes, 46 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

Home to the prestigious University of California, Berkeley, this vibrant college town is known for its intellectual atmosphere, diverse dining scene, and abundant cultural attractions.

With its picturesque parks, historic architecture, and lively arts scene, Berkeley is an engaging destination for a weekend trip.

Top 5 Things to Do in Berkeley

  • UC Berkeley Campus: Tour the historic campus and visit its renowned museums and botanical garden.
  • Telegraph Avenue: Stroll this eclectic street filled with unique shops, cafes, and street vendors.
  • Tilden Regional Park: Enjoy hiking, picnicking, and scenic views at this expansive park.
  • Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive: Discover contemporary art and film at this innovative cultural institution.
  • Chez Panisse: Experience gourmet farm-to-table dining at this iconic Berkeley restaurant.

READ MORE: 31 Top things to do in Berkeley, California 

Where to Stay in Berkeley

Claremont Club & Spa

Aiden by Best Western @ Berkeley

Hotel Shattuck Plaza

Graduate Berkeley

15. Half Moon Bay

Distance from San Jose: 45 minutes, 40 miles

📍Cowell-Purisma Coastal Trail – A beautiful and easy hike near Half Moon Bay, California.

A charming coastal town nestled along the scenic California coast, Half Moon Bay offers visitors a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

With its picturesque beaches, quaint downtown area, and various outdoor activities, Half Moon Bay is an ideal weekend destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Top 5 Things to Do in Half Moon Bay

  • Relax at Half Moon Bay State Beach: Unwind on the beautiful sandy beaches and enjoy beachcombing, fishing, and picnicking.
  • Visit the beautiful Seal Cove Cypress Tree Tunnel – a hidden gem: Take a romantic walk through the beautiful Seal Cove Cypress Tree Tunnel in Moss Beach, admiring the stunning natural surroundings. This is one of the Super scenic Cypress Trees and Tunnels near San Francisco that I visit often.
  • Pillar Point Harbor: A picturesque harbor offering fishing, boating, and fresh seafood dining options.
  • Take a romantic hike along the Cowell-Purisima Trail, taking in the stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Mavericks Beach: Visit the famous surf spot known for its massive waves and stunning coastal views.
  • Attend the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival: This annual event, one of my favorite Halloween celebrations in the Bay Area, is perfect for families and people of all ages to enjoy during the autumn season.

READ MORE: 46 Top Things to Do in Half Moon Bay, California 

Where to Stay in Half Moon Bay

Seal Cove Inn

Harbor View Inn

Cypress Inn on Miramar Beach

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

16. Pescadero

Distance from San Jose: 1 hour 5 minutes, 58 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

Pescadero is a small town in San Mateo County located just 30 minutes south of Half Moon Bay and is known for its charming bed and breakfasts and close proximity to Pigeon Point Light Station.

Nestled between the rugged coastal cliffs and the bright blue Pacific, Pescadero offers an idyllic backdrop for a romantic escape.

Top 5 Things to Do in Pescadero

  • Pescadero State Beach: A beautiful, rugged beach with tide pools, dramatic cliffs, and sandy shores.
  • Butano State Park: A serene park featuring towering redwoods, hiking trails, and a peaceful creek.
  • Pigeon Point Lighthouse: A historic lighthouse offering stunning ocean views and a small museum.
  • Visit the beautiful Año Nuevo State Park
  • Harley Farms Goat Dairy: Tour this award-winning goat farm and sample their delicious artisanal cheeses.
  • Duarte’s Tavern: Enjoy fresh seafood and famous artichoke soup at this classic Pescadero restaurant.

Where to Stay near Pescadero

HI Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel

Pescadero Creek Inn

17. Stockton

Distance from San Jose: 1 hour 23 minutes, 75 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
At Wat Dhammararam Buddhist Temple

Located in the heart of California’s Central Valley, Stockton offers visitors a mix of cultural attractions, historic sites, and outdoor recreation.

With its vibrant downtown area, beautiful parks, and diverse dining options, Stockton is an excellent destination for a weekend trip.

Top 5 Things to Do in Stockton

  • The Haggin Museum: Explore art and local history at this engaging museum.
  • Bob Hope Theatre: Catch a live performance or film screening at this historic venue.
  • Stockton Marina: Stroll along the waterfront, rent a boat, or dine at nearby restaurants.
  • Children’s Museum of Stockton: A family-friendly museum offering interactive exhibits and play areas.
  • Micke Grove Regional Park: Enjoy picnicking, walking trails, and a small zoo at this lovely park.
  • Visit Wat Dhammararam Buddhist Temple – A beautiful Cambodian Buddhist temple.

Where to Stay in Stockton

University Plaza Waterfront Hotel

Hilton Stockton

Courtyard by Marriott Stockton

Residence Inn by Marriott Stockton

18. Pebble Beach

Distance from San Jose: 2 hours 10 minutes, 107 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach is a luxurious coastal community located on the scenic Monterey Peninsula, renowned for its world-class golf courses, stunning ocean views, and upscale amenities.

With its dramatic coastline, lush forests, and premier golfing, Pebble Beach is an ideal weekend destination for those seeking a lavish and relaxing retreat.

Top 5 Things to Do in Pebble Beach

  • Pebble Beach Golf Links: Play a round at one of the world’s most famous golf courses.
  • 17-Mile Drive: A scenic coastal drive featuring breathtaking views, iconic landmarks, and beautiful beaches.
  • Carmel Beach: A nearby picturesque beach with white sand, cypress trees, and stunning ocean views.
  • Lone Cypress: Visit this iconic Monterey cypress tree on a granite hillside along the 17-Mile Drive.
  • Spyglass Hill Golf Course: Play a challenging round at this renowned golf course, known for its dramatic ocean views and rolling terrain.

