Memorial day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, it’s a time when you cut your jeans into shorts, break out your barbecue, and dust off your boat shoes. San Francisco is the best place to be during the warm months of June, July, and August. While the rest of the country is boiling in humidity, we enjoy perfect sunny, temperate weather. And what better way to celebrate than to check out all of the lush nature surrounding the Bay Area. In less than an hour drive you can reach Point Reyes, one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, you can rope swing over the ocean in a big eucalyptus tree, hike to a waterfall, or see whales off the coastal highway. Drinking watery beer and eating BBQ are important national past-times, but how about celebrating this year with some nature. Here are four of the best places for hiking and getting your zen on in the Bay Area.
Despite its vicinity to San Francisco, this place remains pretty secluded and untouched. It’s probably the mile hike down to the ocean from the cliffs that deters less dedicated rope swingers; because what goes down must come up, at least in this case. The swing hangs in an enormous eucalyptus tree and during high tide jets out over the water. Stunning views of the Golden gate with a deserted island feel, there’s nothing better.
A short drive from SF and near the cute coastal town of Bolinas where you can stock up on granola and incense if that’s the kind of hike you’re looking for. Either way, the white noise of an oceanside waterfall will definitely realign your chakras, or whatever, and prepare you for all the craziness of summer fun.
If you’ve never driven down highway 1, now is the time because by the middle of summer the fog rolls in and doesn’t leave until mid September. So get the expansive ocean views while they last and this place is the best spot because it’s whale season. You can watch the largest mammals on earth turn over all day and swim their yearly migration toward colder water during the summer months. It’s a pretty incredible thing to witness.
There are a ton of different hikes you can do in the area, the cypress tree tunnel is the entrance to the national park, but from there, do the lighthouse loop at sunset. It’s another place where a whale sighting is possible, and it will make you look pretty cool on Instagram.