A Path Through the Presidio

Follow our route in San Francisco’s bayfront national park.

by Maryann Jones Thompson


There’s a lot about San Francisco that makes you want to leave your heart here. We love its mix of urban and natural areas—and we’re not talking just any ol’ outdoor spaces, we’re talking world-class, national park-level stuff! It’s no wonder that both locals and visitors spend time exploring the Presidio, a 1776 Spanish outpost that transitioned into a U.S. Army post in 1847, and became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1994.

Enjoy sunsets over the ocean, historic military posts, and epic vistas of the Golden Gate, downtown, Alcatraz, and the Bay—and countless hiking, biking, walking, climbing, boating, and swimming spots. Hike a little or a lot, it’s all breathtaking. 


East BeachThis spot is a great place to park for a day of exploring the former army base, including the newly opened Quartermaster Reach Trail.


Crissy FieldKeep walking toward the bridge from East Beach and you’ll hit the former airstrip. The bayside path delivers views the whole way, and is always swarmed with local runners and strollers.

The south side includes the Sports Basement retailer, Planet Granite climbing gym, the House of Air trampoline park, and a swim school in the former airline hangars—all fun options if they survive the pandemic.

Keep heading toward the West Bluff picnic area, throw a Frisbee, or score a grill with bridge views. Then walk onto the wharf and see what’s biting. Let the kids splash in the beach shallows. The water is surprisingly clean!


Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center – Avoid the parking smackdown by leaving your car at the fort. Walk up the path and get an up-close look at the bridge’s cable construction. Hit the bookstore and walk (or bike) a bit on the bridge. (It takes a good 5–10 minutes of fighting the crowds to get to the views.)


Fort PointHours are dodgy, but if possible, take a walk into this Civil War fort. The views from the roof are crazy! Watch the surfers and the sea lions frolic out front.


Battery ViewsMove the car to the Langdon Court area. See the bridge through the trees at the Golden Gate Overlook and scramble around but keep an eye on your littles!


Baker BeachMosey down Lincoln Blvd. or hike down the Batteries-to-Bluffs trail to wrap up with a toes-in-the-sand sunset. (Note: the north end of Baker is a nude beach.)


Main PostIf you’ve got more gas in the tank, head back up the hill toward the World War II Memorial and wind your way back through the trees to the Main Post. End the day with some food at The Seminary or some fun at Presidio Bowl—if open (fingers crossed).


Maryann Jones Thompson  – November 2020

ROAM Founder & Editor   

After a thousand years in publishing as a business journalist, ghostwriter, content strategist and market researcher, Maryann brings her experience traveling as a backpacker, businessperson, expat and mom to writing and editing for ROAM.

© ROAM Family Travel 2021 – All rights reserved


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