California Bay Area Map

California Bay Area Map

From WikiTravel.org - The Bay Area (more fully, the San Francisco Bay Area), ringing the San Francisco Bay in northern California, is a geographically diverse and extensive metropolitan region that is home to over 7 million inhabitants in cities such as San FranciscoOakland, and San Jose. Once a focus of Spanish missions and Gold Rush prospectors, the Bay Area is best known now for its lifestyle, liberal politics and high-tech industry (Silicon Valley).

Although it doesn't have any firm boundaries, the Bay Area includes portions of nine counties: Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Alameda, and Santa Clara. San Mateo and the northern part of Santa Clara counties comprise the Peninsula while Contra Costa and Alameda counties comprise the East Bay of the Bay Area. The southern parts of Sonoma and Napa counties are considered part of the Bay Area for this guide, since their culture and economies face towards the Bay. To the East and South, whether outlying towns such as Gilroy and Santa Cruz are part of the Bay Area or the Central Valley/Central Coast respectively will depend on who you ask.

Regions

A small region of its own, the Bay Area still has distinct areas with their own attractions and cultures. The sub-regions of the Bay Area are described several ways, which may give the first time visitor the impression that the Bay Area is bigger than it really is. In fact, the unique geography of the Bay Area makes it relatively easy to get a sense of where you are.

Regions of the Bay Area
  San Francisco 
The de facto center from which directions to various regions in the Bay Area are made.
  North Bay 
Where you arrive when you cross the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and includes Marin, southern Sonoma, southern Napa, and Solano Counties.
  East Bay 
Lies across the bay from San Francisco, and includes Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Oakland is the most populous city in the East Bay, and Berkeley another major destination.
  Peninsula 
Stretches south down from San Francisco across San Mateo County and into the northern parts of Santa Clara County.
  South Bay 
South of the Peninsula and the East Bay, includes most of Santa Clara County, and is anchored by the most populous city in the Bay Area, San Jose.

Here's a handy rule of thumb: the telephone area code 415 generally means San Francisco (although it includes a few nearer parts of the North Bay like Marin); 650 is the Peninsula, 510 and 925 is for the East Bay, 707 for the North Bay or Wine Country and 408 and 669 are for the South Bay or the Santa Clara Valley.

Note that the boundary between Peninsula and South Bay is not formal; some locals, and some other sites/guides may place some of the northern Santa Clara County cities categorized here as "Peninsula" as South Bay - for example, the local Craigslist does so for Mountain View.