12 Best National Parks Near San Francisco That You Must Visit!

8 mins read

Let’s check out a few national parks near San Francisco…

San Francisco, California, has many things to do and see. It is enjoyable for many tourists to experience nature when they are in a big metropolis. San Francisco contains some of the best national parks nearby if you live in the greater San Francisco Bay area. The top 12 national parks near San Francisco are listed below.

San Francisco, one of the most recognizable cities in the country, is the ideal site to begin a road trip to one of the national parks in central or northern California. It was once a beatnik hangout and is now a center for technology.

Even a short trip will get you to a National Park Service location. In actuality, a national park contains some of San Francisco’s top attractions. This extends to well-known sites like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Within a short distance of San Francisco, you may also find some fantastic forests, a stunning stretch of coastline, and the old residence of one of America’s most influential and pioneering environmentalists.

San Francisco
By: Meriç Dağlı/ Unsplash Copyright 2022

Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, among others, are gorgeous national parks that are a little further out but still only a few hours from San Francisco.

Our first stop will be the top six National Park Service locations in the Bay Area. All those are accessible by car from the city center and are simple to see while visiting San Francisco.

The second section features all six northern California national parks close to San Francisco. Since these parks are at least a couple of hours outside the city, they demand more preparation and time.

Pinnacles National Park, the closest national park to San Francisco, can be visited in a single day, while the other parks need—and merit—at least two days. Giving yourself plenty of time will allow you to fully tour famous parks like Yosemite national park, Sequoia national park, and Redwood national park.

National Parks Close To San Francisco

1. Golden Gate National Recreational Area

Large views and excellent hiking may be found in Golden Gate Park, free of cost. Only special exhibits require fees. It is open for visitors from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It takes 20 minutes to travel from San Francisco and only 7 kilometers to cover; activities to do are hiking and historical learning.

If you own a pet, you must leave your buddy either at home or with nearby relatives as the entry of pets is not allowed. Meanwhile, nearby attractions include The Walt Disney Family Museum, Exploratorium, and Bay Area Discovery.

Enjoy Golden Gate National Recreational Area’s conserved and protected landscapes. A great hike can be in the hills. Lush green surroundings complement beautiful views of the harbor and the Golden Gate Bridge. It is simple and worthwhile to travel to Golden Gate due to its proximity to San Francisco.

2. Muir Woods National Monument

Redwoods and other lovely vistas are found in Muir Woods National Monument. It costs only $15 for adults (i.e., 16 and above) and is free for kids (i.e., 15 and under). It is open for visitors from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It takes 40 minutes to travel from San Francisco and only 26 kilometers to cover; hiking trails and unusual tree vistas are activities to enjoy.

national parks near San Francisco
By: Daniel Halseth/ Unsplash 2022

Redwood trees have a remarkable beauty found only in Muir Woods National Monument. The old-growth redwood forest is covered in a network of winding hiking routes. No pets are allowed, and nearby attractions include Marin Theatre Company and Sweetwater Music Hall.

Other national park sites include stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, treetops, and hikes to the hillside.

3. Point Reyes National Sea Shore

Point Reyes National Seashore offers a wide variety of activities and sights. It takes no cost to visit the Point Reyes National Sea Shore, although you have to pay for camping, a shuttle bus, and it is open for visitors from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.

It is 37 miles from San Francisco and takes nearly 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the national sea shore. Activities to enjoy are trail treks, mountain hiking, beach vistas, and waterfall views.

Point Point Reyes National Seashore
By: Yana Marudova/ Unsplash Copyright 2022

The good news for pet owners is that their pets can accompany them to the park. Jack Mason Museum and Bolinas Museum are nearby attractions. Point Reyes National Seashore is the place for you if you’re looking for a range of activities!

There are routes for hiking trails and stunning waterfalls to see, from Wildcat Beach to Mount Wittenberg. This protected coastline offers a distinctive array of vistas, including the Alamere Falls cliffs and the whales migrating close to the Point Reyes Lighthouse.

4. Rosie the Riveter National Historical Park

Entry to the historical park is free. The parks are open at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. It takes only 25 minutes to travel from San Francisco and nearly 18 miles to cover from San Francisco to reach Riveter National Historical Park.

Pet-friendly activities include historical instruction, and yes, the WWII Home Front National Historical Park allows pets. Attractions close by the History Museum of Richmond. The famous flexing picture from the World War II recruiting posters is Rosie the Riveter.

This historical exhibit describes the state of the home front during the conflict. There are sights and areas to discover inside and outside, as well as a lot of fascinating history.

5. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Alcatraz Island is a notable landmark close to San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.

The cost per visit is $15 for adults (whose age is 16 years and over), while kids are free (whose age is 15 and under). It opens 24 hours a day.

It is only 2 miles from San Francisco, and it takes only 5 minutes to reach the destination. The activities prominent during the visit are two museums, two historical ships, and one library. Now the question from the pet owners is – Is it pet friendly? Yes, it is a pet-friendly park. Alcatraz Island is a nearby attraction.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park offers a historical experience. You can examine historical ships from various eras in the park and also discover the fascinating past at the museum.

As you board each of these vessels and observe them at the docks, relive a different era and feel the past standing tall before you.

6. John Muir National Historic Site

Visiting the John Muir National Historic Site is free as there are no entry fees. The entry of the visitors starts at 10 a.m., and the gates close for the visitors at 5 p.m. Distance from the San Francisco is 32 miles, and it takes a short and smooth ride of 36 min from San Francisco to reach this beautiful and glorious historic site.

