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Day Trip: North of the Golden Gate

For the busy Silicon Valley parent trying to get a day off for a trip is often a luxury. Vansh A. Gupta talks about his recent whirlwind tour north of San Francisco that could be the perfect route for a day trip.

(Above): The view of Stinson Beach from Hwy 1 vista point up in the mountains.

The current boom in Silicon Valley’s economy is all good but there is also a downside. Our parents seem to be a lot more engulfed in work than ever before, so much so that they can hardly find time to go on a family vacation.

In these times, when everything is getting compact, a vacation has also taken the shape of a “staycation.” Having researched about many day trip destinations, here is one we decided to take and it turned out be just right.

The magnificent North Coast offers a variety of treats. Beautiful historic towns, great food, wine, exhilarating drive across the bucolic mountains and along the Pacific Ocean, beaches and beautiful landmarks, are just a few of them.

(Above): Golden Gate bridge covered with fog. [Amar D. Gupta | Siliconeer]

We started with strolling and biking across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge connects Marin with San Francisco and was opened 77 years ago. The bridge walkway is accessible through the visitor centers at the beginning of the bridge and the vista point at the other end.

The crisp cold wind and endless fog that covers the top half of the bridge is a sight that is always refreshing, as if you were seeing it for the first time.

You can never get tired of it. Besides, the cold air is a huge welcoming relief from the heat of the South Bay. We spent some time at the bridge and the surrounding areas along with the sea of tourists that were arriving by busloads, in minivans, in SUVs, in limousines, all armed with cameras to shoot that perfect picture of the majestic yet elusive Golden Gate Bridge.

Once you get your perfect shot, it’s time to move on.

We drove up north and followed the short and scenic winding road to Muir Woods National Park. The tickets are affordable. Kids under 15 are free and adults are $7.00.

(Above): A hiking trail in Muir Woods.

Muir Woods has a range of trails with different levels of skill required for each. One trail also leads to Stinson Beach and few others circle around in Muir Woods National Park.

While we couldn’t wait to start the 2-mile-long hike in the famed national park, the smell of fresh food caught us off guard and we decided it was time to grab some lunch. We could walk afterwards and to add logic, we decided it would also be better as the walk would help digest the food.

Long story short, we ate lunch at the all-natural and organic café inside the park. The food was as fresh as it can get, and delicious. There is a gift shop full of novelties, and the restrooms are clean. Use it as there is nothing along the hike. A picnic area can also be found near the entrance. Once refueled, it was time to hike the Muir Woods forest, surrounded by huge redwood trees and dense vegetation. Don’t be intimidated by the hike, there are several trails, short and long, some steep others fairly easy, and watch out for Poison Ivy.

As we came towards the end of our hike the clock was about the strike three. In we jumped and drove away to the next stop, Stinson Beach.

The drive to Stinson Beach from Muir Woods in itself is very interesting. Green mountains with hairpin turns, and plenty of them, giving way to the Pacific Ocean, in my opinion, it is probably the most beautiful drive I have taken of late.

Before you know it, you have Stinson Beach staring at you.

The 20-minute drive from Muir Woods National Park goes through the mesmerizing and famous Coastal Highway 1.

(Above): Sunset at Stinson Beach. [Amar D. Gupta | Siliconeer]

Stinson Beach is the perfect spot to chill. Lie on the sandy beach or play in it, get refreshed with a dip in the ice-cold water. The water feels especially good on the feet after that hike in Muir Woods.

We stayed at the beach till it was sunset enjoying the serenity, calm and silent roar of the choppy Pacific Ocean waters. The sight was mesmerizing as the sun went down, disappearing in the ocean. We felt relaxed, rejuvenated and hungry!

We headed back to San Francisco, it was already nine, and it would take about an hour to drive to the city. That left us with few choices as far as dinner was concerned, especially if you are in the mood for exotic Indian food. Nevertheless, we ended up at Amber, San Francisco, and ate like we were seeing food for the first time that day. It was delicious and felt good.

(Above): A lonely crab at Stinson Beach. [Amar D. Gupta | Siliconeer]

I know all this sounds a lot, it is. But if you are good with time management, this entire trip can happen in one day.

If you have time, try squeezing in Point Reyes as part of your trip. It is further up after Stinson Beach. We intended to go there but as we were running late that part of the trip was cut off.

There are many cities within 20-30 miles that have restaurants that serve delectable cuisine. Some cities that offer a variety of cuisines are Fairfax, San Francisco, Sausalito, and Tiburon. If you are like me, here are some recommendations: Amber India Restaurant in San Francisco for North Indian. It is a bit pricey and it is for people who like their food a little spicy. Red Hot Chili Pepper serves the best Indo-Chinese food in Bay Area, and it is located in San Carlos, Calif.

Vansh A. Gupta is a freshman at Mission San Jose High School. He lives in Fremont, Calif.


Click here to read the Current Issue in Magazine format

Flouting the Fourth Estate:
PM Modi Delivers, Quietly

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Diplomatic Talks Cancelled: As Pak Woos Kashmiri Separatists
India needs to review its Pakistan policy even further, writes Priyanka Bhardwaj.

Crying: The Human Way of Purging Emotions
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EDITORIAL: Flouting the Fourth Estate
TECHBIZ: News in Brief
COMMUNITY: India’s 68th Independence Day Celebrations
OUTLOOK: Rethinking Undergraduate Education in IITs
ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Startup Accelerator
OPINION: Siding with Sachin
TRIBUTE: Father of Modern Yoga
RECIPE: Kung Pao Vegetables
AUTO REVIEW: 2014 Lexus RX 450h
TRAVEL: North of the Golden Gate
CINEMA: Meet the Patels
FICTION: Performance Bonus
HOROSCOPE: September

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