Historic Fort Baker shines with new purpose in the Golden Gate National Parks

V-Day in the Parks—For Everybody!

From Park E-ventures, February 2015

Here in the Golden Gate National Parks, we have park sites for everybody on Valentine’s Day. Our expert staff chose a few heart-warming places to spend the holiday—with your sweetie, with your buddies, with your puppy, or all by yourself.

The Perfect Valentine’s Day Park Outing….

With Your Lover

The picturesque beauty of Fort Baker (pictured above) makes this historic site—at the frilly-laced heart of the Golden Gate National Parks—a romantic’s delight. Stroll with your special someone amid charming Colonial Revival-style officers’ homes, marvel at the Golden Gate Bridge and the City skyline from sunset vista points around Horseshoe Bay, and climb the hills and Headlands for sweeping views as big as your love. Even if you aren’t able to land reservations at the award-winning Cavallo Point lodge or the acclaimed Murray Circle restaurant (be sure to plan ahead!), at least drop by the intimate Farley Bar; sink into a comfy leather chair with your main squeeze, and drink a toast to your everlasting passion for each other!

From Fort Baker, you can also drive or pedal into nearby Sausalito—once a fishing village and center for Prohibition-era rum runners, and now a delightful enclave of artists and houseboaters.

With Your Friends

Golden Gate Overlook

The Golden Gate Overlook (credit: Parks Conservancy)

If you don’t have a special someone to share Cupid’s favorite holiday, don’t throw yourself a pity party, buy black heart lollipops, or head to the nearest darts bar! Instead, grab a few of your awesome friends and enjoy a run (or stroll) on the scenic 2.5-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail in the Presidio. With nonstop views of Alcatraz and the San Francisco cityscape, it may be hard to continue your run (or focus on your single status), but soldier on as the views just keep getting better! Pause for a while when you get to the Pacific Overlook and just soak in the stunning views. The hike ends at the Golden Gate Overlook, with an impressive vista of the iconic span. Go ahead, watch the sunset—they’re not just for couples!

On your way back, stop at the new eatery—The Commissary—at the Main Post. This Spanish-inspired restaurant offers food by James Beard Award-winning chef Traci Des Jardins and is the perfect place to share delicious small plates with your comrades. Sitting at one of the communal tables, you might end up rubbing shoulders with that special someone! Or not.

With Your Dog

doggies
Dog Date at Fort Funston (credit: Ryan White)

For those spending Valentine’s Day with your four-legged canine companion, the sun-kissed sand dunes and expansive beach of Fort Funston make it the perfect place to spend the day. You and your pooch can camp out in the sand, soak in the shimmering sun, and spot surfers riding the crashing waves or hang gliders catching pockets of warm air in the distance. And who knows? You or your pup might make a connection with one of the many fellow dogs and dog owners who use this breathtaking park site.

Lonesome trail
Lonely Trail in the Phleger Estate

All By Your Lonesome

Befitting its status as the perfect V-Day site for shy guys and wallflowers, Phleger Estate is actually tucked away and hidden behind another park site! This 1,000-acre historic forest—the far-flung southernmost outpost of the Golden Gate National Parks—is accessed through the entrance to Huddart County Park. Logged during the 19th century, the area is especially popular now with equestrians. As you enjoy the serenity of Union Creek, the solemnity of the second-growth redwood trees, and the seclusion of Lonely Trail (yes, there is a Lonely Trail), you’ll have the contemplative space to count the blessings of your singlehood. In fact, you can count out loud. No one will be around to hear you.


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