3 Stunning Natural Attractions Outside San Francisco That You Need to See

by Bert Maxwell /
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Oct 09, 2014 / 0 comments

While it's tempting to spend every day of your trip to San Francisco exploring the culturally rich downtown aboard classic trolleys, you'll miss some of the Bay Area's most impressive natural attractions if you don't escape the city at least once. Here are three stunning outdoor parks that are worthy of a one-day excursion from central San Francisco.


Enjoy Museums and Water Sports at Coyote Point Park


Coyote Point Park, San Francisco. From 3 Stunning Natural Attractions Outside San Francisco That You Need to See
Coyote Point Park via Flickr cc by Dharmesh Patel


Just south of the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), you'll find Coyote Point Park. This premier beach and park offers an array of water and land sports.

Need to let your kids run off some energy? Magic Mountain Playground features two play areas for different aged kids, a 42-foot-high castle, swings, slides, and balance beams. There's plenty here to tire your kids before an afternoon nap.

On foggy days, head inside at the CuriOdyssey science and nature museum. This family-friendly attraction features interactive exhibits and wildlife habitats with reptiles. More active travelers should take advantage of the frequent windy weather for windsurfing and kiteboarding.

This popular outdoor vacation site is close to many affordable airport hotels. The Holiday Inn San Francisco Airport offers well equipped rooms at low prices. All guest rooms at this hotel include a mini-fridge, a coffee maker, and a flat-screen TV. For travelers in need of an extended stay hotel, consider the Embassy Suites San Francisco Airport. This property features a tropical indoor atrium and a free cooked-to-order breakfast.


Hike Mori Point, Pacifica


Mori Point, Pacifica. From 3 Stunning Natural Attractions Outside San Francisco That You Need to See

Mori Point, Pacifica via Flikr cc by Sarah Murray

This popular hiking spot is infamous for its role in the movie Harold and Maude as the place where Harold drove off a cliff. Found south of San Francisco in Pacifica, there are a full 105 acres of Golden Gate Conservatory land to explore along the Mori Point hiking trails and several endangered wildlife species to spot.

Hiking along the flat and tree-lined paths, this trail system is great for beginners. Follow the Old Mori Road trail to the picturesque black sand beach at Sharp Park and raised boardwalks. Continue along the path to find more trails leading to the breathtaking hillside.


See Whales and Sharks at the Farallon Islands


Farallon Islands. From 3 Stunning Natural Attractions Outside San Francisco That You Need to See

Farallon Islands via Flickr cc by Jeff Gunn

Set sail from Pier 39 for an ocean adventure 27 miles off the San Francisco coast. The Farallon Islands, part of a National Marine Sanctuary, are a pristine setting teeming with wildlife. More than 250,000 seabirds, including murres and puffins, call the islands home. Additionally, the surrounding water hosts porpoises, dolphins, whales, and great white sharks.

From the safety of a tour boat, you can view many of these animal species in their natural habitat and capture some incredible photos. However, if you're looking for the thrill of a lifetime, some Farallon tour companies offer shark cage diving. In full scuba gear, divers lower into the ocean, in a protective cage, within reach (or closer) of great white sharks.


Are you heading to Northern California soon? What will you see?