Great Cities to Explore with Students (Series #3) – Outside and Beyond San Francisco Bay Area

Head one hour north, south, or east of the City by the Bay, and you’ll find destinations with fascinating student attractions.  San Jose, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara, home to Silicon Valley attractions, are easily reachable south of San Francisco.  Heading north to Sonoma County, you’ll find Santa Rosa, Muir Valley, and beyond where student visitors find some unique and amazing attractions.  And on the yonder side of the Bay (and north) you’ll discover another excellent theme park and other educational options.  Check out these possibilities…

  • Visit California’s Great America, one of Northern California’s most treasured theme parks, for a day of shows and thrill rides. Educational days (Math/Science/Physics) are offered on closed-to-the-public days, but our groups are welcome to join in. Student groups can also perform in the park.  For more scoop, email us at
  • Discover the much talked-about Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. Built by rifle heiress, Sarah Winchester, it is endlessly fascinating to student groups for both its beauty as well as its mysterious curiosities.
  • The Tech Museum of Innovation in downtown San Jose is an intriguing, budget-friendly museum showcasing exhibits, workshops, and experiences to inspire even the most serious future innovator. Incorporating hands-on vibe, the museum includes an IMAX theatre, exhibits in biotechnology, cyber safety, robotics, health care, and so much more!
  • The Symphony Silicon Valley offers classic programs with a professional symphony orchestra composed of musicians who are recognized as among the best in the Bay Area.
  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, one of the last great seaside amusement parks, treasures its amazing history since its opening in 1907. Two of its rides are designated National Historic Landmarks.  About 1 1/2 hours south of San Francisco, the park includes boardwalk food delights; indoor arcades, a 2-story miniature golf course, as well as thrill rides. It lies on a pristine span of beach along the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, located in Vallejo (north of San Francisco), boasts thrill rides, family rides, animal attractions, and entertainment. Six Flags also welcomes student entertainers who want to perform in the park.
  • Chabot Space & Science Center, located in East Bay’s Oakland, was founded as an observatory in 1883, but now includes interactive exhibits, workshops, plus Planetarium shows that explore the mysteries of space as well as the equally mysterious planet Earth. The museum stands as a leading center for informal science education.
  • Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center – Who doesn’t know Charlie Brown? Visit his understated creator’s museum to learn about the man behind Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, and the rest of the gang.   School tours are available along with hands-on cartooning classes, viewing collections, and workshops of many topics of interest. The museum resides in Sonoma County in the City of Santa Rosa, about 1 ½ hour north of San Francisco.
  • Muir Woods National Monument is an old grove redwood forest located in Mill Valley. Though parking is quite restricted, tour companies do bring groups to Muir Woods.    With 6 miles of trails including a ½ hour loop, a 1 hour loop, and a 1 ½ hour loop, Muir Woods also offers educational programs as well as a short program with a park ranger.  Because there’s no cell service or WiFi at Muir Woods, there’s a chance your students will encounter nature with no distraction.

Possibilities abound for customizing a trip that appeals to both your group’s interests and budget.   Linking one or more of these options along with a day in the City offers your students a great mix of adventure, education, and culture.  We’re here to suggest some great options for your next itinerary.  Email us at

Read Great Cities to Explore with Students (Series #1) – Los Angeles.

Read Great Cities to Explore with Students (Series #2) – San Francisco.

Read Great Cities to Explore with Students (Series #4) – San Diego.