The day after Thanksgiving, known in the retail world as "Black Friday," has long been a day to find amazing deals for holiday gifts. But if you're one of those people who thinks pushy crowds, long lines and picked over products are overrated, you'll love these outdoor alternatives. And, hey, you'll be burning off those turkey and dressing calories at the same time.
BACKPACKING IN YOSEMITE: It's a beautiful time to visit Yosemite National Park. It can be cold, no doubt, but the region is brimming with beauty this time of year. Pack your weekend camping gear and lace your hiking boots for a couple days of backpacking and outdoor relaxation at Rancheria Falls with the Outdoor Adventure Club. A certified trail expert will lead a tour each day.
SELF-GUIDED TOURS: Silicon Valley is home to some of the most interesting cities with diverse histories that merge with modern advancements. From the South Bay to the City, there is a story in just about every corner of the Bay Area. The Greenbelt Alliance offers guides for self-guided tours of Berkeley, Mountain View, San Francisco, San Rafael and Vallejo, complete with maps and suggested ways to get there.
WALK WITH WILDLIFE: Ano Nuevo State Park is famous for its elephant seal breeding grounds. A new round of pups is on the horizon but area is fascinating at any time of year. Get a permit for the "Fall Haul Out" season at the Wildlife Protection Area between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Be sure to take your camera, as pregnant elephant seals start making their way over to the beach starting in December.
LOOK AT ALL THE PRETTY LIGHTS: Help kick off Napa Valley's Festival of Lights Friday as they get the holiday season under way with a block party. Stroll through Yountville on foot or take in the Festival of Lights from Santa's sleigh. Take the family and you'll all burn off some Thanksgiving Day leftovers. No need to leave so soon -- why not make it a weekend in the charming Wine Country.
HIT THE SLOPES: Get up early and take a drive up to Lake Tahoe for some early-season skiing and boarding action. The slopes are ready for action and you should be too. Seven resorts offer great weekend deals and some of the country's best downhill fun in the country.