Where to Stay in Pebble Beach

Coral Oasis

Hofsas House Hotel

One Ocean (Vacation Home)

Top Weekend Trips from San Jose (Around a Three-Hour Drive)

19. Bodega Bay

Distance from San Jose: 1 hour 30 minutes, 80 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

Bodega Bay, a picturesque coastal village along the stunning Pacific Coast, offers visitors a peaceful retreat with breathtaking ocean views, scenic beaches, and diverse outdoor activities.

With its charming local shops, fresh seafood, and opportunities for whale watching, Bodega Bay is a perfect weekend destination for relaxation and adventure.

Top 5 Things to Do in Bodega Bay

  • Doran Regional Park: A beautiful park featuring a sandy beach, picnic areas, and walking trails.
  • Bodega Head: A scenic headland offering panoramic views, whale watching, and hiking trails.
  • Sonoma Coast State Park: Explore the rugged coastline, secluded beaches, and dramatic cliffs.
  • Spud Point Crab Company: Enjoy fresh crab and clam chowder at this popular local eatery.
  • Bodega Bay Surf Shack: Rent a surfboard, paddleboard, or kayak to explore the bay.

READ MORE: 30 Best Things To Do in Bodega Bay, California 

Where to Stay in Bodega Bay

The Lodge at Bodega Bay

The Inn at the Tides

20. Calistoga

Distance from San Jose: 2 hours 10 minutes, 120 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Old Faithful Geyser , Calistoga

Located in the heart of Napa Valley, Calistoga is a charming wine country town known for its natural hot springs, world-class wineries, and relaxing spas.

Calistoga offers a luxurious and rejuvenating weekend getaway with its vibrant local culture, stunning landscapes, and unique attractions.

Top 5 Things to Do in Calistoga

  • Old Faithful Geyser of California: Witness this natural geyser erupting with regular intervals.
  • Castello di Amorosa: Tour a medieval-style Tuscan castle and winery.
  • Calistoga Hot Springs: Soak in the therapeutic mineral pools and mud baths.
  • Sterling Vineyards: Enjoy wine tasting and panoramic views from an aerial tram.
  • Sharpsteen Museum: Discover Calistoga’s history and culture through exhibits and artifacts.

Where to Stay in Calistoga

Embrace Calistoga

Indian Springs Resort & Spa

Brannan Cottage Inn

21. Sacramento

Distance from San Jose: 2 hours, 122 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
California State Capitol Building at Dusk

As California’s capital city, Sacramento offers a rich history, diverse cultural attractions, and a vibrant dining scene.

With its lively downtown area, beautiful parks, and numerous museums, Sacramento is an engaging destination for a weekend trip.

Top 5 Things to Do in Sacramento

  • California State Capitol Museum: Explore the historic capitol building and its beautiful grounds.
  • Old Sacramento: Stroll through a 28-acre National Historic Landmark District with Gold Rush-era buildings.
  • Crocker Art Museum: Discover an extensive collection of California art and international masterpieces.
  • Sacramento Zoo: Visit over 500 animals in naturalistic habitats at this family-friendly zoo.
  • American River Parkway: Enjoy hiking, biking, and picnicking along the scenic American River.

READ MORE: 81 Best Things To Do in Sacramento, California 

Where to Stay in Sacramento

The Citizen Hotel

Kimpton Sawyer Hotel

Embassy Suites by Hilton Sacramento Riverfront Promenade

Hyatt Regency Sacramento

22. Paso Robles

Distance from San Jose: 2 hours 52 minutes, 159 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

Nestled in the rolling hills of California’s Central Coast, Paso Robles is a thriving wine country destination known for its award-winning wineries, hot springs, and charming downtown area.

Paso Robles offers a delightful and indulgent weekend escape with its picturesque landscapes, gourmet dining, and unique attractions.

Top 5 Things to Do in Paso Robles

  • Paso Robles Wine Country: Tour and taste the region’s renowned wineries and vineyards.
  • Explore the beautiful Sculpture Garden at Sculpterra Winery
  • Take scenic drives along Highway 46 West, Highway 46 East, and Vineyard Drive
  • Walk amidst the Field of Light at Sensorio
  • Paso Robles Pioneer Museum: Discover the area’s history through exhibits and artifacts.
  • River Oaks Hot Springs Spa: Soak in mineral-rich hot springs and enjoy spa treatments.
  • Estrella Warbird Museum: Explore aviation and military history at this fascinating museum.

READ MORE: Things to Do in Paso Robles, California – A Weekend Getaway 

Where to Stay in Paso Robles

Allegretto Vineyard Resort

Paso Robles Inn

La Bellasera Hotel & Suites

23. Morro Bay

Distance from San Jose: 3 hours, 185 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Morro Rock

Morro Bay is a charming seaside town situated along the stunning Central Coast. It is known for its iconic Morro Rock, scenic beaches, and abundant wildlife.

Morro Bay is an ideal weekend getaway for those seeking coastal adventure and relaxation with its picturesque harbor, delicious seafood, and numerous outdoor activities.

Top 5 Things to Do in Morro Bay

  • Morro Rock: Visit this iconic volcanic plug and enjoy the panoramic ocean views.
  • Morro Bay State Park: Explore trails, birdwatch, and visit the Museum of Natural History.
  • Morro Bay Harbor: Enjoy waterfront dining, boat tours, and kayaking.
  • Morro Strand State Beach: Relax and stroll along this beautiful stretch of coastline.
  • Estero Bluffs State Park: Discover dramatic coastal bluffs, tide pools, and scenic trails.

Where to Stay in Morro Bay

456 Embarcadero Inn & Suites

Anderson Inn

Gray’s Inn & Gallery

24. San Simeon

Distance from San Jose: 3 hours 6 minutes, 193 miles

📍 Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery

A small coastal town located along the Pacific Coast Highway, San Simeon offers stunning ocean views, historic landmarks, and abundant wildlife.

With its dramatic coastline, beautiful beaches, and unique attractions, San Simeon is a captivating weekend destination for nature and history enthusiasts alike.

Top 5 Things to Do in San Simeon

  • Hearst Castle: Tour this opulent hilltop estate and learn about its fascinating history.
  • Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery: Observe elephant seals in their natural habitat.
  • William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach: Relax on the sandy shores and enjoy a picnic.
  • San Simeon Pier: Stroll along the pier and take in the breathtaking ocean views.
  • Moonstone Beach: Wander the scenic boardwalk and explore tide pools at this picturesque beach.

Where to Stay in San Simeon

Cavalier Oceanfront Resort

The Morgan Hotel San Simeon

Sea Breeze Inn

25. Pismo Beach

Distance from San Jose: 3 hours 9 minutes, 197 miles

Pismo Beach is a quintessential California beach town that offers visitors beautiful sandy beaches, thrilling outdoor activities, and a lively downtown area.

With its iconic pier, delicious dining options, and abundant opportunities for water sports, Pismo Beach is a perfect weekend destination for beach lovers and adventure seekers.

Top 5 Things to Do in Pismo Beach

  • Pismo Beach Pier: Stroll along the historic pier and enjoy fishing, surfing, or beachcombing.
  • Monarch Butterfly Grove: Visit this seasonal sanctuary for thousands of migrating Monarch butterflies.
  • Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area: Experience off-roading and beach camping at this unique coastal sand dune park.
  • Pismo Preserve: Hike, bike, or horseback ride through picturesque trails with ocean views.
  • Dinosaur Caves Park: Explore this clifftop park with a playground, walking paths, and stunning coastal views.

READ MORE: 36 Top Things to Do in Pismo Beach, California

Where to Stay in Pismo Beach

Inn at the Pier

Pismo Lighthouse Suites

SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel

26. Cambria

Distance from San Jose: 3 hours, 185 miles

A charming coastal village nestled between towering pines and dramatic sea cliffs, Cambria is known for its picturesque landscapes, art galleries, and unique boutiques.

With its scenic Moonstone Beach and historic Hearst Castle nearby, Cambria is an enchanting weekend destination for relaxation and exploration.

Top 5 Things to Do in Cambria

  • Moonstone Beach: Stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Fiscalini Ranch Preserve: Discover miles of trails through coastal bluffs and forests.
  • Downtown Cambria: Explore local shops, art galleries, and cafes in the East and West Villages.
  • Hearst Castle: Tour the nearby historic estate and learn about its fascinating past.
  • Leffingwell Landing State Park: Enjoy a picnic, whale watching, and tidepool exploration.

Where to Stay in Cambria

Cambria Pines Lodge

FogCatcher Inn

El Colibri Hotel & Spa

27. San Luis Obispo

Distance from San Jose: 2 hours 57 minutes, 184 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

A vibrant college town nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountains, San Luis Obispo is known for its historic downtown area, picturesque landscapes, and outdoor activities.

With its lively local culture, beautiful beaches, and nearby wineries, San Luis Obispo is an ideal weekend destination for culture, nature, and adventure enthusiasts.

Top 5 Things to Do in San Luis Obispo

  • Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa: Explore this historic Spanish mission and its tranquil gardens.
  • Downtown SLO: Discover local shops, restaurants, and the iconic Bubblegum Alley.
  • Madonna Inn: Visit this unique hotel with themed rooms and a whimsical atmosphere.
  • Bishop Peak: Hike to the summit of this popular trail for panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.
  • Avila Beach: Relax on this beautiful beach and explore its charming oceanfront town.
54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
My daughter at the iconic Bubblegum Alley

Where to Stay in San Luis Obispo

La Cuesta Inn

Madonna Inn

The Wayfarer San Luis Obispo Tapestry Collection by Hilton

Hotel Cerro

Granada Hotel & Bistro

28. Pinecrest

Distance from San Jose: 3 hours 3 minutes, 158 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Pinecrest Lake

A picturesque mountain village nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Pinecrest offers visitors a serene escape surrounded by natural beauty.

With its crystal-clear Pinecrest Lake, lush forests, and miles of scenic trails, Pinecrest is an idyllic weekend destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Top 5 Things to Do in Pinecrest

  • Pinecrest Lake: Enjoy fishing, boating, swimming, and picnicking at this beautiful alpine lake.
  • Dodge Ridge Ski Resort: Ski or snowboard on a variety of slopes during the winter season.
  • Cleos Bath Trail: Hike this challenging trail to a series of natural pools and waterfalls.
  • Pinecrest Day Use Area: Relax and enjoy outdoor activities in this scenic lakeside spot
  • Strawberry Meadow: Explore this picturesque meadow filled with wildflowers and scenic hiking trails.

Where to Stay in Pinecrest

High Sierra Retreat with a view of Pinecrest lake

The Long Barn Lodge

Beautiful CabinGated ParkPinecrest & Dodge RidgeOpens in new window

29. Jenner

Distance from San Jose: 2 hours 32 minutes, 122 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Fort Ross, Jenner, California

A coastal hamlet where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean, Jenner is a tranquil retreat with breathtaking coastal views, beautiful beaches, and diverse wildlife.

With its scenic drives, nearby redwood forests, and numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, Jenner is a perfect weekend destination for relaxation and adventure.

Top 5 Things to Do in Jenner

  • Goat Rock Beach: Relax on the sandy shores and enjoy the dramatic coastal scenery.
  • Sonoma Coast State Park: Discover the rugged coastline, secluded beaches, and scenic trails.
  • Fort Ross State Historic Park: Explore a historic Russian fort and learn about California’s Russian colonial history.
  • Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve: Wander through towering ancient redwoods and hike picturesque trails.
  • Russian River Estuary: Kayak or canoe through the estuary and observe the abundant wildlife.

