So, you finally come out to California for your sun-filled, beach-tastic vacation, and what happens? It decides to rain. It's nothing personal: the Northern California weather can be indecisive, with warm snaps in the winter and rain storms pretty much any time. The good news is, the rain isn't always here to stay. And the better news is, even when it's cats and dogs outside, there are still plenty of ways to experience everything that makes Northern California special.
Being in the hostelling business, we’ve heard all manner of travel philosophies over the years. Every traveler, it seems, has his or her own reasons for staying in a hostel: some like the social aspect; others love having kitchens on site; still others like to keep costs low so they can stay on the road longer. But there’s another kind of hosteller, too: the savvy traveler who wants to save on accommodation while splurging on activities.
Winter in Northern California means cool, bright days and crisp, chilly evenings. It also means always having a great excuse to duck into someplace cozy for a pick-me-up. From fire-lit bars, to brick-oven-warmed bakeries, to restaurants chock-full of cozy ambiance, we asked the staff at our seven Norcal hostels for their favorite local spots to warm up. Read on for their picks, and get ready to settle in for the winter.
There are a number of things I find myself feeling grateful for this morning: my body's unprecedented cooperation with actually getting out of bed when the alarm went off, despite the heavy darkness outside my bedroom window; the clear passage to the counter at my favorite coffee shop, free from its usual crowds in the still-fuzzy first light of day; and the perfectly timed arrival of the 49 bus, which takes me from the Mission, the San Francisco neighborhood I call home, to Fort Mason, the little national p
Every winter and spring, approximately 18,000 Pacific gray whales embark on an annual migration from their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic Bering and Chukchi Seas to warm birthing lagoons off the coast of Baja California. During the epic 10,000+ mile round-trip journey -- one of the longest in the animal kingdom -- gray whales hug the coastline, offering a rare opportunity for land-dwellers to catch a glimpse of these enigmatic creatures.
It’s summer in the San Francisco Bay Area! OK, not really. But it sure feels like it these days. The famously foggy City by the Bay and its surrounding areas can get downright chilly during the real summer months. But many of our late-autumn and early-winter days bring the kind of sunshine and clear skies that just make you want to get outdoors. Luckily, the Bay Area has thousands of acres of National Parks to help you do just that.