8 Top National Parks Near San Francisco

yosemite valley view during sunny day

There’s a lot to see and there is so much to see and do in and around San Francisco, Ca. For many tourists, it’s nice to be in the outdoors while in a city of a large size. If you’re located in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are numerous wonderful national parks in the area. Here are the top 8 national parks in the vicinity of San Francisco.

  1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  2. Muir Woods National Monument
  3. Point Reyes National Sea Shore
  4. Rosie The Riveter National Historical Park
  5. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
  6. John Muir National Historic Site
  7. Redwood National Park
  8. Yosemite National Park

1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate Park features expansive views and excellent hiking.

  • Price is: Free (special exhibits will require charges)
  • What Time Does It Open? 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Distance/Time from Downtown San Francisco: 7 miles/20 minutes
  • Activities: Hiking and historical learning and views
  • Pet Friendly? No
  • Nearby Attractions Nearby: Bay Area Discovery Museum, Exploratorium, The Walt Disney Family Museum

Explore the well-maintained and protected landscapes in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The hills provide an enjoyable walk. Green landscapes with lush vegetation complement the stunning background of the bay along with Golden Gate Bridge. Golden Gate Bridge. The location close to San Francisco makes for an effortless and enjoyable journey for visitors to Golden Gate.

2. Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods National Monument features stunning views like these.

  • Price: $15 for an adult (16 and over) Children are free (15 and under).
  • What hours is it open? 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Distance/time from downtown San Francisco: 16 miles, approximately 40 minutes
  • Activities like hiking trails, unique views of trees
  • Pet Friendly? No
  • Nearby attractions: Sweetwater Music Hall, Marin Theatre Company

Muir Woods National Monument is a stunning natural forest of redwood trees. It has trails for hiking that wind and twist through the old-growth Redwood forest. You can also hike up the hillside to enjoy stunning views of the tree tops as well as the Pacific Ocean.

a couple standing at the tunnel view

Yosemite and Giant Sequoias One Day Tour from San Francisco

  • 15 Hours
  • 209+

The only 1-day Yosemite tour from San Francisco to deliver more than you dreamed at Half Dome, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls and on a hike to Giant Sequoias.

More Info
10% OFF Summer Offer
father and his son looking at sequoia in muir woods national monument

Muir Woods Redwood Forest and Sausalito Morning Tour

  • 5 Hours
  • 89+

This is the only Muir Woods tour with guided audio narration inside the park. Walk under the world’s tallest trees, then enjoy charming Sausalito.

More Info
Park admission included

3. Point Reyes National Seashore

There’s plenty to see and do at Point Reyes National Seashore.

  • Price: Free (fees for shuttle buses, camping, and so on.)
  • What time is it open? 6 a.m. – 12 a.m.
  • Distance/time from downtown San Francisco: 37 miles, approximately 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Activities: Trail walks, mountain hiking, ocean and beach views
  • Pet friendly? Yes!
  • Nearby attractions: Jack Mason Museum, Bolinas Museum

If you’re looking to experience an array of activities, Point Reyes National Seashore is the perfect place for you! Starting from Wildcat Beach to Mount Wittenberg, there are numerous trails to hike and breathtaking waterfalls to take in. This shoreline is protected, and offers diverse views such as the Cliffs of Alamere Falls and the migrating whales that can sometimes be found near the Point Reyes Lighthouse.

4. Rosie The Riveter National Historical Park

  • Price: Free
  • What hours is it open? 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Distance and time from downtown San Francisco: 18 miles, approximately 25 minutes
  • Activities: Education in the past
  • Pet Friendly? No. Pets are not allowed unless they are service animals
  • Nearby Attractions: Richmond Museum of History

Rosie the Riveter is the famous flexing image from World War II recruiting posters. The museum focuses on the battles on the home front in the course of the conflict. There is plenty to discover and experience both inside and out, and there is a wealth of fascinating historical information to explore.

5. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

  • Price: 7-day entrance passes are $10, or an annual pass is $40. Children under 15 are free if accompanied by an adult
  • When is it open? Varies depending on attraction
  • Distance from downtown San Francisco: 2 miles
  • Things to do: Museums, visit historic ships, and libraries
  • Pet Friendly? Yes!
  • Nearby Attractions: Alcatraz Island

Explore the history of San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Explore a variety of eras and styles of historic vessels. Discover the fascinating history of the museum. Feel the nostalgia of a bygone era when you step aboard one of these boats and look at them on the docks.

6. John Muir National Historic Site

  • Price Cost: Free
  • When is it open? 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Distance/time from downtown San Francisco: 32 miles, approximately 36 mins
  • Things to do: hiking, historic tourist sites
  • Pet Friendly? Yes!
  • Nearby Attractions: Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Concord, CA

John Muir National Historic Site provides a glimpse into one of America’s most renowned conservationists. Muir played a key role in preserving future national parks such as Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. On this site, you can discover his home as well as the place Muir hiked along with his daughter.

The following parks will require more planning to get there from the city of San Francisco. These beautiful national parks are well worth the journey!

7. Redwood National Park

Redwood National Forest features some of the oldest and largest trees.

  • Price Cost: Free
  • When is it open? The park does not close, but the visitor center and campground registration hours vary depending on the season
  • Distance/Time from Downtown San Francisco: 311 miles, approximately 7 hours
  • Activities: Bike, drive, take a walk through the picturesque woods, or camp
  • Pet Friendly? Yes!
  • Nearby Attractions Nearby: Oregon Caves, Crater Lake

Located just minutes from the Oregon border in far Northern California, Redwood National Park is a gorgeous and unique forest to discover. You can hike, bike, or even drive in the woods, enjoying breathtaking panoramas of many of the most ancient and most impressive trees. If you’re planning to stay for a longer time, there are many great camping options, and other nearby national parks, as well.

8. Yosemite National Park

With such views, visiting Yosemite does justice to its name.

  • Cost: $35 for a vehicle pass, and $20 for a bicycle or on foot
  • When is it open? Open 24 hours a day
  • Distance/time from downtown San Francisco: 200 miles, approximately 4 hours
  • Activities: Camping, tours, cycling, hiking, horseback riding, bird watching, fishing, star gazing, rock climbing, skiing, boating, and skiing
  • Pet Friendly? Yes!
  • Nearby Attractions: Bass Lake, Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, a variety of wineries, Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad Thornberry Museum, historic Mariposa, and much, much more!

Yosemite National Park is one of the most well-known national parks in the country, with millions of visitors each year from all over the world. With a variety of activities for weeks to explore and do, Yosemite lives up to its fame. Explore nature in ways you couldn’t imagine in this sprawling national park.

Daniel Howard is a writer and editor at Study Crumb He assists companies in their marketing strategy concepts and contributes to numerous sites and publications

Published on: August 31st 2022
yosemite valley view during sunny day

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