From South San Francisco to San Jose, the South Bay and Peninsula includes museums, top-ranked academia, luxe shopping, and some of the region's most breathtaking beaches. On the coast, enjoy a stroll on a stretch of sand before hitting up the charms of a scenic town. Pacifica
and the area near Half Moon Bay are surfer Meccas, with low-key eateries and friendly vibes to boot. Pescadero's
bakery is a must after taking in epic marine wildlife at nearby Año Nuevo State Reserve
Inland you'll find the glittering corporate campuses and multi-million-dollar homes of Silicon Valley, home to tech innovators Intel, Apple, Google, and more. The towns of Burlingame and Palo Alto offer cute shops and great eats; Palo Alto is also the home of academic powerhouse Stanford University, which is a contender for most beautiful university grounds in the country.
San Jose is the other city center (aside from SF) serving the business activity of the Valley and while it certainly doesn't measure up to San Francisco, it boasts some good dining and the apropos Tech Museum of Innovation. The nearby Winchester Mystery House
is the area's eeriest—and most fascinating—attraction. Need a retreat from the Peninsula's blend of suburban sprawl and techie wheeling and dealing? Saratoga's Mountain Winery is the perfect spot, especially in summer and fall when it features live-music performances.