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Disclaimer: Visit Tri-Valley was kind enough to host me in exchange for coverage on my blog. As always, all opinions are my own, and it’s my biggest priority to write about my honest experiences to help my readers.
Lately, I’ve really warmed up to the idea of traveling solo around California more often.
This massive state has so many unique destinations, ranging from coastal road trips to iconic cities to breathtaking national parks, that I could spend hours driving through California and never run out things to see and do.
California truly feels like a solo traveler’s playground.
However, California is understandably super popular, and as much as I like “famous” places such as San Francisco and Napa, I was lucky enough to travel away from the tourist crowds and have a relaxing weekend getaway in the Tri-Valley.
Solo Travel Tri-Valley: My Experience
I absolutely positively loved the Tri-Valley. As I was arriving to Dublin on the BART, all the heavy fog melted away into glorious sunshine. As the warmth hit my face, I knew at that moment that I would have a delightful trip.
Most of my weekend was spend taking history tours in Pleasanton and Danville, as well as eating at farmer’s markets and family-run restaurants. Oh, and exploring the Beer Trail, of course.
I seriously felt refreshed and relaxed every single day, and each night, I wondered why the Tri-Valley wasn’t even more popular with solo travelers.
Well. I am here to change that!
If you’re considering a northern California trip in the near future, then definitely do some research and consider adding the Tri-Valley to your itinerary.
Tri-Valley Solo Travel Tips
I wanted to share a couple of practical solo travel tips for the Tri-Valley, before discussing the fun reasons why this region should be your next getaway!
Honestly, travel to and around the Tri-Valley is a breeze, and shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for experienced solo travelers.
Where is the Tri-Valley Located
The Tri-Valley is located on the “sunny side of the bay.” As you’re flying into San Francisco, you will see lots of rolling mountains prior to your descent into the airport. That’s the Tri-Valley.
Fun Fact: The Tri-Valley is named after a group of valleys in the East Bay Area: Amador, San Ramon, and Livermore Valleys.
In these valleys, you’re able to explore four cities and towns, each with their own character and charm: Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, and Danville.
How to Get to the Tri-Valley
If you’re looking for a nearby San Francisco getaway, then the Tri-Valley is an excellent choice for you! This area is located only 35 miles away from San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge!
You also have plenty of airports to choose from. Seriously, that your pick.
- San Francisco International Airport: Roughly 40 miles away. Connected on the BART.
- Mineta San Jose International Airport: Roughly 30 miles away from the Tri-Valley.
- Oakland International Airport: At roughly 20 miles away, OAK is the closest airport to this region. If you have money to spare, reserve a taxi ahead of time for your visit.
After You Land in CA
Your plane’s wheels have touched the runway. What now?
Rental car provides the most freedom for exploring the Tri-Valley. However, a rental car is not required for visiting this region, which is awesome!
For example, flying into SFO (San Francisco International Airport) and traveling to the Tri-Valley is super easy, even for solo travelers! Tri-Valley’s Dublin/Pleasanton Station is the final stop on the blue Daly City-Dublin/Pleasanton BART line.
Simply board the BART at SFO and switch at the Daly City station to board the train for Dublin.
Where to Stay in the Tri-Valley
As for accommodation, the Tri-Valley has a variety of options for all budgets. Do your research ahead of time to find the perfect town and hotel for your solo trip.
As a personal recommendation, I really loved my stay at Aloft in Dublin-Pleasanton and felt very welcome as a solo traveler.
Aloft is located super close to the BART station. I took an Uber, and the entire journey only took about ten minutes, which was perfect!
And do you want to hear the best part about staying at Aloft in Dublin-Pleasanton? The adorable robot butler!
I’m dead serious. You can have a robot bring your food right to your room. For example, during my stay, this cute robot zipped down the hallway with my breakfast (or other room service treats) inside of it. I had two food deliveries at Aloft, just because I thought the robot was so cool, and it never failed to make me smile!!
You can find Aloft at 4075 Grafton St.
7 Reasons to Travel Alone in the Tri-Valley
Whew! Now that practicalities are out of the way, we’re going to talk about all the amazing reasons why you should travel alone in the Tri-Valley on your next trip to northern California.
Time to take notes, fellow solo travelers!
