8 Road Trips from San Francisco for a Family Weekend Getaway On a Budget

8 Road Trips from San Francisco for a Family Weekend Getaway On a Budget

    San Francisco is certainly a fantastic place to live or visit, but sometimes you just need to get out of town. Plan ultimate road trips to explore fabulous destinations where families can enjoy weekends unearthing new environments and seeing new sites. Whether you are looking to sunbathe on the beach, spend a day at a spa, go biking, kayaking, diving, surfing, whale watching or enjoy charming and natural sceneries, there are 8 top-rated best places for road trips with a family on a budget to choose from near San Francisco.

 1. Sacramento 

Distance: 87.9 Miles; Driving time: 1 Hour and 38 Minutes.

Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the seat of Sacramento County. Sacramento offers a range of exciting, educational and historic attractions sure to entertain all of ages. 


Families will want to check out the cheetahs, jaguars and crocodiles at the Zoo while political buffs should head to the state Capitol, which features a park and museum on California history, or the Governor's Mansion. Anyone with an interest in trains will enjoy the Railroad Museum's massive collection of antique locomotives. Everyone will enjoy the restaurants and shops of historic Old Sacramento on the city's lovely waterfront.


Sleeping in Sacramento on a Budget

Sacramento hotels and places to stay low to $34. Cheap accommodation in Sacramento: Hostelling International Sacramento, Whole. Styl One, Super 8 by Wyndham Sacramento, Motel 6 Sacramento-Old Sacramento North, EconoLodge Sacramento North and so on.

If you are seeking for more hotels in Sacramento, visit TravelocityTrip.com TripAdvisor where you can find the best vacation hotel deals. Plus don't forget to earn up to 4% cashback from Extrabux!

 2. Lake Tahoe 

Distance: 194 Miles; Driving time: 3 Hours and 27 Minutes.

Lake Tahoe is the only destination in the country that combines two strikingly different worlds: The spectacular beauty of a national park, and all the desirable amenities of a world-class resort.

Lake Tahoe

At Lake Tahoe, you and your family can enjoy a full range of exhilarating outdoor activities – from skiing and snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sleigh rides and sledding to hiking, biking, kayaking, boating, fishing, swimming, and golf - alongside the excitement of 24-hour nightclubs, fine dining, gaming and entertainment.

Lake Tahoe

Sleeping in Lake Tahoe on a Budget

Lake Tahoe hotels and places to stay low to $49. Cheap accommodation in Lake Tahoe: Stateline Economy Inn & Suites, Pinewood Inn, Elevation, Thunderchief Inn, Beverly Lodge South Lake Tahoe & so on.

 3. Monterey 

Distance: 112 Miles; Driving time: 2 Hours and 39 Minutes.

Monterey is best known to visitors for its cannery history, its diverse marine wildlife, its proximity to the golf courses of Pebble Beach, and for having one of the best aquariums in the country.


You can walk around the Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf area, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, taste a sea food lunch or dinner, and perhaps take a drive on the famous 17-Mile Drive for scenic views, popular golf courses, and the Lone Cypress. Marine wildlife, such as sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, jellyfish, dozens of sea birds, and even whales, are often seen on the coast and along the waterfront so keep your eyes open.


Sleeping in Monterey on a Budget

Monterey hotels and places to stay low to $46. Cheap accommodation in Monterey: HI Monterey Hostel. 

 4. Carmel-by-the-Sea 

Distance: 119 Miles; Driving time: 2 Hours and 3 Minutes.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a perfect place for a romantic or family getaway. You can even bring your dog - Carmel’s hotels, restaurants and galleries are remarkably Fido-friendly.


Carmel has nice beaches, cozy bed-and-breakfasts, cute shops, and maybe a few candy store and is one of famous weekend oceanside getaways near San Francisco.


Sleeping in Carmel-by-the-Sea on a Budget

Carmel hotels and places to stay low to $152. Cheap accommodation in Carmel: Carmel Resort Inn, Hofsas House Hotel.

