What’s Best: Urban walking that draws people from around the globe: Dramatic seascapes, marine wildlife and historic sites all beneath the luminous beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge. Pick a stormy day for solitude, or check out the action on a sunny weekend.
Parking: From the Golden Gate Bridge, pass through the far-right toll booth and make an immediate right turn. Then turn right again at your first opportunity, circling below the bridge roadway to the parking lot on the east side.
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Bear right to Lincoln Ave. Turn left, curving along Lincoln for about a mile and then turn left on Halleck St. Go under the bridge approach to Mason St. And turn right. Follow to signed parking. From the Bay Bridge or Hwy. 101 south, follow signs for Hwy. 101 north, Golden Gate Bridge and take Van Ness St. Exit. Follow Van Ness several miles and turn left on Bay St. Turn right off Bay at Laguna St, which takes you to Marina Blvd. Follow Marina Blvd. Past Marina Green and veer right on Mason St. Look for Crissy Field parking. Agency: Golden Gate National Recreation Area; San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.
Hike: Golden Gate Promenade to Fort Point (3 ml. ); Yacht clubs and Fort Mason (4 ml. )
Crissy Field, recently bequeathed by the Army to the National Park Service, has been transformed from a WWI-vintage airfield with a potholed parking lot to a lagoon, with a path through vegetation along the sandy shore of San Francisco Bay. On most days, and for sure on sunny weekends, the Golden Gate Promenade is filled will sight-seeing exercise lovers and their strollers, bikes, skates, and pooches.
Begin the Golden Gate Promenade to Fort Point by going left along the path. You can also walk the beach, a popular dog exercise area. You’ll cross a bridge over a developed lagoon, bordered by native plants, and then reach the visitors center for the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary on your right. Those interested in the marine life will want to drop in for a visit. The Farallones Sanctuary protects a large portion of ocean, extending offshore beyond the Farallon Islands which are 29 miles west of the Golden Gate and northward beyond Point Reyes Seashore to Bodega Bay. Designated in 1981, this sanctuary was the first among 13 in the country today. Across the lagoon on Mason Street is Crissy Center, a community and environmental center with an excellent cafe and blogstore. If feeling jumpy, look for the House of Air, an indoor trampolne park.