Zipcar In and Around San Francisco: A Perfect Afternoon

The Bay Area is a fantastic place to visit, as there are incredible restaurants and natural areas, lots of history and culture and, above all, no humidity. I have most of my mom’s side of the family living in the area as well, making each time I go back relaxing and enjoyable. Also, there appear to be Revolutionary War-era ship battle reenactments near Sausalito from time to time. . .
Smoke from a full broadside
Boarding Party!
Golden Gate Bridge on horizon
However, what I might like best is the lack of people. San Francisco is like New York if Long Island didn’t exist – there’s definitely suburbia, but after venturing 20 minutes into Marin County, you find yourself on the Pacific Coast Highway, or Highway 1, with little to no traffic. For example, Long Island features any one of a number of overcrowded “parkways” that can become parking lots at any time.  In Marin, you can take the PCH for an hour or so up the coast with basically no traffic and then turn east to head to Sonoma and Napa, the wine capitals of America.  You can also drive for less time and park at Muir, Stinson or Bolinas Beaches and do nothing all day while watching the surf.
Perfect Weather at Muir Beach
Trip to CA isn’t complete with some surf
There are good restaurants in Olema, just north of Stinson, as well, if you want to stop for a nice lunch. Then you can drive out on the Point Reyes National Seashore all the way to the lighthouse, which is fricking amazing.
The Road to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. . .
My whip
 Coming back into San Francisco, you are going the opposite way of rush hour traffic over the Golden Gate Bridge, which makes going over that truly magical bridge even better.
Not much traffic
The best part of the PCH though is actually driving it – it’s curvy and dipsy and turvy right on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. The hardest part is staying focused on the road; the views are dangerous like that. I find that renting through Zipcar – specifically their BMW 328xi or Mini convertible options – is easily the funniest way to spend an afternoon. It’s not even that expensive either especially if going with a friend or two, as six hours costs only $90.
Considering I don’t drive in New York City because it’s crazy/ (beautiful?), parking is a struggle and will not be able to afford either of the vehicles mentioned above anytime soon, I find Zipcar a bargain price. With only one friend, the cost for a six hour rental is $45 per person, or close to $8 an hour. Zipcar pays for gas, insurance and up to 180 miles each rental period, as well. The annual membership fee is like $60 – scaling it out, you’ll find renting a car 5x a year adds only an additional $12 per rental.  For me, it’s still worth it since I don’t ever pay for gas, car note or insurance, as my only transportation fees are monthly Metro cards, which are tax deductible to boot (heyyy Wageworks)!

This post is not a shill for Zipcar – the prices in NYC are prohibitive and you are competing with everyone else from New Jersey to drive down to the beach in the summer. This post is only a shill for renting Zipcar when staying in San Francisco. This past weekend was the 3rd time I’ve rented through Zipcar and each time it’s been one of the clear highlights of my time spent in the Bay. Since it was 72 degrees F this past Friday, this rental was no different from the others – awesome. For anyone reading this in the Bay, get off your butt and sign up for a golden afternoon ASAP. For everyone else, plan to spend an afternoon on bombing the coast and wondering why you don’t live in Northern California.

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