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Exciting Outdoor Activities to Try in San Francisco

By Kacey M. Bradley
Lifestyle Blogger and Freelance Writer The Drifter Collective

San Francisco is well known for its weather. It’s always sunny and pleasant. If you’re from basically anywhere else, this kind of perfection is a rare occurrence. So of course anyone who’s visiting is going to want to spend some time outside. Since San Francisco is a really small city, it’s surprising that it’s become so famous. Of course, the Golden Gate Bridge helped with that, but there’s a surprising number of things to do in the city. You may not be able to try them all, but there’s something there for everyone!

  1. Billy Goat Hill Park (Go for the Swing)
    If you don’t mind steps, this is the place to go for a cheap thrill. By cheap, we actually mean free. Billy Goat Hill Park is a small park in the Diamond Heights neighborhood. There’s a wide variety of wildlife, including some incredible birds of prey. But the real attraction here is the swing.

    At the edge of the park, way up on the hill, there’s a few swings you can play on -- if you’re brave. They start on land, but they quickly swing you way out into nothingness. It’s supposed to give the impression of flight, but be careful. There’s no indication that these swings are monitored by the city, so check for weak spots before taking off.
  2. Go Walk the Bridge, Already!
    You’re in San Francisco, you really should go see the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s only famous world-wide, after all. There are tours offered twice a week, so you can go and learn about the history of the bridge as it was being built. You can also rent a bike to go across on your own, and there’s a small café if you want to go for lunch.
  3. Hike Around Golden Gate Park
    Since you’re already off to visit the Bridge, you might as well swing into the park as well. The Golden Gate Park is a huge area in the middle of San Francisco. It has over 1,000 acres of hiking trails, gardens, lakes, playgrounds, fountains, and even dog parks. There’s even a Japanese tea Garden! You can take one of two small bridges out to an island in the middle of Stow Lake, learn about sustainability in the Conservatory of Flowers, and visit a planetarium, aquarium, or natural history museum at the California Academy of Sciences.
  4. The Wave Organ
    This unique sculpture/amplifier was built to allow people to hear the surf in a new way. Made mostly of rock, concrete, and PVC piping, the wave organ allows you to hear the tides. As water rushes in, it hits the bottom of the pipes and the sounds ricochet up to the surface. By the time they reach our ears, they’ve been distorted into a new, melodic sound. It’s a very tribal kind of music, with no human input, and with only the rhythm of the tides to make the music.
  5. Skimboarding -- The New Surfing
    Ever seen those things that are kind of like tiny surfboards? Those are skimboards, and they’re designed to take you gliding across the surf. It can be a little tricky to learn how to skimboard, but once you do, you can move much faster along the beach -- or just play and have fun. There are several beaches listed as excellent areas for trying this new sport out. In fact, Wright’s Beach is listed as the best beach for skimboarders, thanks to its unique rock formations. Boards are sold at most surf shops, but you might get lucky and find a cheap one in a swimsuit shop!
  6. Muir Woods
    Ok, technically, Muir Woods isn’t actually in San Francisco. But, since it’s only about 15 miles out, you should go ahead and make the trip. Muir Woods is one place to go and see California’s famous redwoods. The park is small, by redwood standards, and they don’t offer much except a gift shop and some bathrooms. After all, the main attraction is the trees. There are smooth paths with gentle gradients that traverse the park, allowing visitors to see what all the hubbub is about these trees. There are tours that will drive you from San Francisco to the park on a daily basis, and Muir Beach is only about 3 miles from the park. No matter where you go in San Francisco, there’s something to do there that you can’t do anywhere else. This list is by no means comprehensive. There’s no telling what new idea will have popped into being by the time you get there - so go!