The Northern California Bay area is much more widespread than just the popular San Francisco area.

Known by its iconic Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is a popular vacation spot for visitors of all ages. Yet Northern California’s Bay Area has more to offer beyond its tourist hot spots. Hills, mountains and the sweeping coast offer spectacular scenery throughout the Bay Area. An active adult lifestyle is easily supported as well, with diverse attractions including golf courses, vineyards, shopping districts, outdoor recreations and performing arts venues.

The Bay Area typically refers to the Northern California region which encompasses San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. It includes nine counties and is home to a wide variety of cities, towns, parks, airports and other attractions. Although living in the city is expensive, active adults can find affordable homes in various towns throughout the Bay Area.


When it comes to weather, the Bay Area is quite different from sunny Southern California. Generally, the region has a relatively temperate, if somewhat damp and foggy, climate. Summers are warm and winters are mild, yet microclimates throughout the region can cause big changes from one area to the next, particularly when moving from the coast into the mountains.


There are five general regions within the Bay Area: San Francisco, North Bay, East Bay, South Bay and the Peninsula. San Francisco is the centerpiece of the region. It features diverse neighborhoods and a wide range of urban attractions.


San Francisco boasts many charming tourist spots like Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge. The North Bay is best known for its Napa Valley vineyards. Wine lovers can enjoy the region’s scenic beauty with a day of tours and tastings. There are over 200 wineries in Napa Valley, and the busiest times to visit are in the summers and during the fall harvest.

Active Adult Communities Nearby

Active adults who love this northern region may find their dream homes in nearby communities like Oakmont Village, in Santa Rosa, or Clover Springs, in Cloverdale. Across the bay from San Francisco, the East Bay includes well-known cities like Oakland, the Bay Area’s largest city, and Berkeley, home of the University of California.

The East Bay includes an interesting mix of urban attractions and historic charm. Sports fans can cheer on the Oakland A’s, the Oakland Raiders and the Golden State Warriors. Nature lovers may prefer a trip to the John Muir National Historic Site. Active adult communities in or near the East Bay include popular developments like Rossmoor, in Walnut Creek, and Trilogy at the Vineyards, in Brentwood.

The South Bay and Peninsula regions lie south of San Francisco, with the Peninsula closest to the coast. The Peninsula has coasts that stretch along both the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It features wilderness areas which are ideal for hiking and other outdoor recreations.

The border between the Peninsula and South Bay region is blurry, but the South Bay includes most of the Silicon Valley area, as well as cities like San Jose and Mountain View. Active adults who prefer this area can find a diverse mix of homes at The Villages Golf and Country Club, in San Jose.

Whether planning a vacation or considering a relocation, the Bay Area has something for everyone. Mountains, hills, vineyards, and sweeping coasts provide spectacular scenery, while urban centers and small towns offer a wide range of local attractions.