Wonderbug Adventures Favorite Family-Friendly Nature Outings in SF
While the rest of the country is currently experiencing crazy winter weather, let’s make the most of our warm winter days and get out an explore with our kiddos!
Here is our short list of our must see nature treasures and some off-the-beaten-path favs to share with your family and friends.
Bernal Heights Park:
This hilltop haven offers the perfect escape from the craziness of city life. Start at the end of Folsom Street and walk along the paved road (no cars allowed), winding all the way to the top of Bernal Hill. If you want to wander off the road, there are several shortcuts via a network of dirt trails. You will be blown away by the breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown, San Bruno Mountain, and the hills of the East Bay. These windswept slopes are still sunny when Twin Peaks is shrouded in afternoon fog. Take in the many natural wonders; red-tailed hawks soaring overhead and the breeze sending waves through the native grassland community. As one of the few remaining natural refuges in San Francisco, Bernal Hill is a spectacular treasure for all to enjoy, rock maze and all! http://sfrecpark.org/destination/bernal-heights-park/
Lands End is San Francisco’s wildest and rockiest coast. These wave- and wind-carved headlands west of the Golden Gate connect two popular landmarks: the Cliff House and the Palace of the Legion of Honor. Trails at Lands End offer a cliff-top walk through shadowy cypress, with scenic overlooks, 30-mile views of the coast, and foot access to several shoreline pocket beaches. Be sure to take the stairs down to these spectacular beaches, you will be glad you did! Trails were made wheelchair-accessible from the Merrie Way parking lot, visible from the intersection of Point Lobos and 48th avenues above the Cliff House. http://www.parksconservancy.org/visit/park-sites/lands-end.html
Lake Merced is a jewel in the southwest corner of San Francisco, and serves as an important water, recreational, and natural resource for the surrounding communities. In centuries past the Ohlone Tribe lived on its shores. Lake Merced is a great spot for wildlife viewing with children. It is a good spot to view an osprey, Great Blue Heron or Mallards waddling about. Nice wide stroller friendly paths and parking lot make this an accessible and beautiful lake to visit with kids of all ages. Located at: 1 Harding Road, San Francisco, CA 94132 (415) 831-2700. http://www.lmtf.org
Pine Lake Park:
Visit a peaceful lake hidden in the middle of a San Francisco neighborhood behind Stern Grove. Experience some of natures’ treasures here but you must love dogs, this is a hugely popular dog spot. Path wanders through a eucalyptus grove, past the (mostly fenced) lake, which is perfect for strolling with your children, frolicking with your dog, or admiring the lake wildlife. Located at Vale Ave & Crestlake Drive in San Francisco. http://sfrecpark.org/destination/pine-lake-park/
Fort Funston is a rugged stretch of coastal headlands, sand, and dunes south of Ocean Beach. At the foot of Fort Funston’s cliffs is a wild and windy beach suitable for walking or horseback riding. Trails down to the beach scale the steep dunes with Dutch sand ladders (which help prevent erosion). On the beach, you’ll see shells, sand dollars, seaweed, and other signs of marine life. These great sandy bluffs, combined with the steady ocean breeze, make Fort Funston one of the premier hang-gliding spots in the nation. The loop trails at Fort Funston are paved and wheelchair-accessible and stroller friendly; the trails down to the beach are not. Keep in mind, this is a wildly popular dog spot so be prepared for many doggie encounters! http://www.parksconservancy.org/visit/park-sites/fort-funston.html