Our San Francisco Love Affair Won’t Fade

We’ve been in love with San Francisco since one of our Vacation Success families made their home there after we all graduated.  Before kids, we’d spend every Labor Day on the water, wine tasting in the Napa, and taking in the energy of the city.

Once the kids came along, the love affair with San Francisco didn’t fade.  In fact, experiencing the city with the kids made us fall in love all over again.  There is enough to this love affair, that it’ll take us several blog posts.  So, we’ll start with our all time favorites.

Family Golden Gate San Fran Ocean Kids
Sarah Golden Gate Presidio Kids

Beaches

For some of us, the beach is a novelty.  A reason to take a vacation.  The fact that San Francisco give us a city and beach(ish) vacation on the same trip is like hitting the daily double with Alex Trebek.

Baker Beach

In our family’s opinion, this beach is the best place to take in —a storybook, blue sky or fog in the air, it doesn’t matter because I’m looking at a beautiful piece of American architecture while standing in the sand – view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  And, if you’re lucky, a couple of curious sea lions too.  The kids loved this beach so much, we visited twice during one of our four-day weekend trips.

Warning! Baker Beach is a nude beach. We didn’t see to many “sunbathers” but, it was October.

Getting there is an adventure too.  As you’ve learned from reading our posts, we live like locals when ever possible.  So, we rode the city bus – the 29 Bus to Lincoln Blvd, getting off at Bowley St. and walking to Gibson Rd.  Then, followed the signs to Berkley Beach.  The walk is easy, all down hill.  But, beware…because the walk back means…its all up hill.

Ocean Beach

On a girl’s weekend to the city filled with shopping, relaxing, sushi and seeing Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball show, my Sister and I headed to this beach and enjoyed an early morning coffee and sunrise.  It sits at the far West end of San Francisco, which I think gives you an interesting visual perspective on the city.  Not to mention an amazing sunrise.

Embarcadero

Keeping with the early morning theme, coffee and a croissant at Blue Bottle Coffee is a perfect way to start your day in San Francisco. That whole area beckons you to sit and people watch for a while.  So, grab a croissant and a café crème and take in the diversity of the city.

One of our favorite restaurants is also near Embarcadero, The Slanted Door.  We’ll share more on the best eats in San Fran in an upcoming post.

Golden Gate Park

In one word.  Beautiful.  The trees and vegetation in Golden Gate Park are so different from those at home, I felt a million miles away from my normal reality as soon as I enter the park. Almost as big as Central Park, but with a totally different feel and vibe, Golden Gate Park could be enjoyed differently every time you visit..  The park houses several great museums.  And, acres and acres of walking and biking trails.  We were in town the weekend of the San Francisco marathon one year.  Knowing that you run through the park is almost enough to motivate me to sign up to run the race….almost.

You’ll find the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.  It was far and away our children’s favorite and in their experienced elementary-aged opinion, the only one that rivals the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.  You can see the science center over a long afternoon, as we did.  Don’t miss the rainforest dome.  It walks you through different tropical ecosystems so you can see how the plant and insects change with the climate.

What’s your favorite thing to do in San Francisco?  Did you notice we didn’t list China Town, the Sea Lions at Pier 51 or the Alcatraz?  We did all those things too.  They just didn’t make our list.

 

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