READ MORE: 18 Romantic Coastal Towns in California within a Short Drive from the San Francisco Bay Area 

Where to Stay in Jenner

Jenner Inn

Timber Cove Resort

30. Columbia

Distance from San Jose: 2 hours 31 minutes, 133 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
A living Gold Rush-era town, Columbia State Historic Park

A living Gold Rush-era town, Columbia State Historic Park transports visitors back in time with its preserved historic buildings, costumed interpreters, and engaging activities.

With its vibrant local culture, unique attractions, and nearby outdoor adventures, Columbia is an entertaining and educational weekend destination for history buffs and families alike.

READ MORE: 28 Top California Gold Rush Towns Near San Francisco

Top 5 Things to Do in Columbia

  • Columbia State Historic Park: Step back in time and explore this preserved 1850s mining town.
  • Pan for Gold: Try your luck panning for gold in the park’s designated areas.
  • Stagecoach Ride: Experience a historic stagecoach ride through the town.
  • Columbia Schoolhouse: Visit the oldest functioning one-room schoolhouse in California.
  • Columbia Museum: Discover the town’s Gold Rush history through exhibits and artifacts.

Where to Stay in Columbia

Historic National Hotel

Hotel Lumberjack

31. Murphys

Distance from San Jose: 2 hours 24 minutes, 138 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Mercer Caverns, Murphy

A charming Gold Rush-era little town nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Murphys is known for its historic downtown area, boutique wineries, and scenic landscapes.

With its lively local culture, gourmet dining, and nearby outdoor activities, Murphys is an ideal weekend destination for wine enthusiasts and history lovers.

Top 5 Things to Do in Murphys

  • Historic Downtown Murphys: Stroll through the charming main street lined with shops, tasting rooms, and restaurants.
  • Ironstone Vineyards: Tour this picturesque winery and enjoy wine tasting.
  • Moaning Cavern Adventure Park: Descend into this limestone cavern and experience thrilling zip-lining.
  • Calaveras Big Trees State Park: Wander among giant sequoias and hike scenic trails. Angels Camp
  • Museum: Discover the area’s Gold Rush history through exhibits and artifacts.

Where to Stay in Murphys

Historic National Hotel & Restaurant

Courtwood Inn

Murphys Suites

32. Arnold

Distance from San Jose: 2 hours 40 minutes, 150 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Arnold offers visitors an outdoor paradise surrounded by lush forests, alpine lakes, and numerous hiking trails.

With its beautiful landscapes, abundant outdoor activities, and nearby attractions, Arnold is an ideal weekend destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

Top 5 Things to Do in Arnold

  • Calaveras Big Trees State Park: Explore groves of giant sequoias and enjoy hiking trails.
  • Arnold Rim Trail: Hike, bike, or horseback ride along this scenic 17-mile trail.
  • White Pines Lake: Relax on the shores, swim, or kayak at this picturesque lake.
  • Bear Valley Mountain: Ski or snowboard in the winter or hike and mountain bike in the summer.
  • Sequoia Woods Country Club: Play golf at this beautiful mountain course surrounded by towering pines.

Where to Stay in Arnold

Meadowmont Lodge

Big Trees Getaway (Vacation Home)

33. Sutter Creek

Distance from San Jose: 2 hours 14 minutes, 125 miles

A charming Gold Rush-era town nestled in the heart of California’s Gold Country, Sutter Creek is known for its historic downtown area, boutique wineries, and rich mining history.

With its quaint local shops, delicious dining options, and nearby outdoor activities, Sutter Creek is an ideal weekend destination for history buffs and wine enthusiasts alike.

Top 5 Things to Do in Sutter Creek

  • Historic Downtown Sutter Creek: Explore the charming main street lined with shops, tasting rooms, and restaurants.
  • Knight Foundry: Visit this historic water-powered foundry and machine shop.
  • Sutter Creek Theatre: Enjoy live performances in this intimate, historic venue.
  • Monteverde General Store Museum: Discover Gold Rush-era artifacts and exhibits.
  • Black Chasm Cavern: Tour this spectacular limestone cave with unique helictite formations.

Where to Stay in Sutter Creek Hotel Sutter

Hanford House Inn

Hotel Sutter

Best Weekend Getaways From San Jose (Around a Five-Hour Drive)

34. South Lake Tahoe

Distance from San Jose: 6 hours 57 minutes, 220 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

Famed for its crystal-clear waters, stunning alpine scenery, and outdoor activities, Lake Tahoe is a year-round playground for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Lake Tahoe is an unforgettable weekend destination for relaxation and outdoor adventure with world-class ski resorts, scenic hiking trails, and picturesque beaches.

Top 5 Things to Do in Lake Tahoe

  • Emerald Bay State Park: Enjoy breathtaking views, hike to a historic castle, and explore an island.
  • Heavenly Mountain Resort: Ski or snowboard in the winter, or ride the scenic gondola year-round.
  • Sand Harbor: Relax on beautiful beaches, swim, or kayak in crystal-clear waters.
  • Tahoe Rim Trail: Hike or bike along this 165-mile trail encircling the lake.
  • Vikingsholm: Tour a historic Scandinavian-style mansion located in Emerald Bay State Park.

Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe

The Landing Resort & Spa

Resthaven Tahoe

35. Yosemite National Park

Distance from San Jose: 3 hours 10 minutes, 164 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Embracing the magic of nature as the sun sets behind the majestic Half Dome in Yosemite National Park

A world-renowned natural wonder, Yosemite National Park boasts awe-inspiring granite cliffs, thundering waterfalls, pristine wilderness, and captivating landmarks.

