Valentines Outdoors NorCal


True Romance

It’s Valentine’s Day (followed by a long weekend to extend the mood): time to slip into something more comfortable…like the great outdoors! Here are a few great ways to get your motor running.

Marshall Beach

Go Marshall Mellow: Keep it secluded at one of San Francisco’s most private beaches. Once accessed only by brave souls willing to scramble down bluffs, today Marshall's Beach is easily reached by the eco-friendly Batteries to Bluffs Trail courtesy of Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

Vintage Oakland: Industrial waterfront, tucked-away enclaves, zig-zagging freeways in the distance, ahhhh wine country! Make that Oakland’s urban answer to wine country, where an imaginative flock of winemakers have uncorked a grittier side of the grapevine in waterfront warehouses—perfect to explore by bicycle.

Eye the Eagle: If your idea of true romance is taking an adventurous hike, lace up your boots for Mount Diablo's spectacular—and less-traveled—Eagle Peak. At 2,369 feet it’s not as high as Diablo’s main peak, but the 3-mile (one-way) journey to it is much more alluring, featuring a thrilling ridge section with drop-offs on either side…

Fairy Trail’s Come True: Wine and chocolate: romantic. Wine and hiking: "I do!" Bartholomew Park Winery is just a few minutes from Sonoma's historic downtown plaza and has 400 acres of preserved land with a namesake winery, picnic grounds, and miles of (dog-friendly!) hiking trails.

Retreat to Tahoe: Tucked in Hope Valley, 20 minutes south of Lake Tahoe, Sorensen's Resort is like something out of a Scandinavian postcard, including log cabins scattered among aspen trees and tiny white lights lending extra charm to the cozy village ambience. The fresh air adventures start right from your doorstep! Truckee’s 40-room Cedar House Sport Hotel combines contemporary aesthetics and thrilling outdoor adventures. Guests and non-guests alike can join the hotel’s in-house tour company on personalized adventures like state-of-the-art snowshoeing to epic panoramas.

My, How You've Evolved

Nothing says romance like hanging out with a Neanderthal, right? No, we’re not talking about your old roommate. We’re talking about making a date at the California Academy of Sciences for their cool new and immersive exhibit: Human Odyssey. It brilliantly follows the milestones of human evolution, from learning to walk upright to developing a bigger brain—capable of explaining how a population of 100,000 chimpanzees is more genetically diverse than today’s population of 7 billion humans (yep, 99.9% of your DNA is similar to your office mates'!) Interactive highlights include walking alongside a computer animation of the famous “Lucy” skeleton; coming face to face with your ancestors using an interactive 3D display; navigating the migration map to trace our species’ journey over the past 70,000 years; and discovering how humans almost went extinct (if you think today’s dating pool is slim, consider that there were as few as 10,000 mating pairs on the planet at one point). Make it a date and get in faster by getting your tickets online.

BONUS: While at the Academy be sure to also check out exotic habitats and animals: Walk among birds and butterflies in a Costa Rican rainforest; take a virtual safari through Africa; say hello to Claude, the albino alligator; and watch 15 African penguins dip, dive and waddle.