Where did the summer go? Labor Day is around the corner and it’s time for one last summer California getaway.
South Lake Tahoe
The Labor Day holiday is the perfect time to enjoy South Lake Tahoe before the winter brings the annual avalanche of skiers and snow enthusiasts. Hike your heart out and explore the many South Lake Tahoe beaches.
There are beaches with restaurants, with marinas and water toys, beaches with live music and secluded beaches that offer quiet relaxation in the sun. Included, at no charge, are views of spectacular Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Water sports are available nearly everywhere. This might be a good time to learn to paddleboard.
For history buffs, visit Zephyr Cove Resort, built in 1900 in response to the Comstock silver-mining boom, or Camp Richardson Resort offering city folk a lake front retreat since 1924. Vikingsholm Castle, a grand estate of the 1920s, is located at the head of Emerald Bay, one of the most photographed spots in the United States. This magnificent structure, now a national and California landmark, is considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture outside of the Nordic countries.
Things to do
Hike Van Sickle Bi-State Park. Van Sickle is one the most accessible parks in the Tahoe Basin. A short climb from the trailhead quickly transports visitors to the serenity of the forest. The park’s easy to moderate trails are studded with rock outcroppings that present grand views of the largest alpine lake in North America and the surrounding peaks.
The Rim Trail Connector provides a tie-in to the famed Tahoe Rim Trail, designated by National Geographic Adventure magazine as one of the nation’s top ten trails. The park is open to hikers, bicyclists and equestrians.
Paddleboard on the crystal-clear waters of South Lake Tahoe. There are dozens of places perfect for paddleboarding and beautiful scenery and interesting sights to see. There are many places to rent paddle boards.
Info tahoecitykayak.com or tahoeadventurecompany.com
Eat, drink and be merry in the many restaurants and craft breweries that dot the South Lake Tahoe landscape. From mountain resort dining to lakefront cafes, you can find a unique dining experience for every meal.
Sausalito is a picturesque seaside town near San Francisco with the ambience of a European vacation resort. Offering quaint boutiques, upscale art galleries, a scenic waterfront walk and yacht-filled marinas this is the perfect Labor Day getaway.
Even locals from San Francisco feel they are “getting away” when they spend an afternoon here, although it’s just a few miles away.
Sausalito has been a favorite retreat of San Franciscans since the advent of passenger boat service in 1868. Visitors can see elegant houses nestled on wooded hillsides and can arrive the way wealthy Victorians once did, by boat. The ferry ride across the bay offers a spectacular approach to Sausalito, with marvelous views of the Golden Gate Bridge along the way.
Things to do
Ride a ferry. Getting to Sausalito is more than half the fun, and this exciting 30-minute boat ride is the most dramatic way to arrive in Sausalito. The ferry offers a fantastic scenic tour of San Francisco Bay, with sailboats, commercial ships and flocks of seagulls and pelicans. The ferry passes Alcatraz Island and offers a breathtaking view of Golden Gate Bridge to the west.
Walk the scenic walk along Bridgeway. For magnificent views and photo opportunities, take a stroll from the center of town along Bridgeway, a scenic road with old-fashioned street lamps that hold decorative hanging pots of colorful flowers.
This waterfront pathway begins around the ferry landing and goes in two directions: north towards the yacht harbors with the marinas and Mount Tamalpais as a backdrop or south towards the Bay with San Francisco in the distance. Keep an eye out for the iconic bronze seal statue, which is covered in water at high tide.
Houseboats and the Bohemian Artists’ Colonies are must-see sights in Sausalito. Houseboats have been part of Sausalito’s waterfront since the 1880s. After WWII, the houseboats began to attract a free-spirited Bohemian crowd and flotillas of houseboats became vibrant artists’ colonies.
Sausalito has around 400 floating home docks in five residential marinas. Many of the houseboats are colorful and feature whimsical exterior decor, with potted plants and artwork displayed on the decks.
Two interesting houseboat communities are at Galilee Harbor and Waldo Point Harbor. Visitors may take a self-guided tour around the houseboat docks, and on special occasions, some houseboats are open to the public for art viewings.
On Sept. 14, the Floating Homes Association will be conducting an open-homes tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A dozen homes will be open, ranging from funky to palatial. Advanced tickets are recommended. Tickets are $50 per person.
Just 45 minutes north of San Francisco, Sonoma County is one of California’s top food and wine destinations. It is home to more than 425 wineries. You can also find towering redwoods, visit inviting small towns and cruise along the rugged Pacific coastline.
Things to do
Wine tasting is among the most popular activities in Sonoma County. Visit beautiful wine castles and taste world-class wines.
Seek out and visit some of the small farms that dot the Sonoma County countryside. There’s even a map to help guide you on your way.
Explore the California Cheese Trail. Sonoma County’s distinctive, hand-crafted cheeses are a delight for “real cheese people.” The Cheese Trail winds through about a hundred miles of canyons, pastures and oak-covered hills, linking nearly 30 farms and creameries. Depending on the property, you can reserve full tours, cheese tastings and cheese-making classes, then visit with the farm’s goats, cows, sheep, or even water buffalo. Check out the Cheese Trail map for locations.