Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Marin County
Categories: National Parks, Nature & Parks
With trails for hiking, bike riding, and horseback riding and beaches for swimming and other water sports, Golden Gate National Recreation Area serves up plenty of outdoor activities. The park covers 32,376 hectares (80,002 acres), featuring diverse landscapes and more than 1,200 plant and animal species. Wander through stands of giant redwoods, check out old military fortifications, and visit historical sites. Work out when and for how long to visit Golden Gate National Recreation Area and other Sausalito attractions using our handy Sausalito family vacation planner.
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The GGNRA encompasses so much that it cannot be seen in one day. Some of the things to do are Muir Woods/Beach, Nike Missile sites, The Cliff House/Sutro Baths, Crissy Field, Fort Point, Point Bonita,... read more »
In the end this was the highlight of our trip. We took the scenic, one-way route on the coast all the way to the end. Took long walks at the edge of the cliffs, we even saw a herd of deers! The landsc... read more »
once upon a time the people of San Francisco had little knowledge of what was the seaward of Highway 101 on the Marin Headlands. From the 1800’s it was a military reservation, it has now been turned i... read more »
The initial ascent may be enough for those just looking for unmatched photo opps of the Golden Gate. Fighting the crowds here would be more worthwhile than the loop of a parking lot at ground level - vantage point isn't as impressive. If you feel adventurous, continue upwards and explore the outlets branching off of the roundabout. Even more views along the way and some historical stops as you continue on.
Donni O'Ryan Uzarski
A very special place. Vibrantly full of life. Fog dances in the wind, wildlife abounds, glorious when sun comes out! Hiking trails are a must to experience the peace that is just off the road.
Don't walk this bridge. Don't drive across this bridge. The only way you should ever see this bridge is on a bike. I may be a little biased here because I like riding bikes but there is to me no better way to see this bridge. In fact, there's no better way to see the amazing city of San Francisco. You can also bike to the north side of the bridge and up to the city of Sausalito. This was the coolest part of my entire travels in the Bay Area! Go far enough away from the tourist spots where it's not too busy and you will feel like your in a countryside village in Italy! Bike the bridge! Do it!
I absolutely love running and hiking in the Marin Headlands which includes the Golden Gate National Recreation area. Although in the summer (yes, summer) it can be foggy and cold here, on a clear day it is tough to beat the views of San Francisco, the Pacific Ocean and the North Bay. There are several options for parking but I prefer to park over at Pirates Cove and begin my wanderings there. Beware on a nice day parking can be limited and the trails busy so show up early and catch the nature preserve at its most pristine. There are limited facilities near parking and none on the trail so be sure to bring your own water and food.
Hands down one of the most amazing parks in America. The options of what to see her are countless. Nah just kidding. It's like 7 main things. Golden Gate Bridge, Point Reyes, Muir Woods, Cliff House, Angel Island, and the Ocean. Oh yeah... and Alcatraz, believe it or not, it's part of the park too. In reality there is a huge variety of things to look at because its a massive park. Lets start with the basic minimum that must be done when you head into this large park. Hawk Hill. One of the best overlooks you can ask for to look back onto Golden Gate and SF itself. The drive itself is nice and offers a lot of viewpoints. It tends to be crowded and difficult to find parking throughout the day, so keep that in mind. Muir Woods. Another place where parking can become a nightmare and quickly. But still worth it. Pay the small cover fee to get in and take a hike. You can go for an easy stroll through the main pathways and simply enjoy the gigantic Redwoods and some fresh air, or take one of the more serious paths that heads away from the crowds. There can be some pretty decent elevation gains on these paths, but a regular hiker shouldn't be overly worried with them. Point Bonita. It offers a few a things in itself actually. The most popular being the lighthouse. It was built back in 1855 and was the first Fog Signal lighthouse on the west coast. I would always recommend it. It is not your typical lighthouse in the area as it is sort of off of the main body of land, and actually accessible by a bridge. You walk through a tunnel to get to it, and the surrounding areas are beautiful views of the bay and very commonly you can see an abundance of wildlife. While up this way make to seek out the Point Reyes shiprwreck if you have time. In a way it is iconic as to its simplicity and photogenic traits. Angel Island is also always worth a trip in of itself. I recommend coming in from Tiburon though, not Sausalito and especially not SF. Plan to spend most of the day on the island to enjoy it. Angel Island has a huge significance in not only California history, but American history. Think of Angel Island as the West Coasts version of Ellis Island. Only a little darker and sadder. While it started out simply as a military base and battery defense system, the immigration station took place and somewhere around 1 million Asian immigrants were "processed". However, now it is a wonderful place to embrace some history and get the hands down best views of the Bay Bridge, Oakland and especially SF. From here you have the Cliff House. Another lace with great historical significance. While a cool place to visit on the SF side, it is highly advised to read up on what it was prior to arrival. Without knowing what you are supposed to be looking at, it can get lost on you. Regardless, there are some great views and especially great sunsets to be taken in from this area. You can stroll over for a walk through Lands Ends which offers many magnificent views of the Golden gate bridge from the other side. The restaurant is worth stopping at as well, especially for a quick brunch. I won't go into Alcatraz because I feel that, like most things here deserves its own attention. Just know you should go see it. Now I have mentioned quite a few things here, but of course I haven't mentioned it all. There is still the Presidio as well as Fort Mason, Fort Baker, Fort Funston and Fort Point. Can't forget about the significance of all the beaches and the variety of coast line each one offers.
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