Golden Gate

California

Golden Gate Bridge     Photo: Photodisc

A city park on a grand and wild scale, the 114-square-mile Golden Gate National Parks run up and down the coastline for about 60 miles near San Francisco, hopscotching around private land and incorporating several islands, including infamous Alcatraz.

Park Action
The recently completed, shoreside Crissy Field bike path begins in the Presidio and rolls across that iconic bridge to the Marin Headlands. Fat-tire riders should turn right there, following multiple dirt tracks along the ridgelines. Skinny-tire types can head left, up Conzelman Road to the 673-foot crest of Hawk Hill. Phenomenal views, serious workout. Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals and Tours, with five locations in the city, rents high-end road bikes ($48–$68 per day) and provides ferry tickets. blazingsaddles.com

Where to Stay
Opening this May on green, rippling parkland at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito is Cavallo Point: The Lodge at the Golden Gate. The staff is already organizing environmental conferences and programs, many in conjunction with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. The 142-room hotel's elegant physical plan incorporates restored 19th-century colonial revival buildings—with the tin ceilings, crown moldings, fireplaces, and wood floors intact. Suites, $300–$600; cavallopoint.com

Where to Eat
One-year-old Ubuntu Restaurant and Yoga Studio, in Napa, 50 miles from Cavallo Point, is the only place you can chase Cauliflower Three Ways in a Cast Iron Pot with a Yoga for Athletes class ($18 for drop-ins). The veggies are organic, primarily from the restaurant's gardens. ubuntunapa.com

Extra Credit
This fall, the California Academy of Sciences returns from temporary digs to its home in Golden Gate Park, massively expanded into a state-of-the-art $484 million architectural wonder. Almost two million plants will sprout on the living roof, and the charismatic penguins and 38,000 other museum animals will get spacious new exhibits, as will the big-nose unicornfish. calacademy.org

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