Big Sur Campout: Big Sur is among the world's most beautiful places to pitch a tent. The problem: Everyone knows it. Campground reservations often fill months in advance. Though it's not immune to crowds or filling-up, Andrew Molera State Park is your best bet for an eleventh-hour trip because you have to walk a third of a mile (a deterrent for many) to the 24 tent sites, and it doesn't take reservations. The campground is also a short hike from a two-mile-long beach, hiking trails, and oceanside horseback riding through Molera Horseback Tours.
Going Coastal --and Kid Friendly -- in Monterey: from seal watching and easy strolling (plus great places to picnic) at Point Lobos State Preserve to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's new exhibit. Monterey's a great place for family fun.
>> Horsing Around
Point Reyes Relaxer: Point Reyes Station strikes a fine balance between backyard wilderness, small town charm, and big city taste. For a walk in the wild, start the day with a long stroll on Point Reyes' Limantour Beach, a narrow spit of land that's over 2 miles in length. With its endless ocean vistas, abundant bird life, and heaving tides, Limantour Beach invites you to walk all day on its sands. Dogs love this place at least as much as humans, yelping as they dash up to the waves and retreat. As a south-facing beach, Limantour basks in sunshine until late in the afternoon. Good tidings for all.
Country Biking in Autumn: Bike with the whole family along the mostly car-free West County Trail in Sonoma County. This wide paved trail connects Sebastopol to Forestville along an old railway; it's 6 miles (one-way) of sweet country cruising through golden hills and rich ruby vineyards. The ride's flat, and the trail's currently festooned in red, rust, and mocha-colored leaves. Go in the next few weeks and the black oaks will be flexing their beauty, too.
Delicious City Stroll: Urbanites and Foodies unite. Savor a San Francisco hike 'n' eat expedition filled with classic views, tasty food, hidden stairways, and easy streets.
WeekendSherpa.com is an award-winning weekly e-mail newsletter about getting outdoors and living the Northern California lifestyle. Publisher Brad Day started the online publication three years ago; it has grown to more than 20,000 subscribers purely by word of mouth; WeekendSherpa.com's content is syndicated in Thursday's edition of the San Francisco Examiner, and Brad is a often a local travel expert guest on KGO and KFOG radio stations. Brad has figured out a way to maintain a high open rate since starting Weekend Sherpa.
About Brad Day:
30-year-old Brad Day is a native Californian who grew up hiking, biking, skiing, and whitewater rafting throughout the Golden State. Every weekend Brad is out exploring the Bay Area's backyard so that he and his editorial team can bring the best and most up to date information on how you can enjoy Northern California's abundant recreational and leisure opportunities.