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Best Bay Area Parks You’ve Never Heard Of

Best Bay Area Parks You’ve Never Heard Of

Picture of Danika Peterson
Updated: 24 April 2017
The Bay Area has some of the best spaces the outdoors have to offer. There are amazing beaches, hills, and parks to satisfy the need for fresh air. While you may be familiar with Dolores and Golden Gate, what about the parks less traveled by? These small escapes and diamonds in the rough are just what you’ve been searching for.

Precita Park

On the weekend, when the sun is out and the fog and clouds have cleared, you and some friends will probably head to the unofficial party that happens at Dolores Park. But maybe try Precita Park instead. Located on the cusp of the Mission and Bernal Heights, this park is a little less traveled by. The park has several large grassy areas to enjoy the sun and well-maintained playgrounds for children. Its distance from the city keeps it a quiet place to relax and appreciate a beautiful day.

Morcom Rose Garden

The Morcom Rose Garden, also known as the Amphitheater of Roses, is tucked deeply away in a residential area. The enchanting pathways are home to wedding ceremonies and celebrations throughout the year. There are a multitude of various seasonal roses, creating a heady fragrance that makes the entire garden seem unreal. Nestled among the rose bushes are several fountains and reflecting pools, making it a little tranquil piece of heaven. The best time to visit is during the full bloom towards the end of May and early June; however, the roses go through a second bloom in late July through September.

Preservation Park

Among the urban landscape of downtown Oakland lies Preservation Park, a Victorian neighborhood home to unique historic residences. After a life cycle of elaborate homes being turned into apartments and on the verge of major deterioration, the houses were relocated and renovated. The old Victorians were transformed into a business park, providing new life for the buildings and the surrounding area. The park went back in time, manicured with Victorian-era lamp posts and park benches. For the architecture fans, you won’t believe the beauty of the buildings. This gem is worth a visit or, maybe, the space for your next group meeting.

Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

Many Bay Area residents probably did not know there was a volcano right in their backyard. Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve has several hikes and mysterious rock labyrinths to explore. The volcano, which is now extinct, is one of the highest peaks in the area known as Round Top. If you follow the valance path to the peak of Round Top, there will be turn offs to the rock labyrinths. They’re more complex paths than mazes, but there is something uncanny in its meticulous and immaculate setup. The trail is an upwards hike and can be a bit of a workout, but the views are incredible. The park is gorgeous and gives you a one-with-nature experience.

Fay Park

Only a block from the most ‘crooked’ street in the world, Fay Park is a small hidden gem in Russian Hill. The park has three small terraces connected by stone-lined paths, and at the focal point are wooden gazebos, creating a fairytale in the middle of San Francisco. It’s slope location provides breathtaking views of the bay, plus it’s great for reading and separating from the craziness of the everyday. The park has been open to the public since 2006 and is available for special occasions like weddings and ceremonies. Fay provides the perfect environment for that romantic event you might be planning.

By Danika Peterson