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Top 5 Outdoor Activities in San Francisco

Finding someplace to get outdoors in San Francisco is not very difficult or very expensive. Some of the outdoor parklands make the short lists of must-see sites in the area. The mostly mild and very predictable weather cooperates with those who go sightseeing outdoors. Certainly, some of the most spectacular scenes in San Francisco are best enjoyed outdoors.

Angel Island State Park

Only a short ferry ride carries passengers over from places like Pier 41 in San Francisco and Tiburon. Of course, kayaking can also get visitors to the island. Once there, guests enjoy biking, walking and picnicking as well as taking pictures of the Bay, the Marin Headlands and San Francisco. This largest island in the Bay is historic and natural, a fabulous spot to relax.

Golden Gate Park

A spacious park, Golden Gate Park covers well over 1,000 acres of land. The main street through the park is dedicated to pedestrians, and the parklands provide a quiet oasis in the middle of the city. Some of the park features are the windmills, the bison paddock and Kezar Stadium. Gardens are featured in the park like the Strybing Arboretum, the Conservatory of Flowers and the lovely Japanese Tea Garden.

Marin Headlands

For a stunning view of the San Francisco skyline, no place is better than Marin Headlands. An easy drive just to the north from the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County, the headlands area is a hilly peninsula jutting into San Francisco Bay. Those driving can park for excellent photograph opportunities. Walkers and hikers can follow the trails over the rugged coast. Other interesting features of Marin Headlands are the beach and the World War II bunkers.

San Francisco Bay

The Bay is a place for many outdoor activities. Walkways and hiking trails skirt its banks. Boats take guests on cruises of the circumference. Kayakers can take their own tours. The Bay is superb for bird watching, and nature lovers can visit the Bay's wetlands to see birds and other wildlife. Walking or biking across the Golden Gate Bridge, people enjoy view and the watercraft passing below them.

Twin Peaks

For watching the sunset over the city and Bay to the west or the sunrise to the east, the viewpoint is only a short 20-minute drive from downtown. Trails bring sightseers and walkers up to the top at over 900 feet in elevation. Trails along these hills and mountains around San Francisco are frequented by locals out for runs, walks and walking their dogs.

When Spending Time Outdoors, Keep the Weather in Mind

Temperatures rarely soar over 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, and they seldom dip much below 40 at night in the wintertime. The sun shines on average for 300 days every year, and November and December see the most rain.

Still, fog rolls almost daily, sometime after 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon and a little later in the summer. The fog stays at least over some parts of the city during the night and into the morning. The rising sun burns the fog off as it rises.

Autumn is often considered the very best time to visit San Francisco because the weather is almost perfect with balmy warm days, but any time of year is fairly mild in this coastal city. One thing for people to remember when spending time outdoors in the Bay Area: dressing in layers that are easily removed and carried until needed is wise. Even in the summer, the temperatures may be in the 50-60 degree range.

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