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10 Best Road Trip Destinations from NorCal

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Road trip season is here! That means it’s time to start planning out your next adventure. StorQuest is here to help with this list of the 10 best road trip destinations from NorCal. 

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta is an absolute must-visit. There’s so much to do! Summit the 14,000-foot volcanic peak the city’s named after. Paddle Lake Siskiyou, with snow-capped Mount Shasta as a backdrop. Tackle some challenging singletrack on your mountain bike. Shred Shasta’s slopes on your skis or snowboard. Or just take in all the epic scenery from the comfort of the city or a campground on the outskirts of town. You can’t go wrong here.

San Luis Obispo

Sand. Surf. Scenery. San Luis Obispo is a bit of a haul, but the spectacularly scenic drive along either Highway 1 or 101 is an adventure in itself. This quaint but lively college town on California’s underrated Central Coast offers many forms of outdoor fun – surfing, windsurfing, hiking, kayaking, kiteboarding, and more. Its eclectic downtown area is pretty amazing, too!

Monterey Peninsula

What’s better than exploring one of California’s most epic stretches of coastline? Whether you’re in the mood to score some killer seafood in amazing towns like Carmel, Seaside, or Monterey, or you’re looking to surf monster waves at Big Sur, a trip to the Monterey Peninsula checks off all the boxes.

Mount Tamalpais

Treat yourself to some of the best views in the Bay Area with a hike up Mount Tamalpais, a 2,500-foot peak jutting out of the Marin Hills. This iconic spot just north of San Francisco invites you to enjoy all kinds of activities, including mountain biking, road biking, and hang gliding. In fact, Mount Tam is said to be the birthplace of modern mountain biking. Be sure to also squeeze in a trip to nearby Muir Woods for an up-close look at towering old-growth redwood trees.

Santa Cruz

For a close-to-home road trip destination, Santa Cruz is worth a look. It’s home to some of the most picturesque beaches in California and all sorts of awesome activities. Stroll the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Seek out waves at the many surfing hot spots. Chase thrills on nearby mountain biking trails. Or simply enjoy this amazing city’s epic restaurant and entertainment scene.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Camp among some awesomely scenic volcanic peaks at Lassen. This gem of a national park east of Redding offers a little of everything. Beyond exploring the amazing volcanic landscape, you can camp, hike, fish, kayak, or just escape the noise of the city and take in the sights.

Pinnacles National Park

Overshadowed by some of the bigger-name national parks in NorCal, Pinnacles is no less worth a visit. This underrated destination about 80 miles south of San Jose features some unreal rock formations. From exploring the park’s network of talus caves to taking in the sights at Bear Gulch Reservoir, this lesser-known national park belongs on your road trip wish list.

Lake Tahoe

This one’s hardly underrated, but it’s an epic outdoor destination that deserves a spot on the list. The scenic terrain surrounding this iconic lake’s 72 miles of shoreline is home to endless opportunities for adventure – skiing, snowboarding, hiking, climbing, boating, mountain biking, fishing, camping, and so much more. It’s the definition of a NorCal bucket list item! 

The Sierra Nevada Foothills

Adventure comes in all forms in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. Whether you want to check out Yosemite, go whitewater rafting along the fast-flowing American River, or explore the quaint and charming old mining towns in Gold Country, there’s all sorts of fun to be had.

Mendocino

From the winding drive along Highway 1 to the miles of ruggedly epic coastline, this coastal city makes for an amazing road trip destination. Camp beside the ocean. Post up on the beach and immerse yourself in the sound of the ocean. Catch a glimpse at local artisans’ work at galleries and shops in town. Sample some awesome wines. Mendocino offers a little something for everyone.

So Much Awesome Awaits

Need a place for all your gear when you’re not out exploring all of California’s awesome destinations? Craft the ultimate gear locker at StorQuest Self Storage in Walnut Creek.

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