One Hour From: San Francisco

Raise your glass to the charms of Sonoma Valley. Idylic isles, fine wines and roaming robots ? this can only be California.

Raise your glass to the charms of Sonoma Valley. Idylic isles, fine wines and roaming robots ? this can only be California.
Buena Vista Winery

Founded by Count Haraszthy in 1857, Buena Vista is the oldest and most charming winery in the Sonoma Valley. Tempt your tastebuds in the original stone-built press room and stroll around the sumptuous sunny gardens littered with fabulous fountains.

By car: take US 101 north and follow signs for Sonoma, then head for Old Winery Road; journey time approx 1 hour 10mins.

Mount Tamalpais

Feel like Zeus looking earthward from the top of mighty Mount Tamalpais, which, at 2,600ft, provides eye-boggling views of San Francisco to the southeast, the glittering Pacific to the west, and redwoods country to the north. Drive almost to the summit or follow the old Miwok Indian trails across this state park's steep hillsides, through stands of gnarly old oaks and orange monkeyflowers.

By car: take Highway 1 north, followed by the Panoramic Highway to the park's entry point; journey time 40 mins.

Angel Island

If you think the only interesting island in the Bay is Alcatraz, then take a ferry to its lovelier sister. With hiking trails, forests and serene sunny bluffs, Angel Island provides the ultimate escape from the usual tourist hangouts. This former military base protected San Francisco's gold supply during the civil war, but today's Angel is now strictly a bird sanctuary. Explore the island and its ghost town by tram or on foot.

By boat: frequent ferry from Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf; journey time 25 mins.

Marine World

This amusement park is pricey at $43 entry, but promises motion sickness in so many different ways. Try the new V2 – Vertical Velocity, a spiralling impulse coaster that accelerates you to 70 mph while it tosses you up and down in 150ft cycles. Still standing? Then let your feet dangle from the Medusa, the fastest, highest roller coaster in the West. If you visit in October, don't miss the Halloween Fright Fest.

By car: take US 101 north, followed by Highway 37; journey time approx 30mins.

The Technology Museum of Innovation

This museum doesn't just display gadgets, it lets you toy with them, too, in the aptly named Imagination Playground. In a constant state of change, natch, its exhibits feature computers, lasers, space, futuristic stuff and programs for children.

By car: take US 101 south to San Jose; journey time approx 1 hour.

Travelbag (0870 890 1459; www.travelbag.co.uk) offers a seven-night room-only break at the Holiday Inn Civic Centre, from £756 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights from Heathrow and seven days' fully inclusive car hire.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
Diego Costa, Ross Barkley, Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers, Alan Pardew and Christian Eriksen
footballRodgers is right to be looking over his shoulder, while something must be done about diving
News
The illusionist believes hypnotism helped him to deal with the lack of control he felt growing up
people'It’s not that people react badly to it – they really don't care'
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
gaming
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Group Financial Controller

    £50000 - £55000 per annum: Investigo: A growing group of top end restaurants l...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Excellent opportunities are available for par...

    Investigo: IT Auditor

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: A global leading travel busi...

    Recruitment Genius: Chef De Partie x 2

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This charming and contemporary ...

    Day In a Page

    In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

    Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

    Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
    The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

    The young are the new poor

    Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
    Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

    Greens on the march

    ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

    Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

    Through the stories of his accusers
    Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

    The Meaning of Mongol

    Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible