Relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area: Understanding the Local Regions

Often I get emails from people relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area and sometimes folks are confused about what’s in or near Silicon Valley. That makes sense because some of the “regions” we discuss don’t have completely hard and fast boundaries.

The SF Bay Area includes nine counties that touch the bay or are nearby, but additionally some areas that aren’t so neatly defined, such as “Silicon Valley” or “The Delta”. So to help out people who are relocating, I sketched out on Google Maps the larger regions of the San Francisco Bay Area, which include (with map colors below):

    • San Francisco – light blue
    • the Peninsula – dark blue
    • the South Bay (Santa Clara County) – in orange
    • the East Bay – pink
    • the North Bay – yellow
    • the Delta – green
    • the Monterey Bay – light blue

Click on the different colored areas for more information on each one. (Defined areas are only approximate.)


View San Francisco Bay Area Region in a larger map


The Delta is a set of waterways that empties into the SF Bay at a northeast point and crawls through part of the San Joaquin Valley and Stockton areas – it’s part East Bay but part central valley. The Monterey Bay is not really part of the San Francisco Bay Area but is so close that it’s worth including too.

What about Silicon Valley? It’s primarily in the “south bay” and nearby areas. Silicon Valley is mostly Santa Clara County with a little of Santa Cruz County, Alameda County and a fair amount of San Mateo County.


View Silicon Valley in a larger map


Disclaimer: maps are approximate only!