- By Kevin
- On Jul 20, 2017
- North America
- Travel Tips
A short drive out of San Francisco will take you to some of the most magnificent parks, with the largest trees in the world, deep canyons and mysterious caves. Fun activities in and around San Francisco, San Francisco day trips to enjoy the city. You can swim or surf on spectacular beaches, visit the state capitol building or take a nostalgic train down memory lane. Take a ferry to Alcatraz Island, check out what lives under the ocean surface at one of the world's best aquariums in Monterey and stroll through incredibly charming and picturesque small towns like Carmel, Mendocino or Sausalito.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area - 35 min
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a protected 80,002 acres of historically and ecologically important landscapes in the San Francisco Bay Area. As one of the biggest urban parks in the world,it consists of a collection of smaller areas from southern San Mateo County to northern Marin County, with several areas in San Francisco.
The park contains famous tourist attractions such as Alcatraz, Muir Woods National Monument, the Presidio of San Francisco and the Nike Missile Site. The park has 1,273 species of plants and animals, covers 59 miles of ocean and bay shoreline and includes a number of historic forts that witnessed centuries of California history, starting with the Spanish conquistadors.
Sausalito - 35 min
Charming and relaxed, full of history and offering breathtaking views of the bay, Sausalito is located at the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, at the edge of the Bay. The best way to get a feel for the city is by taking a ferry - with views of Sausalito's hills dotted with lovely homes and thriving marina on one side and the spectacular view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge on the other, ferries offer more fun than any tour boat you might take.
A rich shipbuilding center in World War II, the city is still closely connected to the sea as you can see by the number of boats in the marina, but its closeness to San Francisco made it a preferred home to many San Franciscans, especially the wealthy and artistic. Take a stroll along the water's edge to see some of the historic houses, walk to the north end of town to see more than 400 houseboats that congregate there, check out the famous Sausalito shops and stop by one of the many seafood restaurants where the fish just came off the boat. Take a stroll to the Marin Headlands, a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, where you will see some of the world's oldest coastal redwoods.
Muir Woods National Monument - 45 min
Only about 12 miles north of San Francisco, visitors can enter the ancient world of giant redwoods, with roots in the cool Redwood Creek and crowns pointing high up towards the sky. Dense and mysterious, redwood forests have been protected within Muir Woods National Monument since 1908. The park contains six miles of excellent hiking trails but no bikes or horseback riding are allowed.
Besides shorter loops, a few trails extend into nearby Mount Tamalpais State Park. Wherever you go, you will be left humbled by the majesty of thousands of densely growing coast redwoods. The trails are board-walked or asphalted, and those on the walls of the canyon are dirt. They are narrow, steep, and filled with thick tree roots. If you give yourself some time, you will realize that the silent, mysterious forest hides many elusive animals which call it home - from bobcats and deer to coyote and barn owls.