The America’s Cup sailing showdown comes to San Francisco this summer and fall, and there’s no reason you and your four-legged friend can’t share the excitement sure to be generated by those high-tech yachts hydroplaning around the bay. They’ll be visible from many vantage points; if you can see the bay, you can watch the races live (although you’ll get better interpretation on TV).
Crissy Field, one of San Francisco’s most cherished dog-friendly places, may be inundated by crowds for a few hours on race days, but the rest of the time, Fido can romp off-leash along designated areas of the shoreline. You both can enjoy a scenic stroll along the Golden Gate Promenade, which stretches 4.3 miles along the waterfront from Crissy Field to the Golden Gate Bridge. While dogs aren’t allowed on the iconic span itself, you’ll enjoy great views, yachts or no yachts, from the newly revamped visitor center featuring five acres of gardens and plenty of vantage points for photo ops.
On the city’s southwest coast, far out of sight of the America’s Cup course and crowds, Fort Funston, a former military air installation, is a recreation area with dunes, trails and a shoreline where dogs on leash or under strict voice control share the territory with hang-gliders, equestrians, birders and families. This is what most of the “outside lands” looked like before similar dunes were leveled to build Golden Gate Park and attract housing to what is now the Sunset district. Some call this the best off-leash area in the state. We call it doggie heaven! Like Crissy Field, it’s part of the 4,700-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which extends across the bridge to the Marin Headlands and more off-leash beach-romp possibilities at Muir Beach and Rodeo Lagoon.
The National Park Service is reviewing its dog management plan and considering a substantial reduction in acreage open to canines, so enjoy this rare urban freedom while you can.