One of the many perks about living in San Francisco is the location. Besides being situated along the coast of sunny California, there are also many national parks near San Francisco. So, when you need to reconnect with nature, go rock climbing, or camp under the stars, you have plenty of options.
As one of the most well-known and visited parks in California, Yosemite attracts four million people every year. This is only one of the many national parks near San Francisco. There are over a dozen different activities that are at your disposal while in Yosemite Mariposa County. You can go rock climbing, zip-lining, hiking, fishing, rafting, horseback riding, camping, biking and more. On your less adventurous days, you can shop, visit museums, discover arts and culture, or go wine and brew tasting.Yosemite’s beauty is unmatched and the sightseeing options are endless. Some of the major attractions include Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. Also, Yosemite is home to some of the world’s oldest and largest trees, the giant sequoias. Lastly, don’t leave without visiting the natural monuments, vineyards, and historic Gold Rush landmarks.
Of all the national parks near San Francisco, Muir Woods is the closest to SF. A short 40-minute drive from the city will take you to this breathtaking redwood forest. These trees are over a thousand years old and reach 260 feet. You’ll have to see it for yourself to understand why John Muir called it “the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.”
When you are looking to escape the noises of the city, you can find peace and solitude inside the park. You can also take a walk along several of the trails that range from one to six miles in length. Their level of difficulty varies from easy, to moderate to hard.
An interesting fact about Pinnacles National Park and what makes it appealing is its origin. The cliffs and cave formations that visitors see today became formed by a volcano from millions of years ago. This park is a physical and natural phenomenon and people enjoy the beauty, explore caves, camp, climb, and hike here. It can get hot in the summertime with temperatures reaching the 100’s. But, at night, the heat fades away and all you’ll see is a sky dotted in countless stars.
Pinnacles National Park has two parts, an east, and a west side. Although it’s not possible to drive from one side of the park to the other, you can on foot. It’s about a 5-mile hike. Besides this hike, the park offers visitors 30 miles of trails, and tent, group and RV sites for overnight camping.
To put this natural beauty into perspective, the park has 149 bird species, 69 butterfly species, and 400 bee species. It has the largest bee diversity of anywhere on earth. Other animals that call Pinnacle their home include 24 bat species, the California condor, the big-eared kangaroo rat, and the Gabilan slender salamander.
Located an hour north of San Francisco is the Point Reyes National Seashore. As a visitor, you’ll discover secluded beaches, a lush green hillside, and forested ridges. Along the seashore, there are hiking trails, events, and wildlife exploration programs.
During those wildlife explorations, you have the chance to see over a thousand different plants and animal species. Not only that, but 45 percent of North American bird species and 18 percent of California’s plant species live here. The reason for this is the variety of habitats offered at the park and the unique geology.
More than two and a half million people visit Point Reyes each year. The busiest time of year for visitors are the summer months, although this is when the heaviest fogs occur. But, January through March is a great time to visit because this is when elephant seals have their pups. And then in the spring, you can witness the harbor seal pupping.
Kings Canyon National Park is home to the deepest canyon in the United States. Its depth is nearly a mile and a half. With a similar terrain to Yosemite Valley, it has deep valleys, towering sequoia trees, and monstrous rock formations. This park neighbors the Sequoia National Park, and has two different areas. The areas are Grant Grove, where the “the nation’s Christmas tree” lives, and Cedar Grove.
Besides having the deepest canyon, this park is home to Redwood Canyon, the largest remaining grove of sequoia trees in the world. Kings Canyon National Park features over 800 miles of hiking trails. A hiker can come back year after year and still have many new trails to conquer. In addition to hiking, visitors come here to horseback ride, camp, fly fish, stargaze, and explore caves. During the winter months, you can sled, cross-country ski, or snowboard.
If you are reading this in preparation for your move to San Francisco, all these options might excite you. There is so much to see and do in and around San Francisco. But, what if you’re feeling overwhelmed? We have one suggestion for you. Before deciding on a place to live, research companies like Blueground. With move-in ready apartments, all you have to worry about is unpacking your bags. All the furniture, art and decor, kitchen essentials, and TV’s come included. What better way to settle into your new home, then with a short unpacking list. This frees up your time so you can visit one of these national parks because your next adventure is waiting!