Below is my recent post on Quora about top three local day hikes in the SF Bay Area. (And by local, I mean within a two-hour driving radius.)
I’d like to add one more hike to this list: Alamere Falls in Point Reyes National Seashore. This hike offers an incredible variety of scenery. Of course, there is Alamere – a rare “tidefall”, which is a waterfall that flows directly into the ocean. But there are also lakes, walks on the beach and above it, open views and secluded tree groves.
Make sure to check the tide tables before setting out on this one. Also, descending via Wildcat campground makes the trip a bit longer, but avoids a steep scramble to the base of the falls via an unmaintained trail.
There is plenty of great local hiking in the Bay Area. Popular choices include redwoods (Big Basin and Purisima Creek), various parks and preserves on the slopes of Santa Cruz Mountains (views of the bay and the ocean) and East Bay ridges (views of the bay). But Alamere Falls and the three hikes listed above are by far my personal favorites for great non-stop scenery up close. Alamere, Angel Island and Point Lobos offer coastal beauty while Pinnacles is all about interesting rock formations.