Super Safe Towns and Cities
The Tri-Valley is very safe for solo travelers.
As a solo female traveler, I never once felt nervous or on edge at any of places that I visited on my weekend getaway. I actually felt safer exploring the Tri-Valley than I do in some nearby towns in New Jersey where I currently live.
Honestly, the sun poses the greatest threat to solo travelers. Especially in summer, the California sun is blazing hot with extremely high risk UV rays in the middle of the afternoon.
So pack sunscreen. I wore SPF 50 lotion that I applied throughout the day, and still looked tan at the end of my trip! I also recommend wearing a hat with UV protection.
Now that we’ve talked about the sun, let me tell you about the three lovely the Tri-Valley cities that I enjoyed on my solo vacation.
Although Dublin is a larger city, it has the same warmth as a small town. I loved staying in Dublin as a base, because it’s conveniently located in the middle of all the action and makes reaching the attractions a breeze.
Dublin’s sense of community creates a truly welcoming place for a solo female traveler to relax.
For example, I had the pleasure of going to Picnic Flix at Emerald Green Park on my first night in the Tri-Valley.
As I ate movie snacks at the food trucks and watched the Disney classic Aladdin, I felt as if I was truly part of the Dublin community rather than a traveler coming through for a brief visit.
I also had the pleasure of chatting with locals at World of Beer who made me feel extremely welcome.
Danville is a historic gem in the Tri-Valley. The shops and homes here are so adorable, and you’ll definitely want to do your very own self-guided history tour to appreciate this town on a deeper level.
You also will discover that Danville has a lot of things to see and do, which will keep you busy for hours, especially on a pretty sunny day! For example, I did plenty of shopping and ate plenty of chocolate, and much like Dublin, the locals are also more than willing to have a chat with a solo traveler.
I was even asked to come back for another visit on my guided tour to Tao House! So sweet!
Last but not least, Pleasanton is another town that will welcome solo travelers with open arms.
After 2020, the main street has been beautifully transformed into a pedestrian only space that allows for lots of great shopping and outdoor dining.
Much like Danville, Pleasanton is very proud of their local history and you can either do a self-guided walking tour or arrange a tour with the Museum on Main (more on that later).
If possible, I recommend that solo travelers go to Pleasanton during their farmer’s market! I loved chatting with local farmers about their products and certainly enjoyed eating too, haha!
Lots of “Solo Traveler Friendly” Dining Options
Let’s talk about the food. Oh my god, the incredible food.
As a solo traveler, finding a place to eat is always a challenge, especially for those of us who feel super duper awkward asking for “a table for one.”
But, luckily for you, the Tri-Valley is home to tons of incredible restaurants that are very welcoming to solo travelers! Yay!
If anything, you’ll probably have too much to eat. Not that that’s a problem, of course.
- Any Farmer’s Market: Tri-Valley has a lot of wonderful farmer’s markets where you can try all the local produce. Check ahead of time to see where and when the next farmer’s market will take place.
- Beer Baron in Pleasanton: Located right on Pleasanton’s main street, Beer Baron has 25 craft beers on tap and a beautiful bar for a solo traveler to sit and unwind. You can find Beer Baron at 336 Saint Mary Street.
- Danville Brewing Company in Danville: If you want some good bar food and hyper local beers, then I recommend trying Danville Brewing Company right in – you guessed it – Danville! I personally loved their Danville IPA. You can find Danville Brewing Company at 200 Railroad Avenue Suite A.
- Incontro Ristorante in Danville: This welcoming Italian restaurant in Danville has a gorgeous outdoor dining area. Incontro Ristorante made me feel like I was back in Italy. You can find Incontro on 455 Hartz Avenue.
- Mayflower Restaurant in Dublin: Tri-Valley is the perfect location for all Dim Sum lovers. You can enjoy a spread entirely for yourself at Mayflower Restaurant. This restaurants authentic Chinese dishes are cooked with love, and the energetic vibe inside is a lot of fun too! You can find Mayflower Restaurant at 4086 Grafton Street.
- Meadowlark Diary in Pleasanton: If you adore ice cream, then you have to enjoy a cone at Meadowlark Diary. This special stop on the Ice Cream Trail was founded in the early 1990s and has been a Pleasanton staple ever since! You can find Meadowlark Diary at 57 W. Neal Street.
