São Paulo’s surroundings are perfect for all types of getaways with the peaks of the Serra da Mantiqueira inland and the area's finest beaches up the North Coast. The state has the best highways in the country, making it easy to travel by car or bus to its many small, beautiful beaches, and beyond to neighboring states (Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, and Minas Gerais). Although the North Coast's sandy stretches require two-hour drives, good side trips from the city can be as close as the 30-minute trip to Santos's long strip of sand, Embu's weekend craft market, or Santana de Parnaíba's historical streets.
For a weekend of relaxation, soak up the healing properties of Águas de São Pedro’s spas and springs. If you like mountains, head to Campos do Jordão, where cafés and clothing stores are often crowded with oh-so-chic paulistanos (natives of São Paulo city; inhabitants of São Paulo State are called paulistas). Serra Negra and its surrounding region offer mineral waters and an immersion in the coffee production history of Brazil, as well as several activities for families and couples looking for a romantic getaway. Favor the coast’s North Shore beaches and Ilhabela (the name means "beautiful island") if you prefer sun and sand. The island is part of the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest) and has many waterfalls, trails, and diving spots.