In San Francisco, GGNRA lands wrap the shoreline almost all the way from Fort Mason in the north to Fort Funston in the south, with a few breaks along the way. Dogs and their people can enjoy miles-long leashed walks with ocean views and, at a few places, unclip their canine companions to chase the surf and run free.
Crissy Field: It’s always a dogapalooza at this former military airfield near Fort Mason. Dogs are allowed to romp off-leash in certain areas, but be sure to check signage before unclipping. The main trail (leash required) hugs the shoreline for miles.
Ocean Beach: Windy, wild and always exhilarating, Ocean Beach, where Golden Gate Park meets the Pacific, is the longest expanse of sand on San Francisco’s shore. Canine companions are welcome on leash or under voice control — but be super-observant, as the beach fronts a busy road and the strand is shared by surfers, kite flyers, anglers and gawkers.
Fort Funston: This wave-crashed strand at an untamed stretch of the “outside lands” is extremely popular with locals willing to negotiate the steep trails leading to the sand. Your dog can run free in designated areas, but do bring a leash and prepare to clip up in the vicinity of horses, hang-gliders and others who share the space. Bring a jacket, too, as it’s always blustery here.
Lands End Trail: This shore-hugging path should rank high on everyone’s San Francisco bucket list. It takes in million-dollar views (as well as a great deal of history) on its 2-mile run from the parking lot at Point Lobos Avenue and El Camino Del Mar to the Eagle Point overlook, which makes a natural turnaround point.
The Presidio: This serene and historic 1,500-acre preserve served as a military post for 140 years before being decommissioned and turned over to the park service. Its upper reaches are laced with 24 miles of dog-friendly trails winding through diverse scenery. Favorites include the 1.4-mile Ecology Trail, the 2.5-mile Presidio section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail and the 2.5-mile Mountain Lake Trail.
Photo Credit: gastondog (CC)