The San Francisco Bay area, commonly known as the Bay Area, encompasses the area from Marin County in the north to the city of Gilroy in the south, and from the Pacific Ocean on the west to the Central Valley in the east. One of the most unique and diverse regions in the US, the bay area is made up of many sub-regions including San Francisco, the North, East and South Bay, and the Peninsula.
The jewel of the area, San Francisco, an international tourist destination, is the cultural and financial center of the bay area and of Northern California. San Francisco is considered one of the greatest cities in the world for many things, including five-star dining, a happening theater scene, and gay and lesbian culture. Famous for its iconic skyline, steep hills, cable cars and historic streetcars, Fisherman's Wharf, and the Golden Gate Bridge. It is the second-most densely populated major city in the United States.
Beyond San Francisco’s fifty-square-mile city, in the surrounding Bay Area, there’s so much more to explore including Silicon Valley’s innovations, Marin’s Headlands, and Berkeley’s free spirit. San Jose the largest city in the Bay Area, third largest city in California, is home to the San Jose Sharks, one of only three professional NHL hockey teams in the state. Oakland, the third most populous city, is a central hub for the East Bay, major industrial center and contains the Port of Oakland, the fifth busiest intermodal container port in the United States. Site of California’s Great America theme park, Santa Clara blends the best of a modern, urban metropolis with the comfortable charm of a small town.
The Bay Area is loaded with parks and recreation areas that offer ample opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area has challenging hill-type trail riding, hill-climbs and a professionally designed motocross track available. Enjoy rock climbing, horseback riding trails, and hiking at Castle Rock State park in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Bicyclists are challenged by the twisting road of Mount Tamalpais' 50 miles of trails within the park, and the 200-mile long trail system it connects to. The Bay area is host to many beaches, for example, four miles of sand at Half Moon Bay. This picturesque setting is ideal for sunbathing, fishing and picnicking.
Popular destinations; Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, Exploratorium, Ghirardelli Square, Chinatown, The Embarcadero, the Presidio, Muir Woods, Point Reyes National Seashore, Mt. Diablo State Park, Discovery Kingdom, Winchester Mystery House, Gilroy Gardens Theme Park, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, San Francisco Zoo, Oakland Zoo, Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, and Hiller Aviation Museum.