Cul­tural rich­ness, scenic beauty and a boom­ing econ­omy

Travel Guide to California - - GOLF - BY LAURA DEL ROSSO

San Fran­cisco, Oak­land, Berke­ley, San Jose, Napa, Sonoma, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, Sausal­ito, Healds­burg

The San Fran­cisco Bay Area never dis­ap­points vis­i­tors: the ma­jes­tic tow­ers of the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Fran­cisco sky­line and other cities of cul­ture and great din­ing, an­cient red­wood groves, ex­pan­sive vine­yards and a coast­line of rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. Com­bine those with a Mediter­ranean cli­mate and a dy­namic en­vi­ron­ment of high-tech en­trepreneurs and it’s no won­der the San Fran­cisco Bay Area en­cour­ages a se­duc­tive, can-do way of life that re­volves around the high en­ergy of its res­i­dents and the great out­doors at its doorstep. The hub of the Bay Area is San Fran­cisco, a city of di­verse neigh­bor­hoods, world-class cui­sine and a wel­com­ing spirit of tol­er­ance in the most Euro­pean of Amer­i­can cities.

North Bay: Marin, Sonoma & Napa

Across the Golden Gate to the north lies Marin County, one of the most beau­ti­ful and af­flu­ent ar­eas of the U.S. Sausal­ito, Tiburon and Mill Val­ley are among its many invit­ing towns. The moun­tain bike was in­vented here to ma­neu­ver the twisty trails on Mount Ta­mal­pais. On the Marin coast, one ruggedly gor­geous beach fol­lows another, in­clud­ing along spec­tac­u­lar Point Reyes Na­tional Seashore.

Also in the North Bay, Sonoma and Napa coun­ties are home to acres of vine­yards and dozens of winer­ies pro­duc­ing some of the world’s finest wines. Among the small towns full of bou­tiques, shops and tast­ing rooms is the Napa Val­ley ham­let of Yountville, a foodie din­ing mecca, with sev­eral Miche­lin-starred restau­rants, and, a bit north, the

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