Traveling to San Francisco
With a stunning coastline and remarkable culture that draws in visitors from every corner of the globe, San Francisco is a special place to visit and enjoy time spent outside. While the best time of year to visit is during the summer months, the weather is mild in the city, making it a good place to visit at any time of year.
Exploring and immersing yourself in everything that the city has to offer is a must during a trip to San Francisco. There are many cultural heritage sites that you can visit to learn more about the city and its importance in U.S. history, or you can get out on the water and feel the Pacific breeze on your face.
With a major international airport and highways running through the city from all over the state, getting into San Francisco is easy no matter where you’re coming from. You can also arrive by ferry to the port from cities like Sausalito and Alameda. Once in San Francisco, you can get around on the public transport system, the BART, drive, or take Uber, which is inexpensive and a popular choice.
The Top 10 Outdoor Activities & Things To Do in San Francisco, California
With all the beautiful scenery, coastline, and ocean to enjoy, San Francisco is the perfect destination for outdoor activities and adventures. Whether you’re visiting for a day, a month or you’re moving to San Francisco, scheduling time to explore outside is essential.
1. San Francisco Bay Boat Cruises
Cruising around San Francisco Bay is a must-do item for anyone on a trip to the city. Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the highlights of the city from the perspective of the water is a remarkable sight that you’ll never forget even after going home from your visit. You can rent a boat on your own and climb aboard with your travel mates for a day of solo adventures, or charter a boat with a captain to give you an epic tour of the bay.
For event planners or individuals looking to host an event onboard a boat in San Francisco, you can find the perfect charter to serve as a venue for your special day. From weddings to corporate events, bachelor parties to family gatherings, a day spent eating and drinking on a boat, cruising the waves, is one that all your guests will never forget. Boat owners and captains can help to arrange everything down to the last detail, from menus to entertainment onboard. For an experience that will have all your friends jealous, book a wine tour in San Francisco and sample the best of Napa Valley while cruising on a yacht in the bay.
Exploring by wind power on a sailboat in San Francisco is a special experience. Learn to sail with a lesson or book a sailboat for a romantic sunset cruise, with a captain to worry about steering the boat. Sloop sailboats offer the classic sailing experience, while large catamarans are for bigger groups who need to spread out with more deck space. Sit back and relax on the deck, soaking up the sun as you cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge, seeing it from a whole new point of view.
3. Wildlife Tours & Adventures in San Francisco
Whale watching in San Francisco Bay is an unforgettable experience for both tourists and locals to enjoy. Cruise around and see magnificent marine creatures, from orcas, dolphins, to humpback whales. There’s nothing more magical than getting up close and personal with these animals in their natural habitat, observing as they swim around the boat and jump in the waves freely.
Water and Wind Sports Rentals & Lessons
4. Kitesurfing Rentals & Lessons
For adventure seekers and travelers looking to learn something new during their visit to San Francisco, booking a kitesurfing lesson is a great idea. This exciting watersport is fun to learn in the bay, and you can book both private and group lessons. If you already know how to kitesurf or kiteboard, rent equipment on your own while in San Francisco and let the wind pull you through the water.
5. Windsurfing Equipment Rentals & Lessons
An easier water sport to learn is windsurfing, and booking a group lesson in San Francisco is fun for travelers looking to bond out on the water as they learn to ride their board around the bay. Learn the basics if you’re a beginner or take a lesson to improve upon your windsurfing skills if you’ve been before. You can also just rent the board and sail and head off on your own for a few hours if you want to try it out on the bay.
Flying through the waves of the Bay Area on a jet ski is an experience unlike any other. Jet ski rentals and lessons are fun favorites of both visitors and locals alike, the perfect option for adrenaline seekers and adventurous souls. Race your friends through the waves on rented jet skis for hours, cruise under the bridge, or explore spots along the coastline. Renting a jet ski is a more practical option than owning one for San Francisco locals who don’t have the time to go out on the water all the time.
Paddlesports in San Francisco
Dipping a paddle into the water and pulling yourself through the ocean is an eco-friendly way to enjoy the outdoors in San Francisco. Paddlesport rentals are the choice of fitness-focused travelers, who want to get in a workout while they are on vacation.
6. Kayak Rentals & Tours in San Francisco
Renting a kayak or booking a kayak tour to paddle around the bay is a guaranteed way to get an upper body workout, as well as learn about the local area and enjoy the outdoors. Choose from single kayaks or tandem kayaks, half and full-day adventures, or a romantic sunset paddle if your better half also loves outdoor activities.
7. Stand-up Paddleboard Rentals & Lessons
Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, has boomed in popularity in recent years. It’s a great workout, and you can even do yoga out on the water on a SUP board. It’s an easy activity to learn, and renting a board can provide hours of entertainment and exercise out on the water of the Bay Area. Rent a SUP in San Francisco on your own, book a group tour, or take a yoga class to connect with nature and enjoy being in the sunshine.
One of the best activities to enjoy during your stay in San Francisco is a fishing charter. Book yourself on a fishing boat like a trawler or RIB for an epic day of angling out in the bay or the open ocean. Sportfishing is a popular activity and out on a guided tour with a captain, you can reel in all sorts of fish like salmon, Albacore tuna, rockfish, and more.
Best City Activities to Enjoy in San Francisco
9. Sightseeing in San Francisco
Despite the heavy emphasis on water activities for visitors to San Francisco, there are plenty of activities that visitors and residents can enjoy on land too. The stunning coastline and unique things to do scattered throughout the city provide limitless opportunities for fun and entertainment.
Besides seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and cruising to Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz Island, you can dig into the culture while being outside in San Francisco.
For food and seeing one of the most iconic spots in the city, head to Chinatown in San Francisco and spend hours wandering the pagoda-styled streets, sampling delicious dishes like soup dumplings and fried noodles. Walk through Union Square, ride on a cable car, and make sure you snap a photo of the Painted Ladies houses while exploring San Francisco.
10. Beach Days in San Francisco
Want to lay out in the sand and relax? There are plenty of beaches around San Francisco to visit for the perfect day. Some of the best include Marshall's Beach, Baker Beach, and Ocean Beach. If traveling with kids, keep in mind that there is a lot of nudity on some of San Francisco's beaches!
Planning a trip to visit San Francisco, or are you a Bay Area local heading out on a boat rental or water experience? Don’t forget to tag us in your photos @GetMyBoat! We’d love to hear your stories of renting with GetMyBoat in San Francisco, reach out to us on Facebook!