Set on a privileged site in the Bay Area, San Francisco is surrounded by places of extraordinary natural beauty. For example, the Muir Woods with its giant redwood trees is located just 9 miles away; and the impressive Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is just a couple of hours drive away. To boot, in the city itself you can find plenty of spots to enjoy nature. The following are some of the top places in San Francisco for outdoor lovers.
One of the biggest green spaces in San Francisco, the Presidio features miles of hiking and biking trails. In this national park visitors can enjoy some of the best views of the iconic Golden Gate bridge while admiring the native plants and wildlife. In the Presidio there are also many historical buildings that have been adapted as homes, workplaces and cultural venues.
The largest and most famous beach in San Francisco, Ocean Beach is a popular spot for experienced surfers. Riptides are strong and there are no lifeguards on duty, so you swim at your own risk. Still, the beach is also a great place for jogging, playing volleyball or frisbee, build sand castles or have a bonfire party.
If you look past Alcatraz, you will see the more pleasant Angel Island. One of the largest islands in the bay, this state park has several hiking and biking trails. From the summit of Mount Livermore (788 feet high), you have gorgeous views of the bay and beyond. If you wish, you can camp overnight or simply come for a day to enjoy a picnic. Angel Island is also a good spot for bird watching and fishing. To get there, take a ferry from San Francisco or rent a kayak in Sausalito and paddle the 3 mile journey yourself.
Golden Gate Park
Shaped as a long and narrow rectangle, the Golden Gate Park is a popular hang out for locals ad travelers alike. People flock to this park to bike, jog or simply to enjoy a stroll around its gardens, lakes and museums. Among the park’s many attractions are a Japanese garden, a golf course and the Bison Paddock — home to a small herd of buffalo in an enclosed field.
In this shoreline park, visitors can visit the ruins of a Victorian bathhouse. There are also a variety of trails and impressive views of the west side of the Golden Gate bridge. Another main attraction of Land’s End is the manmade labyrinth built by a local artist. This is also a great spot for bird watching and, if you are lucky, you might spot sea lions, dolphins and even migrating whales.
San Francisco is one of the most diverse destinations in North America and is worth the trip. If you are planning to visit and are looking for a place to stay, check out Hipmunk’s San Francisco hotels guide.
This post is part of the #HipmunkCityLove series.