Lives in San Francisco, California
Since Mar 2010
25-34 year old female
Born and raised in Rhode Island, recently moved out to San Francisco, CA. I love to travel all over the world and check out new places. Anywhere and everywhere!
State Parks, Nature & Wildlife Areas
State Parks, Mountains
Forests, Nature & Wildlife Areas, National Parks
Islands, Military Bases & Facilities
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Neighbourhoods
Mountains, Neighbourhoods, Lookouts, Historic Walking Areas
By far, my favorite spot in the Bay Area. If you have a car, go here. If you don't, get a rental for the day, it's worth it. The Marin Headlands in general is a large area of ground to cover. While it's all beautiful; above all, I recommend HAWK HILL. Most people stop at the first pull off on the way up, which can certainly be memorable, but you can get an even better view from Hawk Hill! There's a full panoramic view of the city, completely unobstructed. From the Oakland Bay Bridge all the way over to Ocean Beach on the other side of the city. You can literally see the entire city! A view of San Francisco unlike any other that'll keep you memorized. At the top, there's a nice short hiking trail. It'll take you through some old military tunnels which lead you to the other side of the headlands where you can fall in love with the valleys. The air is crisp, clean, an there's an abundance of wildlife. It's the closest, most peaceful spot within reach.
In all honesty, this actually might tie for #1 on my list. But because it's technically in Marin, it placed #2. The views from this beach is why I love the California coastline and moved myself 3,500 miles across the country. It's seamless the way the waves melt into the cliffs in an instance. Stay for the sunset and watch the entire landscape transform into something remarkable. A short hike to the top of the cliff will ensure you'll have a 360º panoramic view of it all. Stay on the trails and enjoy the vegetation along them. There may be many cars parked at the entrance, but it's not crowed, and you'll find there's plenty of space and privacy to enjoy at your own pace.
This is a little bit of a drive from the city, about 45-60min depending on traffic. But if you'd like to drive to the top of the mountain, or even hike/bike to the top, than I highly recommend. It's a $10 entrance fee by car (free on foot/bike) and the road will bring you directly to the summit. It's a fantastic place to see the sunset above the clouds, without the crowds. There's also plenty of hiking trails throughout the mountain and on a clear day you could see San Francisco, or even Yosemite! There's plenty of picnic pull offs, campgrounds, and tons of wildlife! From the summit you'll be able to see many of the waterways that branch off of the San Francisco Bay.
This is a great side trip that's easily accessible from San Francisco. You can take the ferry over from either the pier in SF or from Tiburon across the bay. Tiburon also has many quaint shops and bistros to dine at along the water. On Angel Island, I highly recommend the tram tour. This is a very informative tour that'll educate you on the history of the island, while stopping at a view point to take photos of the city. If the tram isn't your thing, you're welcome to bike, hike, or simply walk around the island. Keep in mind, it's still a lot of ground to cover, but if you have the time and desire, it's a great alternative.
Point Reyes is worth the drive out to it. Even during the most foggy, cloudy times, you will not be disappointed. There's so many different trails and hikes to explore! The views all around are breathtaking to say the least. You'll find it to be a peaceful drive out to the lighthouse where you'll see plenty of farm animals and other wildlife further in.
Muir woods is a great location right over the Golden Gate where you can see redwood trees. You'll be able to choose from a handful of trails to hike on and even go inside one of the trees. If you don't want to do moderate hiking, you'll still see plenty from the wooden boardwalks.
China Beach is a nice small beach with excellent views of the Golden Gate. It's a hidden beach in a nice neighborhood, so you won't find many (if any) tourists here. While the beach itself is fairly small, there's plenty of rocks you can climb on and coves to tuck yourself away in to enjoy the piece and quiet away from the city.
If you find yourself tired of strolling up and down Market St, find this park tucked away to grab some lunch and sit by the ponds. There's plenty of space to find a seat or lay a blanket down and enjoy the sun in the middle of the city.
Another great location to view the city from afar. There's a few wineries on the island you can enjoy if Napa isn't on your list during your stay. Be sure to grab a hotdog at the stand on the boulevard before leaving the island.
Union STREET (Not Union SQUARE), has many restaurants that are worth casually visiting. You'll get more for your money and find it much less crowded than downtown. If you're looking for a sweet treat, don't miss Pacific Puffs. Literally the best cream puffs I've ever had in my life. The place is so small and looks almost deserted, but I promise you will not be disappointed with a puff!
Twin peaks is said to have the most amazing sunrises (on a clear day). You'll witness the sun coming up directly behind the city. There's not an abundance of parking, but there's plenty of spots along the side of the road to pull over and park for a little bit.