Need a quick escape from the city?

It’s pretty beautiful here at Parkmerced, but we all need a change of scenery sometimes.  Luckily our location makes it easy to explore some of California’s natural wonders – even if you only have a day or two.

We’ve made a list of some of our favorite adventures - all within driving distance from the city.  

  1. Pfeiffer Beach  (2.75-hour drive)- Grab your camera and drive down to this scenic Big Sur beach, which features purple sand and key hole rock formation.

  2. Fern Canyon (6-hour drive) - Home of Steven Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park film set, this slice of paradise is known for its 50-foot fern-covered walls and some of Northern California’s most historic redwoods.

  3. Glass Beach (3.5-hour drive) – Located in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, this tourism hot spot offers an abundance of colorful sea glass and stunning views.

  4. Santa Cruz Mystery Spot (1.5-hour drive)– The name says it all. This gravitational wonder, which draws thousands of visitors from all over the world each year, has been baffling physicists ever since its discovery in 1939.

  5. Monterey Bay Aquarium (2-hour drive) – Get up close and personal with some of the world’s most adorable sea creatures through the aquarium’s various day tours and live feedings.

  6. Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History  (2-hour drive)– Experience the overwhelming beauty of the monarch butterfly mating season from November to February each year. This monarch sanctuary is also just a short drive from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

  7. Burney Falls (4.75-hour drive)– Take a hike around several picturesque freshwater streams, lakes and waterfalls nestled among some of California’s beautiful national forests.

  8. Natural Bridges Trail, Vallecito – (2.75-hour drive) - This popular hiking spot is best known for its limestone caverns. By visiting in the Spring, you’ll also avoid the crowds and get a glimpse of the trail’s thriving wildflowers.

Whether you only have one day or an entire weekend, these regional gems are sure to satisfy your adventurous spirit.