When visiting the Bay Area, it can be hard to find activities that are family-friendly and provide something that everyone (and not just the kids) will enjoy. Here are the best things to do around the Bay Area for families.
Presido: Off the Grid
Off the Grid in the simplest terms is a huge outdoor picnic with food trucks for the whole family. Every Sunday, April – October, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m families can go to the Presido and spend the day outside on the green lawn. This is a great place for the whole family including small children and even the family pet. For the adults, they even have a tent in the center that focuses on adult beverages while the kids play in the field, making Off the Grid an awesome family day adventure.
The Mission is another great area to spend the day in with the family. The Mission has a ton of options to satisfy any hunger needs, and it is also home to one of the best daytime parks in San Francisco, Dolores Park. Dolores is awesome because there are activities for the whole family. When you arrive, you can pick your setup spot. Most people like to hang here, listen to music, interact with the vendors, and have a picnic. There is a playground and a ton of pick-up games of football, soccer, and Frisbee. Dolores is awesome for the family that wants an active day at the park but wants to be able to relax as well.
Taking a day trip out of San Francisco is sometimes a much-needed adventure in order to escape the craziness of the city. A favorite day trip involves just taking California State Highway 1 north or south. Heading north, there is much to see that isn’t that far of a drive, and the multitude of small towns that you pass through make the scenic route that much more enjoyable. Heading south on Highway 1 is extremely scenic along the coast and leads directly to Santa Cruz or the Big Sur, if you’re willing to extend the drive a little bit further.
Baseball officially started this weekend and with that comes the return of our beloved Giants. Even if you’re not a Giants fan, this is a historic ball park and is an awesome full-day activity for the family. The Giants have being stringing successful season after successful season together for the past several years. Catch a game with the whole family and help root them on all throughout the summer.
Alcatraz Islandis a non-functioning penitentiary in the Bay Area. Today the island is open for visitors to get a grasp on what prisoners on the island had to go through when they were there. The island is loaded with beautiful flowers. Visitors can take pictures from the bay of the city or take the whole family on a ferry ride. Visiting Alcatraz only takes a few hours and provides the family with a great afternoon. If the whole family is feeling extra dangerous, try making it through the night tour.
The Marin Headlands has one of the most breathtaking views of Golden Gate one can find. Making the way to the top can be difficult but is definitely worth the sight. This full family activity can start out by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge,traveling up to the top of Marin Headlands, and then exploring the surrounding area. Sausalito and small beach towns are right by the headlands, and there are plenty of awesome place to grab a meal after a full day of hiking. The Headlands are a great place to grab that action shot of the bridge as well.
Take the family to the forest which had scenes from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in it. Muir Woods is a huge redwood forest located north of San Francisco where the average age of a redwood is between 500- and 800-years-old. Visitors can expect to spend several hours hiking to the top and even visiting the beach as well. The drive to Muir Woods is extremely scenic and poses plenty of opportunities to pull off the road and grab some family pictures. Families should make sure to remember to bring water and some snacks if they expect to be hiking for a while.
Whale watching in San Francisco is an awesome family activity and can happen almost anywhere. If it is something a family wants to plan, there are multiple whale touring companies in the Bay Area. Families can also make their way to Point Reyes Lighthouse and try to observe whales migrating from the observation deck. There are endless possibilities to seeing your first whale, and nothing compares to the excitement one has when you finally do see one.
Save Golden Gate Park for a nice Sunday stroll or bike ride. On Sundays the whole park is closed off to motor vehicles so the streets are wide open and exploring is much more fun. Families should try riding bikes through the park, taking in all the beautiful scenes, and making their way to Ocean Beach. Golden Gate Park is filled with different types of gardens, museums, recreation centers, and off-the-trail paths that can provide entertainment for any member of the family.
Pier 39 is located at the edge of Fisherman’s Wharf and is a heavily populated tourist destination. Pier 39 has a ton of shops, performers, and other various activities for families to indulge in. For example they can see favorites like the Aquarium of the Bay, Virtual 3D rides, and the sea lions. The pier also provides action shots of Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bay Bridge.