It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is this tomorrow. Every year I tell myself to slow down and really enjoy the lead up to the holidays, to spend time indulging in the traditions and merriment. Though, inevitably things get busy, especially for us makers and small business owners and all my plans to take my time and be present seem to slip by. 

This year the one thing I'm really looking forward to joining in on #optoutside! I plan to spend the Friday after Thanksgiving having a nice relaxing morning followed by a trek with my family into the woods. We're packing a lunch, likely a turkey sandwich thick with stuffing, and cranberry sauce, and heading out to enjoy a much-needed day away from work. 

I suspect I'm not alone in wanting a day to recharge, so with that in mind I've written down a few of my favorite ways to get outside. Here are 3 of my favorite hikes/walks in the Bay Area to inspire you to #optoutside, ideally with friends + family. Wishing everyone a terrific Turkey Day, hope you all have your stretchy pants ready!

Hike: Tomales Point Trail, Inverness

This trail has been a long time favorite of mine. The drive from Point Reyes Station is in and of itself fantastic, but the stretch out to what my family dubbed the "Elk Trail" is breathtaking. Picture rolling green hills spotted with cows and an ocean that goes on for what looks like eternity. The start of the hike is alongside a historic farm with a whitewashed barn that is almost too picturesque to be real. But best of all, if you're lucky ( you most likely will be) you will be rewarded with a heard of wild Elk that are the cherry on top of a truly fantastic hike. On your way home stop back in Point Reyes Station and pick up a bottle of wine and some cheese from Cowgirl Creamery to wind down your evening with. 

Where: French Trail, Redwood Park

I've been hiking in Redwood Park since I was a kid. It's a large wilderness area that features pretty spectacular redwood groves and offers a nice break from the city without having to drive too far out of the way. Once you get midway through the hike you're in a dense forest that is cool and shaded, a perfect spot to clear your mind from the stresses of the Holidays. Walk along a nice stream and enjoy the sun change as you step out from the forest into a sunlit path. When I go I often go in the morning and pop on a good podcast for a nice change from my usual routine.

Where: Point Lobos, Carmel

One of my closest friends and I take a trip out to Point Lobos every year for our birthday. We happened across this very short but breathtaking trail while on a road trip from Redwood National Forest down to Big Sur a few years ago. For the last three years we've driven out and spent the day in Carmel, a tradition I look forward to every winter. The first time we went we nicknamed the vista "Mermaid Cove", the turquoise water and Cyprus trees looked otherworldly with crashing and churning waves that suck you into a hypnosis. Point Lobos has a number of trails, each are meandering and mostly flat. They all run along the shore and are perfect for people of any age and energy level. If you go at the right time of year you'll spot a whale and sea lions too! 

Genevieve Bandrowski