Each landmark tells a unique story, adding to the tapestry of this majestic landscape.

With its majestic landscapes, abundant wildlife, and numerous outdoor activities, Yosemite is an unforgettable weekend destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike.

READ MORE:

Top 5 Things to Do in Yosemite National Park

  • Yosemite Valley: Explore the heart of the park, including iconic landmarks such as El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls.
  • Mariposa Grove: Wander among ancient giant sequoias, including the famous Grizzly Giant and California Tunnel Tree.
  • Glacier Point: Take in breathtaking panoramic views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and the high Sierra. Tuolumne Meadows: Discover alpine meadows, granite domes, and pristine wilderness in the park’s high country.
  • Hetch Hetchy Valley: Hike around a beautiful reservoir, visit spectacular waterfalls, and enjoy stunning mountain scenery.

Where to Stay near Yosemite National Park

Alpine View

YoBee!

36. Mendocino & Fort Bragg

Distance from San Jose: 4 hours 8 minutes, 209 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
At Mendocino Art Center!

Nestled along the rugged Northern California coast, Mendocino is a charming village known for its stunning coastal views, vibrant arts scene, and historic architecture.

With its picturesque headlands, beautiful beaches, and nearby redwood forests, Mendocino is an idyllic weekend destination for relaxation, exploration, and artistic inspiration.

Top 5 Things to Do in Mendocino

  • Mendocino Headlands State Park: Explore scenic coastal bluffs, beaches, and tide pools.
  • Ford House Visitor Center & Museum: Discover Mendocino’s history and learn about the area’s flora and fauna.
  • Mendocino Art Center: Visit this creative hub for art exhibitions, workshops, and performances.
  • Russian Gulch State Park: Hike through lush forests and enjoy the beautiful coastline.
  • Point Cabrillo Light Station: Tour a historic lighthouse and enjoy panoramic ocean views.

READ MORE: 44 Top Things to Do in Mendocino, California 

Where to Stay in Mendocino

Brewery Gulch Inn

Headlands Inn Bed and Breakfast

Inns of Mendocino

Fort Bragg, a neighboring town to Mendocino, offers visitors a charming coastal experience with beautiful beaches, scenic trails, and a rich history.

With its picturesque coastal setting and proximity to Mendocino, Fort Bragg is an ideal destination for a weekend of relaxation and exploration.

Top 5 Things to Do in Fort Bragg

  • Glass Beach: Discover unique sea glass treasures along this colorful shoreline. Skunk Train:
  • Ride a historic train through redwood forests and scenic landscapes.
  • Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens: Explore beautiful gardens and coastal views. Noyo Harbor:
  • Dine on fresh seafood and watch fishing boats come and go.
  • MacKerricher State Park: Hike coastal trails, view marine life, and enjoy pristine beaches.

READ MORE: 48 Top Things to Do in Fort Bragg, California

Where to Stay in Fort Bragg

Ocean View Lodge

Surf & Sand Lodge

North Cliff Hotel

37. Redwood National and State Parks, California

Distance from San Jose: 4 hours 35 minutes, 261 miles

Home to the largest remaining contiguous old-growth redwood forest in the world, Redwood National and State Parks are a must-see destination for nature lovers.

With its towering redwoods, scenic trails, and picturesque landscapes, this park offers an unforgettable weekend of exploration and relaxation.

Top 5 Things to Do in Redwood National and State Parks, California

  • Avenue of the Giants: Drive or hike through a 31-mile scenic route lined with ancient redwoods.
  • Founder’s Grove: Explore a beautiful grove featuring the famous Dyerville Giant.
  • Rockefeller Forest: Wander through one of the world’s largest remaining old-growth redwood forests.
  • Eel River: Enjoy fishing, swimming, or picnicking along the riverbanks.
  • Bull Creek Flats Loop: Hike through lush redwood forests and serene meadows.

READ MORE: 29 Best Things To Do In Redwood National and State Parks, California

Where to Stay near Redwood National and State Parks, California

Benbow Historic Inn

Best Western Plus Humboldt House Inn

38. Lake Shasta

Distance from San Jose: 4 hours 20 minutes, 265 miles

Nestled in the heart of Northern California, Lake Shasta offers visitors a picturesque setting with crystal-clear waters, towering mountains, and abundant outdoor activities.

From boating and fishing to hiking and mountain biking, Lake Shasta is a fantastic weekend destination for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Top 5 Things to Do at Lake Shasta

  • Shasta Dam: Tour one of the tallest dams in the United States and enjoy panoramic lake views.
  • Boating and Fishing: Rent a boat or take a fishing trip on the vast waters of Lake Shasta.
  • Lake Shasta Caverns: Explore ancient limestone caves and marvel at their stunning formations.
  • Mount Shasta: Hike, ski, or snowboard on the slopes of this majestic volcanic peak.
  • Shasta-Trinity National Forest: Discover hiking trails, waterfalls, and diverse wildlife.

Where to Stay at Lake Shasta

The Inn at Shasta Lake

Best Western Plus Hilltop Inn

39. Lassen Volcanic National Park

Distance from San Jose: 4 hours 40 minutes, 268 miles

Lassen Volcanic National Park showcases diverse landscapes, from steaming fumaroles and boiling mud pots to snow-capped peaks and crystal-clear lakes.

With its unique volcanic features, picturesque scenery, and numerous outdoor activities, Lassen National Park offers visitors an unforgettable weekend adventure.

Top 5 Things to Do in Lassen National Park

  • Lassen Peak: Hike to the summit of an active volcano for breathtaking views.
  • Bumpass Hell: Explore a hydrothermal area with boiling pools, mud pots, and steam vents.
  • Manzanita Lake: Enjoy fishing, kayaking, or swimming in this beautiful alpine lake.
  • Cinder Cone: Climb a volcanic cone and witness the Fantastic Lava Beds and Painted Dunes.
  • Devastated Area Interpretive Trail: Learn about the park’s volcanic history and observe its impact on the landscape.

Where to Stay near Lassen Volcanic National Park

Comfort Inn & Suites

SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western Susanville

40. Solvang

Distance from San Jose: 4 hours 5 minutes, 251 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Solvang, California

Solvang, a quaint Danish village nestled in the Santa Ynez Valley, offers visitors a charming experience with its European-style architecture, delicious bakeries, and boutique wineries.

With its unique cultural atmosphere and nearby attractions like Los Olivos and Santa Ynez, Solvang is an enchanting weekend destination for food and wine lovers.

Top 5 Things to Do in Solvang

  • Old Mission Santa Inés: Tour a historic Spanish mission founded in 1804.
  • Solvang Windmills: Admire the iconic Danish windmills scattered throughout the village.
  • Elverhøj Museum of History and Art: Explore Solvang’s Danish heritage and local art.
  • Hans Christian Andersen Museum: Discover the life and works of the famous Danish writer.
  • Wine Tasting: Sample local wines at the numerous tasting rooms throughout the village.

READ MORE: 54 Best Things To Do In Solvang, California: A Danish Gem 

Where to Stay in Solvang

The Landsby

Hotel Corque

Mirabelle Inn

41. Santa Barbara

Distance from San Jose: 4 hours 37 minutes, 290 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Hopping into history with my chocolate bunny at Old Mission Santa Barbara on Easter Day!

Santa Barbara, known as the “American Riviera,” is a picturesque coastal city with stunning Spanish-style architecture, pristine beaches, and a vibrant downtown area.

With its lush wine country, abundant outdoor activities, and rich cultural attractions, Santa Barbara is a perfect weekend destination for relaxation and exploration.

Top 5 Things to Do in Santa Barbara

  • Santa Barbara County Courthouse: Visit this historic landmark for its beautiful architecture and panoramic city views.
  • Stearns Wharf: Explore a bustling pier with shops, restaurants, and an aquarium.
  • Santa Barbara Mission: Tour an iconic Spanish mission founded in 1786.
  • Santa Barbara Botanic Garden: Discover native California plants in a serene garden setting.
  • Wine Tasting: Visit nearby wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley for a delightful wine experience.

READ MORE: 70 Best Things to Do in Santa Barbara, California

Where to Stay in Santa Barbara

Hotel Californian

Kimpton Canary Hotel

Best Western Plus Santa Barbara

42. Gualala

Distance from San Jose: 3 hours 34 minutes, 160 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Gualala Arts Center

Gualala, a charming coastal town along the Sonoma Coast, offers visitors a peaceful escape with its rugged coastline, pristine beaches, and quaint local shops.

Surrounded by scenic landscapes and nearby attractions like Sea Ranch and Point Arena, Gualala is an ideal weekend getaway for relaxation and coastal exploration.

Top 5 Things to Do in Gualala

  • Gualala Point Regional Park: Explore coastal bluffs, beaches, and a scenic river estuary.
  • Gualala Arts Center: Visit a creative hub for art exhibitions, workshops, and performances.
  • Gualala River: Enjoy kayaking, canoeing, or swimming in the refreshing waters.
  • Gualala Bluff Trail: Hike a scenic trail along the coastal bluffs with panoramic ocean views. Bowling Ball
  • Beach: Discover a unique beach with large, round boulders resembling bowling balls.

Where to Stay in Gualala

Gualala Country Inn

Surf Inn

Hotel Breakers

43. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Distance from San Jose: 4 hours 6 minutes, 226 miles

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, known for their towering ancient sequoias and dramatic landscapes, offer visitors a captivating weekend experience.

With its giant trees, rugged canyons, and pristine wilderness, these parks provide endless opportunities for outdoor exploration and adventure.

Top 5 Things to Do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

  • General Sherman Tree: Stand in awe of the world’s largest tree by volume.
  • Moro Rock: Climb to the summit of this granite dome for sweeping park views.
  • Crystal Cave: Explore an underground world of sparkling formations in a marble cave.
  • Giant Forest: Wander among ancient sequoias, including the famous General Grant Tree.
  • Roaring River Falls: Hike to a picturesque waterfall in Kings Canyon.

Where to Stay near Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Montecito Sequoia Lodge

Comfort Inn & Suites Sequoia Kings Canyon

44. Lake Almanor

Distance from San Jose: 5 hours 3 minutes, 273 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Lake Almanor – One of my favorite spring getaways in California

Lake Almanor, nestled in the Sierra Nevada, offers a serene setting with crystal-clear waters, lush forests, and abundant outdoor activities.

From fishing and boating to hiking and birdwatching, Lake Almanor is a fantastic weekend destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

Top 5 Things to Do at Lake Almanor

  • Boating and Fishing: Enjoy the vast waters of Lake Almanor with a boat rental or fishing trip.
  • Lake Almanor Recreation Trail: Hike or bike along a scenic trail with stunning lake and mountain views.
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park: Explore nearby Lassen National Park’s unique volcanic landscapes.
  • Indian Valley: Discover picturesque meadows, charming towns, and scenic drives.
  • Bailey Creek Golf Course: Play a round of golf in a beautiful mountain setting.

Where to Stay at Lake Almanor

Best Western Rose Quartz Inn

Cedar Ridge Retreat

Long Weekend Getaways From San Jose (More Than a Five-Hour Drive)

45. Los Angeles

Distance from San Jose: 5 hours 49 minutes, 341 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Los Angeles, California

The City of Angels, Los Angeles, is a sprawling metropolis known for its iconic Hollywood landmarks, vibrant arts scene, and diverse neighborhoods.

