After a week of rainy, foggy weather, San Francisco has finally opened up to spring in its full glory. With clear, bright skies, hours and hours of sunlight, and a breeze to keep things cool, right now is a perfect time to get out and spend a day among the trees, grass, and everything else green and glorious.
The Bay Area is blessed with a huge variety of natural wonders to round out any outdoorsy day. San Francisco is a small city; if you’re feeling cooped up, here are five easy trips outside of the city to help you take full advantage of the wonderful – if sometimes finicky – weather.
There’s just something cool about Islands, and Angel Island, with its west side catching the full brunt of breezes from the Golden Gate, is no exception. Do bundle up if you’re going here, and do rent a bike to cover the island’s circuit. Camping is also allowed, with night views of the San Francisco skyline a big draw.
Briones Regional Park
A trip east from Berkeley through the Caldecott Tunnel may feel like a step into the past for city-dwellers. Indeed, Contra Costa County is downright pastoral, thanks in large part to the rolling hills and cool gullies of Briones. Much of it is even accessible by BART. Get off at Lafayette station, for example, and you’ll soon find a trail to a summit and spectacular views. Spring brings green grass and lots of wildlife hopping between the oaks.
Many who grew up in the East Bay have fond memories of Tilden, probably the best park in Berkeley. It’s huge (or, at least we remember it as so when we return as adults), and filled with kid-friendly attractions, including an ancient merry-go-round and the most awesomest concrete slide a kid could ask for.
UC Berkeley Campus
So maybe walking around a college campus isn’t your idea of an outdoorsy day, but UC Berkeley’s campus is stunning in the spring. With flowers in bloom, a couple running streams, and even a miniature redwood forest, this is a great place for a half day of strolling and lounging, preferably with a Top Dog sausage in hand. Hit the campus library for a shady retreat.
The Berkeley Hills are lovely any time of year, with vistas of the entire East Bay and San Francisco sprawling at your feet. You’ll find lots of picnic spots and hiking trails throughout Tilden Regional Park, with the Lawrence Hall of Science right around the corner.