Explore San Francisco

Things to Do in San Francisco: Outdoor Adventures

The Bay Area is home to a large number of outdoor enthusiasts—ultra-marathoners, triathletes, avid cyclists, backpackers and windsurfers take advantage of all the glorious natural splendor that's so conveniently accessible to the city of San Francisco. The mild temperatures allow for year-round outdoor recreation, and the region boasts an exhaustive variety of spectacular landscapes, diverse terrain and majestic wildlife (from mountain lions to orcas). 

To really appreciate the San Francisco Bay Area, take a cue from local athletes and nature-lovers and plan your own outdoor adventure. Run through Crissy Field or Golden Gate Park, bike over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, climb up Mt. Tam or spend a day hiking through the rugged Marin Headlands

 

Lands End

Known for its shipwrecks and landslides, this is San Francisco’s wildest and rockiest coast, located on the edge of the continent. The headlands connect popular landmarks the Cliff House and the Palace of the Legion of Honor.

Crissy Field

A nationally protected former U.S. Army airfield, this strikingly scenic waterfront recreation area is now a favorite among active locals and visitors. A wide (stroller and wheelchair-friendly) trail between Marina Green and Fort Point is perfect for an easy walk, jog or bike ride.

Marin Headlands

Windswept ridges, protected valleys and beaches offer opportunities for hiking, biking and picnics. Start at Marin Headlands Visitor Center and see an exhibit showcasing the history of the indigenous Miwok people.

The Presidio

A patchwork of eucalyptus groves, freshwater creeks, wildflower-splashed sand dunes and coastal prairie covers the Presidio, a historic former military post and modern-day national park in the northwest corner of the city.

City Kayak

Docked near AT&T Park, this company offers all the gear you need for a day on the bay, regardless of your ability level. You can even paddle to McCovey Cove behind the park and try to catch a home-run ball. Guided tours available.

Golden Gate Park

Bigger than New York's Central Park and encompassing over 75,000 trees, this horticulturally diverse urban oasis is home to countless attractions, including the de Young Museum; California Academy of Sciences; Japanese Tea Garden; Botanical Gardens; Stow Lake; Conservatory of Flowers; Garden of Shakespeare's Flowers; two hist

Mount Tamalpais State Park

Known foremost as Mt. Tam, Marin County’s highest mountain is ideal for hiking, cycling, horseback riding and even hang gliding. Views from the summit include the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountain range, the Farallon Islands and San Francisco high-rises.

Sausalito

One of the Bay Area’s most beautiful bayfront cities, Sausalito is easily reached by ferry or a quick jaunt north over the Golden Gate Bridge. Sausalito has a very accessible main strip, Bridgeway, with lots of shops, galleries, and restaurants, not to mention a killer view of San Francisco.

Angel Island

This small island just off the Tiburon Peninsula offers hiking and biking trails, campsites, picnic facilities and spectacular views of the city. Bike rentals, open-air tram tours and concessions are offered daily.

Ocean Beach

The widest and longest expanse of sand on San Francisco’s shores, this beach extending from the Cliff House to Fort Funston along the Pacific Ocean is a destination for seaside drives, jogs, sunset walks and bonfires. Often windy and foggy, the notorious currents attract serious surfers who brave the frigid waters.

Baker Beach

This mile-long beach lies at the base of the rugged cliffs west of the Golden Gate. No swimming here, but bring your camera for great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands and Lands End.

Muir Woods National Monument

The world’s most famous grove of virgin redwoods, this forest is full of trees that are 400-800 years old and grow to more than 250 feet high, as well as a plethora of other wildlife. Activities include a leisurely (wheelchair accessible) hike alongside a salmon-filled creek.