San Francisco is not only a great city to walk around but also features many nice hiking trails close to town. There are good short walks at both Corona Heights and Buena Vista Parks that gain elevation quickly and afford good views of the city and bay. The Coastal Trail runs 1200 miles of the California coast and some of the more spectacular parts are right around San Francisco. We picked it up in the Richmond area of the city, a half hour bus ride from the city center.
Equipment: You’ll need good comfortable walking shoes and layered clothing as the weather changes quickly in S.F. If you’re heading for longer walks, bring rain gear too.
This odd looking building was one of San Francisco's authentic original movie houses. Instead of being torn down when the large movie theatre chains grabbed all the business, this one was renovated and recently reopened as Gorilla Sports, a fitness club.
Equipment: This club features sessions like Kwando and kick-boxing.
Take a half day or a full day trip out onto the ocean and go salmon fishing. The boats leave from either Fisherman's Wharf or the Berkeley Marina (across the bay). I suggest taking the early morning boat and leaving while the sun is just coming up. Listening to the fog horns blow while going under the Golden Gate Bridge you will venture out of the bay and go several miles out to find a school of salmon with their sonar. When the captain spots a frenzy of birds, he will steer the boat nearby searching the depths.
You gear will be provided by the boat captain, plus bait and instructions on how to rig up. The state allows you to catch two salmon per day, and when you bring your fish in the attendant tags it, so you can bring it home. Be sure and tip the attendant at the end of the trip for cleaning your fish.
If you live inland in the central part of the U.S., this will be a memorable experience even if you don't catch anything. I usually bring at least one home when I go out.
Note: salmon season is in the summer and fall, but the boats will go out for other types of fish during other times of the year.
Equipment: The boat will provide the pole, hooks, sinkers, bait and advice.
You should bring a sack lunch for an all day trip and a drink in a plastic bottle.
Don't go on this trip without a jacket or a sweatshirt. You might consider sunglasses and a hat. Even though it might be foggy, the sun's rays can be intense.
Pictured here are three salmon caught by myself and my son, August 2005.
When we stopped for lunch in Santa Cruz on our coastal drive along US Rte. 1, we saw a number of two-on-two beach volleyball matches underway. It was a very pleasant sunny 18 degrees C and it was fun to watch the activity from our patio seating at the Ideal Bar & Grill restaurant!
Run, Jog or walk the annual Bay to Breakers. This famous 12 kilometer foot race is the largest in the world. Occurs on the 3rd Sunday each year in May. Enjoy some of the sights and costumes. Look for the runners in their birthday suit. Get a cool T-Shirt and the bragging rights to say "I finished the Bay to Breakers!" Race Starts at 8 a.m. Starts at the Bay and finishes by the ocean.
Equipment: As per Bay to Breakers traditon, Running Attire, Costume or Cothing Optional.
Apparently the idea that you couldn't escape from Alcatraz because you couldn't swim was more fiction than fact since I just saw several hundred people do it in the annual Escape from Alcatraz triathlon and swim, the sharks in the bay are not man eaters, the worst they predicted was a seal might try to nip you. They do hold it in the warmest month of the year and try to time it to capture the tides at the right time, something the prisoners would have no way of gauging. But it certainly added a little doubt to my mind if those missing prisoners might have actually escaped instead of drowning.
My husband just did the swim, no way he was going to try biking and running on the San Francisco hills! They ended up canceling the bike portion and just doing a swim and run so it didn't seem like it was all that well organized, they even gave out tshirts that had the word triathlon misspelled AND the swimmers got a tshirt implying that they had finished a triathlon and not just the swim. And my husband said he heard some of the organizers arguing on the boat and a couple of them quitting in a huff. I would have expected more from such a high priced event, $200 for the triathlon and $150 for the swim only made it the 2nd highest price event he's ever done behind the London triathlon and that was only because of the poor exchange rate.
Equipment: If you are going to try this, you might invest in a wetsuit, most of the swimmers had them
Take the Ghirardelli Square Self Guided Historic Walking Tour. The folder says it all and will lead the way!
Want to know more about the Goldrush era? Interested in seeing one of the original Ghirardelli cocoa grinders? Curious about Domingo Ghirardelli or the bay's marine life? Ghirardelli Square's Self Guided Historic Walking Tour is perfect for people who are interested in history or who just want to know a little more about this beautiful part of the world. The tour is a self-guided trip through the Square which gives you a glimpse of history from a geographical point of view.
Ask for the free walking tour map at the Information Booth located in the center of Ghirardelli Square. You can start your tour at any of the banner poles located throughout the Square.
Equipment: See packing list!
While I was in San Fran, my friend that lives there says to me, "hey lets bike ride from here to the Golden Gate Bridge" and then I said " Sure, that seems like fun!". Don't get me wrong, it is fun! But from the bay bridge to the Golden Gate is really far, don't trust your eyes! I am only good to give advice to Midwestern people. We have zero hills, so we can't handle an everyday bike ride in San Fran. It was a really beautiful experience. While biking you will always feel like you are going up hill and against the wind there. That is just how it is. Sure it is depressing when old people are riding their bikes past you and even people jog faster than you are riding. But don't be discouraged, after 8 hrs. you will finally get there. Besides being the hardest thing i have ever done physically, being on a bike that long really makes your ass hurt. I admit that there were times that I wanted to give up and just die on the side of the street, but it really helps when you have a strong friend to pull you through and remind you about what an amazing opportunity it is to actually get to ride a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge!
Equipment: when renting a bike, make sure you get a butt pad. I am not kidding, you will thank me later!
You could run in the Bay Breakers. A fun run almost anyone can enter and run or walk and dress up or dress down and run or walk for about 7 miles in San Francisco.
Equipment: I saw many wear different clothing or none at all.
The ones I posted have clothes on.
Call it Dancing...i call it Extreme Sports and one have to be an able acrobat to persue the kind of this sport activity....without breaking any bones that is!!
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