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People & Places

Best Staycations 

Wednesday, May 6 2015

Rent notwithstanding, we have it pretty good here in the City by the Bay. We get to regard one of the most romanticized destinations on the planet simply as "home." While it's rewarding to see people from far and wide marvel at the natural beauty right at our doorstep, we could use a little rest and relaxation ourselves from time to time. Luckily, we don't have to travel too far to find it. Retreat from the hustle bustle of urban existence — and, yes, the unending throngs of tourists — with the best weekend "staycations" in and around our own backyard.

If even the idea of weekend traffic over the Golden Gate Bridge is far too exhausting, rest assured that you can find tranquil seclusion within our very own 47 square miles. As a prime example, the Inn at the Presidio (42 Moraga Ave., 415-800-7356), overlooking redwoods and tranquil Mountain Lake, feels half a world away from the Tenderloin, but it's actually a free shuttle ride away via the nearby PresidiGo. Not that you'll ever want to return to the concrete jungle after a weekend spent sniffing eucalyptus as you hike the trail from its spa to the neighboring golf course. King size rooms start at $330. 

A little outside the national park but every bit as laid back is the Laurel Inn, (444 Presidio Ave., 415-567-8467) a pet-friendly boutique hotel in the heart of Laurel Heights. Why should you shell out roughly $160 a night for lodging in your own city? This urban oasis provides shelter from the storm in the form of immediate access to an underexplored section of the city, sensational skyline views, and an unpretentious cocktail lounge called Swank, which provides a welcome respite from those obnoxious outposts that dominate the more centralized weekend go-tos. A great way to renew your love affair with San Francisco. 

Not far away in Pacific Heights is the Monte Cristo Inn (600 Presidio Ave., 415-931-1875), the city's premier bed-and-breakfast. Originally a 19th century bordello, this historic landmark survived the 1906 earthquake, as well as Prohibition — as a neighborhood speakeasy. Quaint rooms evoke the past, with wooden bedposts, Persian rugs, and antique furnishings setting the Victorian mood. The serene setting not only feels like stepping into a bygone era, it feels removed from the surrounding city. And with rooms starting at $199, this criminally underutilized weekend retreat is something of a steal in this neighborhood.

But if these staycations seem steep for your budget, there's always free camping in the Marin Headlands. All you'll need there is a tent and your sense of adventure — and an advance reservation with the Park Service.  

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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