 5. Big Sur 

Distance: 143 Miles; Driving time: 2 Hours and 53 Minutes.

Big Sur is probably one of the most beautiful and quaint places on Highway 1. You will be surrounded by nature all weekend long here. It was Highway 1 that would make this area more accessible and later bring tourism to this area. Big Sur offers a lot of relatively unspoilt coastline, beaches, forests, and wilderness area. 

Big Sur

There are several state parks in the area, and Big Sur also offers hiking, camping, mountain climbing, kayaking, boating, and other outdoor activity opportunities. The notable points of interests (all can be seen from the road) of Big Sur are the Bixby Creek Bridge (you’ll drive across it on Highway 1), McWay Falls located within Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (access to the waterfall by foot is often prohibited), and the Point Sur Lighthouse which is part of Point Sur State Historic Park (guided visits available).

Big Sur

Sleeping in Big Sur on a Budget

Big Sur hotels and places to stay low to $75. Cheap accommodation in Big Sur: Motel 6 Watsonville - Monterey Area, Monterey Fairgrounds Inn, Magic Carpet Lodge and so on.

 6. Santa Cruz 

Distance: 75.7 Miles; Driving time: 1 Hour and 21 Minutes.

Santa Cruz is located in the south of San Francisco and is a convenient location from which to explore areas along Highway 1. There are many activities that appeal to you and your family. 

Santa Cruz

Home to the legendary Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined downtown area, and the historic Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, which stretches out a half-mile into the waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Other highlights include UC Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, and nearby redwood forests.

Santa Cruz

Sleeping in Santa Cruz on a Budget

Santa Cruz hotels and places to stay low to $98. Cheap accommodation in Santa Cruz: Motel Santa Cruz, Capri Motel - Santa Cruz, Budget Inn Motel and so on.

 7. Yosemite National Park 

Distance: 167 Miles; Driving time: 3 Hours and 17 Minutes.

Yosemite National Park is managed by the National Park Service and covers an area of 748,436 acres, which is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. It is America’s third-oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is renowned for its granite cliffs and waterfalls. Half Dome and El Capitan are two of the formations made famous by photographer Ansel Adams. The valley is open year-round for camping, hiking, and climbing. In Summer, you can stay cool by swimming, rafting, fishing, tubing, and more in and around Yosemite.

Yosemite National Park

Sleeping in Yosemite on a Budget

Yosemite hotels and places to stay low to $78. Cheap accommodation in Yosemite National Park: Toiyabe Motel, Country Inn Sonora, Jamestown Railtown Motel, Miner's Motel and so on.

 8. Redding 

Distance: 235 Miles; Driving time: 4 Hours and 15 Minutes.

Redding offers a variety of water sports. from whitewater rafting on the Sacramento River to waterskiing, swimming, fishing and sailing on Shasta Lake, one of four magnificent manmade lakes in this northeastern California town.


When you're ready to dry off, there are also plenty of land-based activities, like camping or hiking in the national forests and parks, following walking trails through the 220-acre arboretum or spending time exploring two fabulous parks: Shasta State Historic Park and Turtle Bay Exploration Park. At Shasta State, you'll find the ghost town of Shasta City from the Gold Rush days, complete with restored stagecoach, barn and courthouse, with eerie reminders of where prisoners were kept and sometimes hanged. 


Sleeping in Redding on a Budget

Redding hotels and places to stay low to $59. Cheap accommodation in Redding: Stardust Motel, Motel 6 Redding North, Travel Inn, Motel 6 Redding South, Motel 6 Redding Central and so on. 

 Renting a Car for Road Trip 

If you need to rent a car to start your road trip, you can book at Dollar Rent A Car, EuropcarAvis, Thrifty, Hertz, Sixt Rent A CarCarRentals.com. Don't forget to earn up to 6% cashback from Extrabux!

Most of the 8 incredible destinations near San Francisco are under 4 hours. You can drive to a favorite place and spend a wonderful weekend with your family!!!

2019-07-11 18:00138