From shopping on Rodeo Drive to soaking up the sun on Santa Monica Beach, LA offers a wealth of attractions for a long weekend getaway.

Top 5 Things to Do in Los Angeles

  • Hollywood Walk of Fame: Stroll among the stars and visit iconic landmarks like the TCL Chinese Theatre.
  • Griffith Observatory: Enjoy panoramic city views and learn about astronomy.
  • Universal Studios Hollywood: Experience movie magic and thrilling rides at this famous theme park.
  • Getty Center: Admire stunning architecture and an impressive art collection.
  • Santa Monica Pier: Explore the pier’s amusement park, aquarium, and beach.
54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
In front of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles- One of the most beautiful landmarks in California

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

The Hollywood Roosevelt

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites

Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

46. Palm Springs

Distance from San Jose: 7 hours 52 minutes, 447 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Palm Springs

Palm Springs, nestled in the Coachella Valley, is a desert oasis known for its mid-century modern architecture, natural hot springs, and vibrant arts scene.

With its sunny skies, stunning landscapes, and world-class golf courses, Palm Springs offers a luxurious and relaxing long weekend getaway.

Top 5 Things to Do in Palm Springs

  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: Ride the world’s largest rotating tramcar for breathtaking mountain views.
  • Palm Springs Art Museum: Explore contemporary and Native American art collections.
  • Indian Canyons: Hike scenic trails and discover lush palm oases in the desert.
  • Moorten Botanical Garden: Wander through a unique cactarium showcasing desert flora.
  • VillageFest: Experience a weekly street fair with local arts, crafts, and food.

Where to Stay in Palm Springs

Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel

Dive Palm Springs

The Saguaro Palm Springs

47. Joshua Tree National Park

Distance from San Jose: 7 hours 35 minutes, 459 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

Joshua Tree National Park, renowned for its surreal desert landscapes and distinctive Joshua trees, offers visitors a unique and unforgettable adventure.

With its diverse terrain, fascinating rock formations, and stunning night skies, Joshua Tree is an ideal long weekend destination for outdoor enthusiasts and stargazers alike.

Top 5 Things to Do in Joshua Tree National Park

  • Hidden Valley: Hike through a picturesque valley surrounded by massive boulders.
  • Keys View: Enjoy panoramic views of the Coachella Valley and distant mountain ranges.
  • Cholla Cactus Garden: Wander through a dense concentration of Cholla cacti.
  • Arch Rock: Discover a natural arch created by wind and water erosion.
  • Barker Dam: Hike to a historic dam and view Native American petroglyphs.

Where to Stay near Joshua Tree National Park

Sacred Sands: Experience a tranquil oasis with luxuriously appointed rooms, saltwater pools, and stunning desert views. Perfect for couples seeking privacy and relaxation in a boutique setting.

The Castle House Estate: Step into a world of mid-century modern glamour with spacious suites, a secluded poolside setting, and a touch of vintage Hollywood charm. Ideal for those wanting a retro-chic escape.

48. Laguna Beach

Distance from San Jose: 7 hours 12 minutes, 394 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Laguna Beach , Caifornia

Laguna Beach, a picturesque coastal town in Orange County, is known for its stunning beaches, art galleries, and vibrant community.

With its charming downtown area, scenic coastal cliffs, and crystal-clear waters, Laguna Beach is an enchanting long weekend destination.

Top 5 Things to Do in Laguna Beach

  • Main Beach: Relax on a beautiful beach and explore the nearby boardwalk.
  • Heisler Park: Stroll through a scenic park with ocean views and art installations.
  • Pacific Marine Mammal Center: Learn about the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals.
  • Laguna Art Museum: Discover California art from the 19th century to the present.
  • Crystal Cove State Park: Explore miles of pristine coastline, tide pools, and hiking trails.

Where to Stay in Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach

Casa Laguna Hotel & Spa

The Ranch at Laguna Beach

49. Death Valley National Park

Distance from San Jose: 7 hours, 415 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations

Death Valley National Park, the largest national park in the contiguous United States, offers visitors a dramatic landscape of extremes.

With its vast salt flats, towering sand dunes, and colorful badlands, Death Valley provides a fascinating long weekend adventure for outdoor enthusiasts.

Top 5 Things to Do in Death Valley National Park

  • Badwater Basin: Marvel at the lowest point in North America, a surreal salt flat.
  • Zabriskie Point: Witness a colorful badlands landscape and enjoy panoramic views.
  • Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes: Explore rolling sand dunes that stretch across the desert.
  • Artist’s Palette: Drive through a scenic canyon showcasing vibrant mineral deposits.
  • Dante’s View: Admire breathtaking vistas of the park from a mountaintop overlook.

Where to Stay near Death Valley National Park

Panamint Springs Resort

Amargosa Opera House & Hotel

50. June Lake Loop

Distance from San Jose: 6 hours, 307 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
My daughter is enjoying at June Lake on a hot summer day!

The June Lake Loop, located in the Eastern Sierra, is a beautiful alpine area known for its pristine lakes, scenic hiking trails, and excellent fishing.

With its stunning mountain landscapes, lush forests, and charming town, the June Lake Loop is an idyllic long weekend destination for nature lovers.

Top 5 Things to Do at June Lake Loop

  • June Lake: Enjoy fishing, boating, and swimming in this picturesque alpine lake.
  • Gull Lake: Relax on a peaceful beach or fish from the shoreline.
  • Silver Lake: Take in the serene beauty of this stunning mountain lake.
  • Ansel Adams Wilderness: Hike among pristine lakes, towering peaks, and lush meadows.
  • June Mountain Ski Area: Hit the slopes for skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.

Where to Stay at June Lake Loop

Double Eagle Resort and Spa

June Lake Villager

51. Big Bear Lake

Distance from San Jose: 7 hours 14 minutes, 429 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Boulder Bay, Big Bear Lake by Shane Nichols

Nestled in the heart of the San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear Lake, California, is a popular year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families.

With its stunning alpine lake, scenic landscapes, and a myriad of recreational activities, Big Bear Lake provides an enjoyable and rejuvenating long weekend escape.

Top 5 Things to Do at Big Bear Lake

  • Explore Big Bear Lake: Enjoy water sports, fishing, and boat tours on this beautiful alpine lake.
  • Hike the Castle Rock Trail: Trek through picturesque forests and take in stunning panoramic lake views.
  • Visit Big Bear Alpine Zoo: Discover a variety of native wildlife and support their rehabilitation efforts.
  • Stroll through The Village: Experience shopping, dining, and entertainment in this charming mountain town center.
  • Ski or Snowboard at Snow Summit and Bear Mountain: Hit the slopes at these popular ski resorts during winter in California.

Where to Stay near Big Bear Lake

52. Oxnard

Distance from San Jose: 5 hours 9 minutes, 328 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Point Mugu Missile Park

Oxnard, a coastal city in Southern California, is known for its beautiful beaches, historic downtown area, and diverse outdoor activities.

With its pleasant climate, scenic harbor, and nearby attractions like Channel Islands National Park, Oxnard offers a relaxing and enjoyable long weekend getaway.

Top 5 Things to Do in Oxnard

  • Channel Islands National Park: Explore the pristine islands and abundant marine life on a guided boat tour.
  • Oxnard Beach Park: Relax on a beautiful beach and enjoy the nearby playground and picnic areas.
  • Visit Point Mugu Missile Park
  • Mullin Automotive Museum: Admire a collection of vintage and classic automobiles.
  • Channel Islands Harbor: Enjoy dining, shopping, and water activities in this scenic harbor.
54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Oxnard Beach Park

Where to Stay in Oxnard

Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Beach Hotel & Resort

Hampton Inn Channel Islands Harbor

Homewood Suites by Hilton Oxnard

Courtyard by Marriott Oxnard

53. San Diego

Distance from San Jose: 8 hours 18 minutes, 459 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
San Diego, California

San Diego, a coastal city in Southern California, is known for its beautiful beaches, pleasant climate, and world-famous attractions.

With its diverse neighborhoods, thriving arts scene, and outdoor activities, San Diego offers a memorable long weekend destination for all ages.

Top 5 Things to Do in San Diego

  • Balboa Park: Explore a vast urban cultural park with museums, gardens, and the famous San Diego Zoo.
  • Cabrillo National Monument: Visit this historic site, offering stunning views of the San Diego coastline and a glimpse into California’s early history.
  • Gaslamp Quarter: Discover the historic architecture, shopping, dining, and nightlife in this vibrant neighborhood.
  • La Jolla Cove: Relax on a beautiful beach and explore the nearby sea caves.
  • USS Midway Museum: Tour a historic aircraft carrier and learn about naval aviation history.
  • Coronado Island: Stroll along the sandy shores and visit the iconic Hotel del Coronado.
54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Cabrillo National Monument

Where to Stay in San Diego

Pendry San Diego: Chic hotel in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, with a rooftop pool, vibrant atmosphere, and prime location for nightlife and dining.

Hotel del Coronado: Iconic beachfront resort with Victorian charm, modern amenities, and a touch of timeless elegance. Perfect for a luxurious coastal escape.

Hampton Inn & Suites San Diego Airport Liberty Station: Convenient option near the airport and cruise terminals, offering comfortable rooms, complimentary breakfast, and easy access to attractions like Liberty Station.

54. Las Vegas

Distance from San Jose: 8 hours 14 minutes, 527 miles

54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose, California - A Getaway Guide, Travel Realizations
Las Vegas.

Las Vegas, the Entertainment Capital of the World, is a dynamic city renowned for its world-class casinos, luxury resorts, and vibrant nightlife.

With its dazzling lights, spectacular shows, and indulgent dining options, Las Vegas offers an unforgettable long weekend experience.

Top 5 Things to Do in Las Vegas

  • The Las Vegas Strip: Experience the excitement of iconic casinos, resorts, and attractions.
  • Fremont Street Experience: Discover the historic downtown area with its light shows, street performers, and zip-lining.
  • Bellagio Fountains: Witness a mesmerizing water show set to music and lights.
  • High Roller Observation Wheel: Enjoy panoramic views of the city from the world’s tallest observation wheel.
  • Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: Explore scenic trails and dramatic landscapes outside the city.

Where to Stay in Las Vegas

ARIA Resort & Casino

The Venetian Resort Las Vegas

Excalibur

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Discover 54 amazing weekend getaways from San Jose, California, and make your weekends unforgettable! #Travel #California #BayArea #SanJose #SanFrancisco Click To Tweet

Travel Realizations

Each of these weekend getaways offers its own unique attractions, landscapes, and experiences.

With its diverse landscapes, from coastal escapes and wine country retreats to bustling cities and charming small towns, California and its surrounding areas offer many options for unforgettable weekend trips from San Jose.

Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach escape, an adventurous outdoor expedition, or a vibrant city experience, you’ll find a perfect getaway within a few hours’ drive.

Use this comprehensive guide to 54 Top Weekend Trips from San Jose to plan your next weekend adventure and create lasting memories with your friends and family. Happy travels!

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Chirasree Banerjee

Hello. My name is Chirasree. I have been traveling for almost 11 years to places all over the world. I enter into a separate reality during my travels and enjoy the allure of escape from the mundane. I seek beauty through nature and human-made creations. Because beauty is powerful. I seek knowledge. I observe, absorb, and write about the places I visit and the profound realizations and inspirations that each place has to offer.