Sometimes you just need a car. But, how do you road trip sustainably? These are our sustainable San Francisco travel tips.
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Driving along the Pacific Coast highway just as the sun is rising is breathtaking to watch as the golden rays grace the top of the hills. But, when you’re whole lifestyle is aimed at being conscious and sustainable, a day drive along the West Coast (while it offers spellbinding views) can feel like the opposite of a sustainable lifestyle. So, how can you feast your eyes on the beauty surrounding a city like San Francisco while also exploring it sustainably?
Some trips simply require a car. While The Wellness Feed has offered tips on traveling that include public transit, biking, and walking, some travel destinations – like basking in the beauty of a coastal view- can only be reached by car. Here’s the thing about San Francisco: it’s a city best explored with a car if you ever desire to see more than the city center. No matter how incredible the Mission District is for vintage shopping- it’ll never compare to the beauty of the city’s surrounding hills, bays, and coasts. If like us, you’re eyeing a rental car San Francisco Airport service when you arrive, we’ve discovered a few tips and destinations that will help you to reduce CO2 emissions, embrace the local produce, and experience the thrills of a new city as sustainably as possible.
The Guide To Road Tripping In An Electric Car
At the airport, there are car rental services that now offer electric vehicles. There are the same range of options to choose from that you might expect from traditional car rental services including- sport, midsize, SUV, or compact. So whether you’re driving off the beaten path and need a sturdy four-wheeler to handle untamed roads or a sleek number perfect for parallel parking in the city, there’s an electric option to fit your needs.
While there are options galore- there are also things to note when renting an electric vehicle in a new city that are the same across the board.
Choose a hotel with a charging station: When renting an electric vehicle, it’s always a good idea to opt for a hotel that has a charging station. Some search engines offer filters so you can rest assured that wherever you stay, at least that detail is taken care of.
Know the different types of charging stations: There are three different tiers when it comes to EV chargers. The main difference is the time it’ll take for your battery to charge which can vary from 10 hours to 20 minutes. Generally, most charging stations you’ll come across at shopping centers and other popular areas are chargers on the second tier that will charge your battery within 1-3 horus.
Get a map of charging stations: Before you head out for the day, use a map like those offered by sites like ElectrifyAmerica to learn where charging stations are on your route. Likewise, you can also use Google Maps. Either way, this extra step, will ensure that you aren’t likely to run out of juice on your way to a great hike.
Best places to visit in San Francisco with your rental vehicle
Booking a rental vehicle can make the difference as you explore the city of San Francisco and as you hop from one place to another on a given time. Thus, having your own private car, it becomes easier and more convenient to visit the exciting destinations in the city such as the following:
Golden Gate Bridge
Of course, it goes without saying that a visit to San Francisco is incomplete without driving across the iconic Gold Gate Bridge, especially if it’s your first time in the city. To avoid traffic, opt for a drive at sunrise or dusk. Mid-afternoon 2pm-4pm is also a good time too to avoid rush hour. Or, if you prefer to walk, park your car by one of the walker’s entrances, and explore the bridge by foot. Either way will give you an awe-inspiring view of the city skyline, Alcatraz Island, and the Pacific Ocean. You can also drive to the Marin Headlands to get great images of the bridge and the City by the Bay.
From across the Golden Gate Bridge, you can head to the charming town of Sausalito. Situated along the waterfront, it’s a beautiful enclave of waterfront dining, unique shops, and some striking views of the city.
When visiting any city, one tip to reduce your environmental impact is to look for restaurants that focus on supporting local farmers, reduce waste and single-use plastic, and feature sustainably farmed or caught meat and seafood. Here are a few of our picks for good farm-to-table eats:
Farley: A local bistro that “pays homage to the seasonal bounty of Northern California.” Enjoy all-day menus that include local farm eggs, seasonal produce, and sustainably caught seafood.
Osteria Divino: This Florentine restaurant crafts delectable pasta dishes with seasonal organic produce and meat and fish when available.
Poggio: Northern Italian cuisine is the highlight of this restaurant that creatively combines local produce and ingredients to design a menu that changes with the seasons.
Muir Woods Park
The tallest tree on earth is thought to be a coastal redwood named Hyperion located in Redwood National Park. It measures a remarkable 380 feet tall. If you’re planning to visit this legendary tree or go on a peaceful hike, you can drive to Muir Woods. It’s about a 45-minute drive north of the city or a 16-mile bike drive for the adventurous and experienced bikers.
Those seeking a simple hike can easily engage in several of the 2-mile loops that are offered in the national park. Or, if you’re seeking a deeper insight into the mysteries of the world’s tallest trees, you can book a guided tour that will take you through the park and other landmarks close by.
When you have your car, it’s easier to make it to one of the city’s other prominent attractions- the Twin Peaks. The two prominent hills of the city are best reached when you can drive to the parking space on the hillside and hike the rest of the way up. You’ll have picturesque views of the city and its surroundings. Take advantage of the cityscape, the Bay Bridge, and the Golden Gate Bridge in one panoramic view at sunset for the best photos.
This 3.5 expanse of ocean and white sand dunes is easily accessible when you can drive. It’s a beautiful site to walk, bike, nurture your budding photographer, or even ride a horse, it’s not ideal for swimming. While you might notice surfers in wet suits hitting the waves, locals avoid the water because of the strong ripe tides. So, it’s best to enjoy the views with a beautiful picnic on shore.
Presidio of San Francisco
The Presidio is a place of historic value where it was once a military base before it became a national park. Aside from its rich history, it also offers a stunning natural beauty.
If you are driving on your car, you will be able to visit famous sites such as the Palace of Fine Arts, the San Francisco National Cemetery, and the Crissy Field. There are also different attractions that the Presidio has to offer wherein you can have the flexibility to hop in and out of your car within this popular tourist destination.