Outdoor Hot Spots In San Francisco

In a previous blog I shared some of my favorite San Francisco picnic spots. The city’s natural beauty and temperate climate makes it an ideal place to host a family outing. There’s rarely a time when the weather is so bad that you can’t spend at least part of your day outdoors enjoying San Francisco’s legendary hills or its exceptional parks and jogging and biking trails. This time of the year, when most of the country is shopping for tweeds and wool, visitors and residents of this beautiful waterside city are gearing up to hit the city’s incredible parks with their Frisbees and dogs.

Here are a couple of my family’s favorite outdoor retreats in the Bay Area:

Fort Funston

Take a trip to Fort Funston and you may leave with a sore neck from constantly looking up at all of the hang-gliders and model airplanes sailing alongside the cliffs there. The former Army gun battery is now a national park that attracts thousands of visitors and residents each year. Parents with strollers take note-—while the park boasts dozens of wonderful trails–stick with the paved Sunset Trail, which follows the cliffside to the north. It’s the park’s most stroller-friendly trail. If you can ditch the stroller I would suggest taking the stairway on the south end down to the sandy trails, which eventually lead to the water. On the walk down you may pass (or be passed) by some four-legged friends. Horses from the nearby stable are often led along the sandy paths for exercise.


If you are looking for an ideal place to snap a frame-worthy picture of your family in San Francisco I would highly recommend visiting the Presidio. The scenic former army post boasts more than 1500 acres and provides spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio (fortress) was commissioned in 1776 first as a Spanish garrison and then as a Mexican presidio, before the U.S. took it over. It is now part of the national park system, and is a combination wilderness retreat and urban village.

I always recommend the Presidio to visitors who are going to be in the city for a very limited time. Since it boasts so many activities it is the prime destination for tourists who are looking to squeeze in a ton fun of in a short amount of time. There are 24-miles of hiking and biking trails, an Arnold Palmer Golf-managed golf course and a breathtaking sandy beach. The Presidio is also attracting trendy diners to the slew of new restaurants that have recently opened there. The location is so popular that “Star Wars” director George Lucas has his film company based there. The Presidio also boasts a bowling alley, a national military cemetery, a massive sporting goods store, a museum and a visitor’s center.

Related Articles:

Destination: San Francisco–Perfect Picnic Spots

Travel Deals: Catering To Californians

San Francisco For Art Lovers

Fun Factory Tours

San Francisco Zoo

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.