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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £32,000 Uncapped

    £22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £10,000 Uncapped - Part Time

    £7500 - £10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness chai...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Digital Marketing Executive (CRM, Eve...

    Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Sales / Customer Service Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: The role is likely to be 4on 4 off, days and ...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea