We've all heard that there's no place like home for the holidays. But at HI USA, we believe there's a hidden meaning behind the old adage: sometimes, spending the holidays far from your comfort zone can be a great thing! Just ask any traveler who's ever shared a holiday meal with a group of new friends, or anyone who's unwittingly arrived in a foreign country at the start of an exotic holiday season.
A caffeine fix, a break from the go-go-go lifestyle of backpacking, a ringside look at the local culture – there are so many reasons we love stopping into neighborhood cafés wherever our travels take us. And here in Northern California, there are endless ways to make a run-of-the-mill refueling stop into a one-of-a-kind experience: from no-frills cups of Joe at corner mainstays, to sweet concoctions in exotic neighborhoods, to artful pours of espresso at high-class hideaways, here a few of our favorites spots for coffee and culture.
Ever hear the old saying that life's about the journey, not a destination? Out here in Northern California, we tend to take it a step further: Here, sometimes the journey is the destination. Transit time in our lovely region isn't just a way of getting from Point A to Point B – it's an eye-opener in and of itself. Just ask anyone who's ever taken a bicycle tour, big or small, around our neck of the woods!
From National Park land to downtown streetscapes, hillside perches to coastal lighthouses, HI hostels are located in some of the most beautiful settings Northern California has to offer. So perhaps it's not surprising that so many staff members across our hostel network are talented (and prolific) artists: they've got a lot of inspiration to work with!
An escape to the middle of nowhere always sounds great. Until, that is, you get there and suddenly realize: there's nothing to do. Of course, if you're lucky - or if you've planned your getaway just right - you end up in a place where "middle of nowhere" meets "plenty to do." A place like Point Reyes National Seashore.