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Best Pacific coastline views without a car

London
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Best Pacific coastline views without a car

Thanks so much for everyone's input on my questions below. Based on the advice receieved, we have revised our plans down to spend much more time in San Francisco rather than trying to fit EVERYTHING in in one visit!

We figure (at the moment!) that the Wednesday we arrive we just wander about in the afternoon, maybe jump on a hop on hop off bus to get our bearings. We'll then spend all day Thursday exploring the city either by an organised tour such as Dylan's, or again the hop on hop off bus. Friday is the day we originally planned to do the Monterey / Carmel organised tour but we are thinking this may be a bit too tiring now. Does anyone have any opinions on the best way to get Pacific Coastline views, that's not too far away from the city and without using a car / relying on local transportation / organised tours? Would a wine tour be a better idea? Forgive my ignorance if my geography is off!!!

Saturday we plan to visit the Farmer's market and the pier areas, maybe a bit of shopping / bay cruise / cable cars etc - whatever we feel drawn to. The same applies to Sunday before we fly home early eve. As you can see, we've dropped our plan to visit alcatraz this time round as with everything else we want to do, i think it will be too tiring / cold for me - i'll just have to come back won't i?!!!

Thanks in advance for any advice on the views... i've never seen the Pacific Ocean and just want to make the best of the rugged coastline while i'm here!

Bloomington, Indiana
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1. Re: Best Pacific coastline views without a car

The easiest one(s) to get to the Pacific, but not the most scenic options, will be those in SF proper. You can reach Ocean Beach and areas nearby very easily on MUNI and/or by walking west in Golden Gate Park.

The N-Judah will take you from any of the downtown MUNI stations to almost to the Pacific (a couple blocks south of GG Park). The coast running from the north side of the park to the zoo is fairly flat, not much elevation in general, nor much elevation change (but lots of flat beach).

As you move north from the Park you start getting some elevation. You can either walk up or, if you prefer to start on the higher elevation, you can take the 38 Geary from downtown and it will drop you just short of the Cliff House (at Sutro Heights Park).

That's all I have time for right now,

hlo

Berkeley, Ca.
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2. Re: Best Pacific coastline views without a car

It's a good question. Huntlaw has given you the most straightforward way to get to the ocean. If you want a really scenic spot that takes a little more adventuring, you can head out to Fort Funston. Fort Funston is a scenic bluff overlooking the ocean in the southwest corner of San Francisco, a favored spot for hang gliders.

There's a couple of different ways to get there, so you probably should look at the Bay Area's transit trip planner www.511.org (which could be pretty useful for all sorts of trips). One route is to take the M Oceanview light rail (get it in the Market St. stations, just like the N) to 19th & Winston, above ground, adjacent to the Stonestown shopping center. From there, you'd take the 18 bus to the intersection of Skyline Blvd. & John Muir Dr. That's about a 10 minute drive and the stop is within parkland, ask the driver to let you know when you've gotten there.

From there, I believe there's a trail into Fort Funston (which is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area) near the stop. Otherwise, you can walk ahead along Skyline Blvd. about 10 minutes and you'll reach the entrance to Fort Funston.

There are some lovely views of the ocean in Marin County, along Stinson Beach, and south of San Francisco in Pacifica. But those would take longer transit rides, so I'm going to skip them.

Berkeley, California
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3. Re: Best Pacific coastline views without a car

Two great options are listed above. Conveniently the Pacific Ocean is just right here, so you do not have to go far.

Are you visiting on a Sunday? If so, I encourage you to consider taking Muni's 76 line to Marin Headlands. The 76, which picks up in Union Square and along Lombard Street, operates hourly on Sundays only to the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands. It's a beautiful ride, and the bus line terminates right at the beach.

If none of these options work for you, your next easiest bet is to go to Pacifica. You would take BART to Daly City or Colma and transfer to SamTrans. Let us know if you want specifics. I'll point out my own bias here by saying I don't think Pacifica is that nice of a beach. (Hopefully Simba doesn't read that!)

London
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4. Re: Best Pacific coastline views without a car

Once again, thanks for the helpful replies. So, it seems that Ocean Beach / the area near GG Park / Cliffe House could provide some good views (can you look at the views from Cliffe House or is it just a restaurant bar - it sounds great??) or Fort Funston / deeper into Marin County if feeling more adventurous!

In answer to your question Davdaven, we are there for part of the Sunday although this will be mid March and we have to catch our flight early eve. Would the bus be running that time of year and how long does the drive take / are the return services reliable as we obviously can't miss our flight that eve!! It sounds a lovely trip otherwise.

In terms of Marin County, would one of the trips to Muir Woods or heading towards Sonoma / Napa on an organised Wine Trip provide any good coastline views? Just trying to get as much info as possible before making our decisions on what we can / can't do. Again, thanks so much :0)

San Jose, California
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5. Re: Best Pacific coastline views without a car

"In terms of Marin County, would one of the trips to Muir Woods or heading towards Sonoma / Napa on an organised Wine Trip provide any good coastline views?"

Probably not, other than a short bit crossing the Golden gate. after that you won't be able to see the ocean, if they take the most direct route. Napa / Sonoma are inland. Take look at Google maps, search "Muir woods, CA" then zoom out a little to see where you are.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Best Pacific coastline views without a car

Lands End (i.e. Cliff House/Sutro Baths) - excellent view. Easy to get to.

You don't need to actually get into Cliff House. it is just a restaurant and gift shop. The view is everywhere. I enjoy natural environement around the Sutro Baths ruin a lot more.

From there you can take a short hike to Legion of Honor to see many beautiful visitas.Or you can press on to Baker Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge, where you can experience the rugged coast even more. It should take 2-3 hours with some steep climb.

Berkeley, California
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7. Re: Best Pacific coastline views without a car

The 76 runs year-round. The map and schedule are posted online. Go to http://www.sfmta.com and type the route number into the box on the right-hand side of the page. It may or may not work for you depending on how early you want/need to be at the airport.

Pacifica, California
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8. Re: Best Pacific coastline views without a car

"...I'll point out my own bias here by saying I don't think Pacifica is that nice of a beach. (Hopefully Simba doesn't read that!)"

Yeah, well Berkeley is full of smelly hippies.

(Pacifica is full of smelly hippies, too.)

The best ocean views in Pacifica would probably be from the top of Mori's Point, but it's a pretty strenuous walk.

Edited: 08 February 2011, 03:29
Berkeley, Ca.
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9. Re: Best Pacific coastline views without a car

I wish Berkeley were still full of smelly hippies, it would be a more interesting place, but they've pretty much vanished. Maybe some of them decided to live a quieter life in Pacifica.

Berkeley, California
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10. Re: Best Pacific coastline views without a car

If only. This town is mostly pretentious ex-hippies these days. Some of them still smell kind of funky, though. ;)

Actually, even though I think the beach itself is kind of crappy (is my Southern California upbringing showing??), I think Pacifica is attractive enough. I'm going to make a mental note of Mori's Point for the next time I head that direction. Thanks!

Edited: 08 February 2011, 07:01