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Top 10 Summer Tips at Golden Gate NPS

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Hillside of the Marin Headlands, view of the Bay, and SF cityscape
NPS/ Alison Taggart Barone

Plan Like A Park Ranger:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area is one of the most visited National Parks, welcoming millions of visitors annually. Those who visit can discover an amazing variety of experiences and destinations. We hope you'll have fun, make lifelong memories, and enjoy this special place also.

Here are the TOP 10 TIPS from our park rangers to plan your Summer trip to Golden Gate:

  1. Be Patient And Flexible

    GGNRA is a big place, with a major city: traffic and road construction may make drive times longer than expected. Always have a few back up plans, and reserve campgrounds or lodging well in advance.

  2. Repeat: "Can You Hear Me Now?"

    Cell service and bandwidth will vary across the park. Don't be surprised if you can't receive calls or texts, even in the few areas you have cell reception. Car services like Uber may get you there, but it will be hard getting back. Be sure to download or print maps ahead of your visit.

  3. Download A Digital Guide To Enhance Your Experience

    Get the NPS Mobile App to access Golden Gate and all other park sites before you arrive. For remote areas of the park like Muir Woods, 'offline mode' is available.

  4. Meet "Karl The Fog"

    The Bay Area is well known for its microclimates, and infamous fog. Temperatures can be atleast 10 degrees higher inland, than the colder, windy coastline. Dress in layers to ensure your visiting our park comfortably.

  5. Drive Responsibly

    Observe posted speed limits and use pullouts to view wildlife, take pictures, and let other cars pass. Wildlife may use the roadways too and adhering to the posted speed limit will help ensure their safety, as well as yours.

  6. Stay On Boardwalks, Trails, and Shores

    Rip currents, rock scaling, and walking off trail can be dangerous: injuring more visitors than any other natural feature each year. Avoid tragedy by recreating in the park responsibly. Adhere to all safety signs and messages.

  7. Observe Operation Hours

    With over 80,00 acres, GGNRA encompasses many park sites with varying schedules. Learn the hours of operation before you go, check out Fort Point, Muir Woods, Alcatraz, and visitor centers.

  8. Take Safe Selfies

    Always be aware of your surroundings: never approach wildlife, or walk off trail to take pictures. Do not feed or bait coyotes, or any other wildlife. We love wildflowers too; we can best protect them by photographing them from a distance.

  9. Be An Early (or late) Bird

    Avoid crowds and traffic: visit the park during non-peak hours—before 9 am and after 3 pm. Sunset is popular for our San Francisco park sites along the coast: Baker Beach, Ocean Beach, and Lands End. You can check out the moon rise (especially when it's full!) instead at Crissy Field, Fort Point or the Presidio.

  10. Appreciate The Urban Landscape

    Golden Gate is much more than a natural ecosystem. Responsibly take in the vibrant communities, cityscapes, and natural wonders throughout this area. Use your best judgement with your belongings; avoid leaving significant valuables in unattended vehicles. And always leave no trace!

Recreate Responsibly:

Some park sites have modified operations for facilities and programs, including potential closures, at areas that cannot adhere to this guidance. Golden Gate National Recreation Area asks visitors to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees.

The health and safety of people visiting and working in the park is our number one priority. We continue to urge visitors to do their part when visiting the park and to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.


Major Park Sites:

With more than 80,000 acres Golden Gate National Recreation Area, encompasses centuries of overlapping history, culture, and ecosystems. The following park sites are amongst our most visited, and have their own hours, information, and programs:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Last updated: May 28, 2021