DAY ONE: wine country to mendocino

Begin with a pickup at your hotel in San Francisco. Drive north for a stop to explore the charming Wine Country towns of Healdsburg and Boonville. Stroll amidst giant coast redwood trees at Big Hendy--as majestic as Muir Woods but without the crowds. Enjoy a wine tasting or two at the wineries that line the bucolic Anderson Valley. Head to the coast to the seaside hamlet of Mendocino, where you can browse local galleries and quaint shops, or take a walk along the dramatic Mendocino Headlands. Dine at one of Mendocino's excellent restaurants at your leisure.

DAY TWo: ALONG the california coast to bodega bay

Your journey continues with a scenic drive along the spectacular cliffs that line the Mendocino and Sonoma coast, where the vistas rival those of Big Sur. Stop at the Point Arena Lighthouse and climb to the top of the tower for magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean. Visit rustic Fort Ross, a Russian settlement from the early 1800s that sits atop a dramatic oceanside bluff. Watch the fishing boats coming in and out of tranquil Bodega Bay, and dip your toes into the ocean during a walk on the beach. Spend the night in Sebastopol, home to numerous wine tasting rooms and several superb places to enjoy dinner.

DAY THREE: tomales bay, point reyes, and the golden gate bridge

After a morning drive to Tomales Bay, hone your skills during an oyster shucking lesson and tasting at famed Hog Island. Continue the tasting tour in Point Reyes, where you can sample award-winning local cheeses at the Cowgirl Creamery. A drive through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area brings you to Stinson Beach--a favorite of Bay Area locals. A final dramatic drive through the Marin Headlands brings you back over the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco, where you'll be dropped off at your hotel.