Living in San Francisco is amazing. We are absolutely spoiled with the mild weather year round, although this causes us to miss out on different seasons. Sometimes it's nice to get out of the city and go somewhere to see the beauty in tree leaves changing colors and just find somewhere a bit slower in pace for a weekend.
This past weekend, I got out of the city to take my nephew to Apple Hill. Apple Hill is about 30 minutes north of Sacramento, with over 50 farms and ranches with fruits, produce, plants, activities and so much fall beauty. I grew up going to Apple Hill each fall, and sometimes in the winter too because you can cut down Christmas trees there as well.
In the fall, some of my favorite activities at Apple Hill are apple picking, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, farm animals, train rides, and craft stands. They have tons of amazing Apple products during this time including apple beer and wine, apple pies (which we like to purchase and freeze to save for Thanksgiving), apple donuts, caramel apples, and so much more. Apple Hill is fun for kids, but there is just as much to see and do as an adult. It's definitely top of my list for favorite fall escapes.
Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley
Photo taken at Dancing Bear Ranch, a sister winery to Cakebread Cellars.
Wine county in Northern California is most beautiful and flavorful in fall, in my opinion! The leaves start to change colors on the beautiful trees and vines on the properties, and it smells amazing because harvest is almost complete during this time and you're able to smell the fermenting grape juice. The vineyards and tasting rooms also seem to be much less crowded, missing the crowds of tourists that come during summer. You can't go wrong with a day trip or weekend trip to wine country in fall.
Carmel-by-the-sea is one of the best weekend getaways in most seasons! Fall is a great time to visit, though, because you'll be amazed by the clear skies and gorgeous sunsets. Similar to wine country, you'll miss the crowded tourist season by visiting after summer as well. There's lots of tasting rooms if you're a wino, gorgeous beaches to walk on, and shopping (both high end fashion and cute little boutique shops). If you like to go wine tasting, check out the wine trail with 13 different tasting rooms in Carmel-by-the-sea. There is an annual international film festival during the 3rd week in October here too. It's one of my favorite locations for a fun girls week ended, but can also be perfect for a romantic escape!
If you're a city slicker at heart, and want to stay put in the city, there are certainly a few ways to find fall colors within San Francisco too! I suggest checking out the San Francisco Botanical Gardens to see some trees changing to fall colors or Clancy's Pumpkin Farm to find some cute pumpkins to carve to decorate your apartment. Regardless of whether or not you stay in the city or escape at some point during the fall season, you must check out Rogue Ale Public House in North Beach at some point this fall to try their amazing Pumpkin Patch Ale. 🍂🍺🎃