Fall Colors: You Don’t Need to be on the East Coast

Although California can’t compete with whole forests of trees turning colors in New England, California does hold its own and displays a surprising bounty of fall foliage. There’s even a website, http://www.californiafallcolor.com/, dedicated to our state’s fall show. The site’s tagline? “Dude, autumn happens here, too.”

And if you’re looking to stay local, the Bay Area has several spots where the leaves change to all shades of orange, red, yellow and brown. Here are some favorites:

San Francisco Botanical Garden. This 55-acre garden in Golden Gate Park is full of fall foliage – from the ginko trees that change to a bright gold to the dogwoods that go deep purple-red. Head to the Moon Viewing Garden to see what color the Japanese maple leaves are. You can even follow the Garden on social media to see how the leaves are changing on a daily basis. Open 7:30am with last entry at 5pm. Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way, San Francisco.

Tilden Regional Park. The hills above Berkeley will call you with their ever-changing leaf colors. Head to the botanical garden to witness the colorful leaves of the cottonwood and dogwood trees, among others. Tilden Little Farm is another attraction that the kids adore. The park is open 5am-10pm, botanical garden 8:30am-5pm. FREE. 2501 Grizzly Peak Boulevard, Orinda.

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. A little further afield, this State Park is a great spot to set up a tent and explore during the fall months. Follow the Redwood Trail to find colorful maple leaves in addition to the trail’s namesake giants. 8am-sunset. Camping fees apply, day-use is FREE. Highway 29/128, Napa.

Oakland. From downtown to the foothills and corners like Montclair or Piedmont, Oakland offers a variety of trees and shrubs. Whether it’s a sycamore-lined street in Trestle Glen or Japanese maples near Lake Merritt, the variety of deciduous plants in the City can provide a spectacle of yellow and green during the fall months.

And after your adventures, stop by Public Market’s Food Hall to revive yourself with a delicious meal!