GETTING OUTDOORS IN AND NEAR SAN FRANCISCO

GETTING OUTDOORS IN AND NEAR SAN FRANCISCO

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The good news is that you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and are ready to pack your bags and travel.

The bad news is that the “original” novel coronavirus and its variants are still moving through the world and that none of the available vaccines provide 100% immunity from them.

You want to head to San Francisco and your anti-COVID strategy is to spend as much time as possible outdoors during your stay.

The good news is that if you are going to visit between now (mid-to-late April) and October the odds that you will get rained on are low. But summer in and around the City of San Francisco can be windy, foggy and cold, at least at times. So sweaters, jackets and long pants and long-sleeved shirts should be in your suitcase, not just shorts and tee-shirts.

Here are some suggestions for outdoor activities during your stay. Some visitor facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area mentioned it this story may be closed due to the pandemic so be sure to check online to see what will actually be open during your stay.

Along San Francisco’s Northern Waterfront

While visitors can walk from the Ferry Building to Fisherman’s Wharf, I recommend that you begin your waterfront stroll the Maritime Museum and the Hyde Street Pier.

(U.S. National Park Service Photo)

From there continue westward through Fort Mason, have lunch there at Greens or pick up something from the Safeway store deli just across from Ft. Mason and try to find a bench or picnic table along the waterfront near the marina area where boats are docked.

Then continue west and walk along Crissy Field to Fort Point just below the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge.

(Dick Jordan Photo)

After Fort Point you could hike up to the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center and even it is not open get a good view of the bridge and San Francisco Bay or even walk all the way across the bridge and back. After that stop, head back downhill and over to the Pet Cemetery and then walk through the grounds of the Presidio of San Francisco.

Muir Woods and Other Marin County Hikes

 If you are saying in San Francisco you might be able to get to and from the walks outlined above by taking public transit or using a ride sharing service like Uber or Lyft. But it will be easier to do the outings listed below if you have your own car or one from a rental company.

Muir Woods National Monument is probably atop the “Must See” list of places to go for many visitors to San Francisco. But Muir woods can be busy any day, anytime of year, particularly in summer, and you will probably need a parking or transit reservation to be able to get into it.

(Photo by Kevin Wolf on Unsplash)

Hikers have another option for getting into Muir Woods: Drive up to the Mountain Home Inn, park across the road, hike down into Muir Woods and back up again to Mountain Home Inn through Camp Alice Eastwood.

(Courtesy Theresa Fisher)

There are many hiking trails in the area, especially in Mount Tamalpais State Park which sits just above Muir Woods. Here are some trail hikes you could do in and around Muir Woods.

The Marin Headlands Unit of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area covers a vast area that extends from near the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge and extends north pass to Muir Woods, Mt. Tamalpais State Park and to the southern and eastern edges of Point Reyes National Seashore.

One of my favorite Marin Headlands hikes (although not on a hot day because there is almost no shade) takes you from the parking lot near Rodeo Beach up to the Battery Townsley gun emplacement, around Hill 88 on the Coastal Trail, down the Miwok Trail through the Gerbode Valley (which remains a large open space rather than a city full of homes and a shopping center) and back to you starting point.

(Dick Jordan Photo)

You will pass the road up to The Marine Mammal Center as you head back to Rodeo Beach; it is world-renown and well worth a visit if it is open.

(Dick Jordan Photo)

I would not do any of these hikes in flip-flops, tennis shoes or street shoes. Some of the trails are steep and rocky so wearing hiking boots is best. Carry water, lunch or snacks especially since the limited facilities that might provide them could be closed.

A Huge Model of San Francisco Bay and An Historic Shipyard

As an indoor-door alternative to doing these hikes, you could visit the Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito, a mile north of the busy, touristy downtown.

(Photo Courtesy of Bay Model Visitor Center)

It is a three-dimensional hydraulic model of San Francisco Bay, a slice of the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the river system to the east which feeds into the Bay, tucked into a warehouse building about two acres in size.

(Photo Courtesy of Bay Model Visitor Center)

It was built in the 1950s-1960s as a laboratory for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. That use ended in 2000 so it is now basically a natural history museum that demonstrates how tidal action affects the San Francisco Bay Estuary.

(Photo Courtesy of Bay Model Visitor Center)

From the Model you can walk around the part of the Sausalito waterfront which was the site of the Marinship shipyard operation during World War II. A number of buildings and other artifacts from Marinship still remain, and the Bay Model Visitor Center has a section devoted to its history.

(Tales Told From The Road publisher lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over forty-five years before moving to Eugene, Oregon. He often hiked trails in Marin County and for thirteen years was a volunteer tour guide at the Bay Model Visitor Center.)


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