Map of Golden Gate National Recreation Area
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Golden Gate National Recreation Area
In San Francisco area
This recreation area is the largest national park adjacent to an urban area in the world. The 76,500-acre park encompasses 28 mi of shoreline in San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo counties, including ocean beaches, redwood forest, lagoons, marshes, former military properties, a cultural center at Fort Mason, and Alcatraz Island. The area also includes Fort Point National Historic Site and Muir Woods National Monument (see separate entries for each). The park was established in 1972 and designated a Biosphere Reserve in 1988.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Attending cultural programs, bicycling, bird-watching, board sailing, golfing, hiking, off-road biking, picnicking, sailing, swimming, visiting museum, walking. Facilities: 7 visitor centers: Fort Mason, Presidio, Muir Woods (see separate listing), Alcatraz, Marin Headlands, Cliff House, Fort Point (see separate listing); hiking trails, museum. Picnic tables. Programs & Events: Year-round programs available. Tips & Hints: Allow two or three days to see all areas of the recreation area. Expect windy, cool temperatures, fog in summer, and best weather in spring and fall. Busiest July and Aug., least crowded Dec.-Feb.
Camping: 4 campgrounds in the park: Bicentennial (Battery Wallace; 3 walk-in tent sites; free), Hawkcamp (Bobcat Trail, 4 mi from Marin Headlands Visitor Center; 3 hike-to tent sites; free; pit toilets), Haypress (1 mi from Tennessee Valley parking lot; 5 walk-in tent sites; free), Kirby Cove (near Golden Gate Bridge; 4 walk-in tent sites; $25; pit toilets; closed Nov.-Mar).
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS
Entrance fee: $1 day-use fee for Alcatraz Island (plus ferry transportation). Reservation required for Alcatraz (tel. 415/705-5555). Ferry transportation fee: $9.50 round-trip adults, $4.75 ages 64 and over, $4.75 ages 6-12. Audiotape tour: $3.50 adults, $1.50 ages 5-11. Permit required for backcountry camping at Marin Headlands. Cliff House Visitor Center open daily 10-5. Marin Headlands Visitor Center open daily 9:30-4:30. Presidio Visitor Center open daily 9-5. Fort Mason and Alcatraz open daily 9:30-5. Nike Missile Site open at Marin Headlands weekdays and 1st Sun. of the month 12:30-3:30.
HOW TO GET THERE
Much of the recreation area is within walking distance of San Francisco, with other areas up to an hour's drive away. The recreation area follows the city's north and west shoreline, extending down the peninsula. Across Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, follow access roads off U.S. 101, including Alexander Ave., Shoreline Rte., and Sir Francis Drake Blvd., to the recreation area. The Municipal Railway (MUNI) bus system serves Rodeo Beach in Marin on Sun. Recreation area lands in San Mateo County are accessible via Skyline Blvd. In San Francisco, MUNI provides frequent service from downtown to shoreline destinations, especially Aquatic Park, the Cliff House, Ocean Beach, and Fort Mason. Limited MUNI transportation is available to the Presidio. Because traffic is sometimes heavy and parking is limited, public transportation is recommended. MUNI also connects from San Francisco to other Bay Area transit systems: Golden Gate Transit (GGT) in Marin County; Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Alameda-Contra Costa Transit (AC TRANSIT) in the East Bay; and San Mateo Transit (SAM TRANS) in the peninsula area. The Blue & Gold Fleet ferries provide transportation to Alcatraz. Closest airports: San Francisco and Oakland.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area Headquarters (Fort Mason, Bldg. 201, San Francisco, CA 94123, tel. 415/561-4700,). Other visitor information centers: Presidio (Presidio, Bldg. 102, San Francisco, CA 94129, tel. 415/561-4323); Alcatraz (Fort Mason, Bldg. 201, San Francisco, CA 94123, tel. 415/556-0560); Marin Headlands (National Park Service, Marin Headlands Visitor Center, Bldg. 948, Fort Barry, Sausalito, CA 94965, tel. 415/331-1540); Cliff House (Golden Gate National Park Association, Point Lobos Ave., San Francisco, CA 94121, tel. 415/556-8642). San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (201 3rd St., Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94103, tel. 415/ 974-6900,). See also Fort Point National Historic Site and Muir Woods National Monument.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area. How to get by car to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. How to book a room and its price in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area