Backyard Playgrounds

San Francisco
  |  Gorp.com
Park It Here: Almost one-tenth of San Fran is given over to parks and playgrounds, while the amorphous 74,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area has a footprint twice the size of the city itself. (Corbis)

WITHIN THE LIMITS: Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Why We Love It:

Chances are, if you've ever been to San Francisco, you've been to the Golden Gate Recreation Area, which covers major parts of the city including the Presidio and Alcatraz Island. Rediscover some of the city's outlying greenscapes with a trip Marin's Muir Woods or Point Reyes Seashore.

Don't Miss:
For those who can't get enough of the city's natural beauties, urban camping at Kirby Cove is available year-round. More rural campsites are also available at Bicentennial, Hawk, Haypress, and Rob Hill.

Getting There:
All of Golden Gate NRA's attractions are within metro San Francisco. Across the Golden Gate Bridge follow Highway 101 to the recreation area. The city's Municipal Railway (Muni) bus system serves Rodeo Beach on Sundays, and state park facilities in San Mateo County are accessible via Skyline Boulevard.

The Fine Print:
Entry fees for Alcatraz vary with tour package, while camping at the different sites ranges from $25 to $35. Entry to most other areas of the park is free. For more information visit www.nps.gov/goga or call 415.561.4700

Additional Information:
Check out GORP.com's Guide to Golden Gate NRA

NEARBY: Mount Tamalpais State Park
Why We Love It:

Families flock to Mount Tamalpais State Park for its 6,300 acres of forests, 50 acres of hiking and bike trails, and a healthy scattering of family picnic sites.

Don't Miss:
The park's stone amphitheater features seasonal plays and can seat 3,750 people. The Mountain Theater will put on Fiddler on the Roof for the 2006 season.

Getting There:
The park lies 14 miles north of downtown San Francisco. Take California 1 north to Mill Valley, follow signs for Mount Tamalpais.

The Fine Print:
Parking fees vary from $4 to $14 depending on length of stay, and camping reservations are required. For more information visit www.parks.ca.gov or call 800.777.0369.

Additional Information:
Check out GORP.com's Guide to Hiking Mount Tamalpais State Park


Published: 4 Oct 2005 | Last Updated: 24 Oct 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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