- Locanda Amalfi in Pleasanton: Mmmm, what solo traveler who skip on the chance to have an entire pizza to herself? Not me! Locanda Amalfi has some incredible pizzas that you cannot miss! You can find Locanda Amalfi at 349 Main Street.
- World of Beer in Dublin: Tri-Valley is not just known for its wineries, but this region has a fantastic beer trail too! If you’re not sure what local craft beers to sample, then I highly recommend going to World of Beer in Dublin! You can sit at the bar, have a chat with the bartender, and order some snacks to go with your craft beer flight. You can find World of Beer at 4920 Dublin Boulevard.
Outgoing and Kind Locals
As I’ve said earlier, the Tri-Valley’s locals are super sweet and wonderful to tourists, especially those of us who travel alone.
On my own trip, I had pleasant conversations at the Museum on Main, at World of Beer, in the parks, at Tao House, inside coffee shops, and more! It seemed that everyone wanted to talk.
Without a doubt, solo travel feels lonely at times, especially when you see groups of friends and couples traveling together without a care in the world. The kind welcome that I received in the Tri-Valley touched my heart, and I am sure you will experience the same kindness from strangers too.
Remarkable History on Every Corner
History buffs will love taking a solo trip to the Tri-Valley. I was seriously surprised in the best possible way when I learned just how much locals care about sharing their local history with visitors. I feel like I learned more in my brief time in the Tri-Valley than I did any of my history classes in high school.
One of my personal favorite stops was Museum on Main, which is Pleasanton’s local history museum.
At the Museum on Main, you can go inside to see the thoughtful exhibits, as well as sign up for a free walking tour to learn all about Pleasanton’s unsung history and heroes from a knowledgeable guide. (PS: Shout out to Sarah Schaefer – who is an amazing director of education!)
Another amazing stop was Eugene O’Neill’s preserved Tao House that’s located not too far from downtown Danville. The National Park Service does a wonderful job conducting tours of Nobel Prize-winning playwright’s home. This tour is also an opportunity for solo travelers to see Mount Diabolo from a distance without planning a far hike.
Ultimately, as a solo traveler, you will learn a ton of local stories that you can share with friends and family when you come back home.
A Perfect “Self-Care” Destination
As you know, I think personal wellness is so important especially on a solo travel when your stress level may be higher than usual (hey, it takes a lot of energy and planning to travel alone).
The Tri-Valley has plenty of opportunities to indulge in self-care, which is a great way to wash away any leftover anxiety from navigating the airport, haha.
For example, the Tri-Valley has several beautiful wineries where you’re able to sit outside in nature and enjoy high-quality wine. I had a chance on my own visit to sip delicious white wine in Rubino Estates Winery while surrounded by palm trees (my favorites!). Just make sure to make a reservation in advance when visiting the wineries.
At the end of the day, the Tri-Valley is a place where you’re able to travel at your own pace and relax at any given moment. One of my favorite parts of my solo travels was in a park in Danville where I sat under a tree and watched all the locals enjoy their afternoon. So relaxing.
Easy to Explore With or Without a Car
I know I mentioned this earlier, but feel like I need to reenforce it: you can absolutely visit the Tri-Valley without a car.
Admittedly, at first I was nervous about visiting the Tri-Valley without my own car, but it turns out that I didn’t have to stress one bit about transportation! It was actually nice not having to worry about parking, for instance.
The Tri-Valley has plenty of ride share options, such as Uber or Lyft, which makes getting around this area a complete breeze.
If you’re using ride share apps, my suggestion is to spend a day in a particular town, so you’re not driving back and forth constantly, and paying multiple fares in one day.
Furthermore, if you’re staying in Livermore where most of the wineries are located, then you can take a trolley in-between sampling the region’s spectacular wines.
Ideal Location for a Bay Area Vacation
Last but not least, the Tri-Valley is a perfect stop to go on a longer Bay Area vacation.
Due to its location, the Tri-Valley is perfect for travelers to build into their itineraries without too much stress or hassle.
A win/win if you ask me!
I hope that you liked reading all about solo travel in the Tri-Valley! Have you ever been to Tri-Valley? Would you ever visit here on your own? Let me know!