Here Are 7 Awesome Things You Can Do In Northern California Without Opening Your Wallet
Savvy travelers know that sightseeing is a free activity. Bonus– it’s also a great way to explore new areas while getting in some steps! The only cost can be parking. But if you are willing to search for free parking or travel on certain days, you can forgo that cost, too.
If you’re up for some walking and want to see some of the prettiest sites Northern California has to offer, check out our list of free things to do in Northern California. You won’t have to open your wallet to explore these locales.
1. Bodega Bay
This Northern California beach is a popular whale-watching spot. With several great picnic areas, you can enjoy a meal outside while watching the ocean.
A number of hiking trails
will give you various views of the beach and ocean. Pick up a bag of saltwater taffy at
Patrick’s of Bodega Bay.
2. Tomales Bay
Tomales Bay is a small bay north of San Francisco that is gorgeous in foggy weather and in sunshine. Oyster lovers flock to this area to shuck and eat oysters, which are cultivated in this bay. Visit the bay at night and you might
see the beautiful bioluminescence
that makes the water sparkle.
3. Crissy Field
This wide open area on the northside of San Francisco is a
great place to spend the day.
With spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, you can wander around Crissy Field for hours just taking in the incredible views. Stop by the Warming Hut Park Store to get a hot chocolate, it’ll help keep you warm since this area is usually chilly and windy. If weather permits, bring a beach blanket and relax by the water.
4. Golden Gate Park
You can easily spend an entire afternoon walking around
Golden Gate Park.
There is plenty to see in the park, including some free sites. More than a half dozen lakes and ponds are scattered throughout the park. Walk along the many paths and trails within the park to see all the beautiful nature. Walk by the Dutch Windmill on the west side of the park. And don’t forget to see the buffalo wandering around the buffalo enclosure.
5. Golden Gate Bridge
Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge linking San Francisco to the north peninsula. It’s free to walk across the bridge and enjoy the views. Parking is hard to come by but if you’re up for walking, find free parking where you can in the north bay and walk to the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also get some great bridge views from several other areas on each side of the bay. See our article "
10 Spectacular Places in San Francisco To View The Golden Gate Bridge
Visit the oceanfront town of Pescadero and enjoy the state beach. The charming little town of Pescadero is very small but worth a visit. At the very least, drive through the tiny town and head straight
to the beach.
7. Kings Beach
The Lake Tahoe area is beautiful year round and there are always things to do. King Beach, on the northshore of Lake Tahoe, is a wide stretch of sandy beach that is the perfect place to picnic and take in the mountain views. In the winter, Kings Beach is a great place to snowshoe. Parking is not free, but reasonable at $10 per day or $3 per hour.
What other free things to do in Northern California should we include on this list? Tell us in the comments.
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Explore Northern California
Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Brg, San Francisco, CA, USA
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, USA
Bodega Bay, CA 94923, USA
Crissy Field, 1199 E Beach, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA