The Bay Area. It’s known for its national landmarks and easy going coastal energy. And with a population of over 7 million people, there's got to be some fun stuff to do around here, right? Well, here's a list of the best places to go for day trips.

Alcatraz Island: Alcatraz is one of the most notorious places to visit in California. It’s located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and it was used as a military reservation in 1850. However, it’s actually famous due to its being used as a penitentiary from 1934-1963. The prison was built as a response to the rise in crime during the prohibition era. The strong currents around the island and cold temperatures are the reason it's known for its inability to escape. Visitors to Alcatraz can participate in mostly self-guided tours around the prison or the free programs that happen on the island.

Angel Island State Park: This is the largest island in the area. Visitors can get there via ferry or private boat. It’s been known to have some amazing views of Alcatraz and San Francisco as well as Oakland and Berkeley. There are different types of hiking trails as well as tours and amazing restaurants.

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve: This reserve was opened to the public in 1936 and was named after the Armstrong family who owned the land since the 1870s. The reserve is over 800 acres and features some unforgettable nature scenes such as the Colonel Armstrong and the Parson Jones Tree. Most visitors who go to the reserve hike the notable trails including The Discovery Trail, which is wheelchair accessible, and the Armstrong nature trail, which is paved and has exhibits in Braille.

Big Sur: The distance for this one may be a bit longer than the others, but it's definitely worth it. The Big Sur is a specific section of the coastal Highway 1 and is ninety miles long. It stretches through the redwoods and waterfront to Hearst Castle. There are several places to pull over along the way where tourists can take in the gorgeous oceanic views and the beautiful bridges. Restaurants and boutiques are also along the highway as well as campgrounds and hotels

Pinnacles National Park: Less than 2 hours south of San Jose, you'll find an amazing national park that doesn’t disappoint. The rock formations are spectacular and these hiking trails will get you up close and personal with them. This park offers unique activities such as cave exploration, California Condor viewing, and even Rock Climbing.

The Bay Area is full of places to adventure to. It could be anything from exploring nature to visiting local restaurants. There’s something for anyone. And with that, feel free to take into consideration as much or as little of this list as you would like. Happy exploring!

Mio Castagna

Mio Castagna is a part of the Class of 2023 at Freedom High School. They enjoy art and animals.

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