Activities you can enjoy in the park includes hiking and historical attraction; meanwhile, your pets are also allowed to enjoy with you as the park is entirely pet friendly.

John Muir National Historic Site gives insight into one of America’s most popular conservationists. Famous sites like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon were made safer thanks largely to Muir. Nearby attractions include Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concorde.

You can explore his home and where he took hikes with his daughters.

National Parks far from San Francisco

Now we will discuss six more national parks, but the following parks require more of a planned trip from downtown San Francisco as they have located some distance from San Francisco, Ca. However, these beautiful national parks are worth the trip!

7. Redwood National Park

Some of the largest and oldest trees in the world can be found in the Redwood National Forest. Redwood national park is free of cost to visit. It is an always-open park, while the tourist center and campground have varying hours of operation.

It is a quiet distance from Downtown San Francisco and takes a good amount of time to reach there. It is 311 miles and takes 5.5 hours to get there, but you won’t regret it once you reach there as it has a majestic view of old historic trees. Drive, bike, stroll through the beautiful forests, or go camping.

Accepts Pets? Yes, it takes pets. Nearby Attractions include Crater Lake and Oregon Caves.

By: Maria Jose Oyarzun/ Unsplash Copyright 2022

It’s a gorgeous and interesting woodland to explore in Redwood National Park. To see some of the oldest and largest trees in the world, you can drive, bike, or walk through the forest.

There are excellent camping possibilities and fantastic adjacent national parks as well if you intend to remain for a longer period.

 8. Lassen Volcanic National Park

One of the many stunning sights in Lassen Volcanic National Park is the volcanoes. It is counted in some of the great national parks. It costs $30 for a seven-day pass, and in the winter, it’s $10, and on some holidays, it’s free.

Summer offers full access to activities and services every day. It is 235 miles, i.e., 4 hours drive from downtown San Francisco. More activities include hiking trails, boating, fishing, skiing, and sightseeing. Now the question is it pet-friendly?

The answer is yes; it is pet-friendly. Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is a nearby attraction.

One of the major attractions in Lassen Volcanic National Park is the volcanoes. While skiing and other snow sports are excellent in the winter, hiking and fishing are perfect in the summer. Some of the nicest sights in the nation may be found in this park.

9. Pinnacles National Park

A range of unusual landscapes is available for exploration in Pinnacles National Park. Entrance fees for bikes and cars are $15 and $30, respectively, and passes are valid for seven days only. While trails are accessible 24 hours a day, not all buildings and services are.

It is 123 miles (2 hours) from downtown San Francisco; activities include bird watching, hiking, rock climbing, cave exploration, and camping, and yes, it is pet friendly. Bear Gulch Reservoir is one of the most visited nearby attractions.

A trip to Pinnacles National Park is interesting because of its various distinctive sceneries. It takes an entire day to enjoy this park. With so many outdoor pursuits available, Pinnacles will keep you occupied and amused. You can choose hiking, rock climbing, visiting volcanic caverns, and more.

10. Sequoia National Park

From mountains to caverns, Sequoia National Park offers a variety of opportunities for exploration.

The trip costs $35 with a car and $20 for entry by foot or bicycle. The hours of operation? It is open round the clock.

National Park
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It is at a distance of 275 miles and takes 5 hours from San Francisco to reach the national park. You can also enjoy cave exploration, horseback riding, hiking, wildlife viewing, and rock climbing.

Is it pet friendly? Yes, you can take your pets with you. The Devil’s Postpile, the Manzanar National Historic Site, and the Sierra National Forest are nearby attractions during your visit.

Visit Sequoia National Park to see redwoods, mountains, canyons, and caverns. Sequoia National Park offers enough entertainment and exploration for a week.

There is a lot to see and discover whether you are traveling for a day trip or a weekend getaway, from caves to mountains.

 11. King’s Canyon National Park

Hiking in King’s Canyon is a stunning experience. The entry cost is $35 for a car and $20 for entry by foot or bicycle. It is open 24 hours a day, and King’s Canyon national park’s distance is 245 miles from downtown San Francisco. It takes 4.5 hours from downtown San Francisco to reach there.

Other activities include hiking, cave exploration, and rock climbing. Are pets allowed in the park? Yes, pets can accompany you in the exploration. Inyo National Forest and Mojave National Preserve are nearby attractions that are must-visit places meanwhile you trip.

King’s Canyon provides stunning trekking opportunities. You’ll also get to observe some of California’s wildlife, including cougars, bears, and rattlesnakes.

 12. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is one of the most well-known and best national parks. Yosemite lives up to its reputation with a week’s worth of activities and sights to visit. This sizable national park can get as close to nature as you like. A trip to Yosemite lives up to its reputation with views like this.

When is it open? It is open 24 hours a day and costs $35 for a vehicle pass and $20 for a pedestrian or bicycle pass. It is 167 miles away and takes 4 hours by car from downtown San Francisco to reach the national park.

Yosemite national park, San Francisco
By: Madhu Shesharam/ Unsplash Copyright 2022

Activities include tours, camping, hiking, bicycling, bird viewing, horseback riding, fishing, rock climbing, stargazing, skiing, and boating which you can do along with the trip, and your pets can also accompany you on your trip as the park is pet friendly.

Other national park sites include Bass Lake, a Variety of wineries, Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad / Thornberry Museum.

So, there you go, the perfect list of national parks to visit.

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