Hike Bike Berry Creek Falls - Bocce in SF - BBQ in the Presidio


Our Summer Now

Here's to the warm weeks of September and October. Time to slip on your shorts and head out for a weekend of adventure and relaxation.

Bike Ride to Berry Creek Falls in Big Basin State Park

Berry Creek Falls Bike-Hike

A favorite of many hikers is the 11-mile round-trip Skyline-to-the-Sea hike from Waddell Beach to Berry Creek Falls in Santa Cruz County's Big Basin Redwoods State Park. We concur, but add this: Try biking it. This easy ride on mostly wide terrain begins at the Skyline to the Sea trailhead at Waddell Beach, on Highway 1. From there it's four miles of redwood-shaded fire road and a few bridges over the calm waters of Waddell Creek. Park and lock your bike at the rack marking the trail's final mile, and hike the rest of the way to Berry Creek Falls. Bonus: Continue the hike another mile up from Berry Creek Falls and you'll get to Silver Falls, a quiet place to stop and savor the solitude.

Drive about 30 miles south of Half Moon Bay on Highway 1, past Año Nuevo State Reserve. Drive south about three more miles and look for the Big Basin Redwoods/Rancho del Oso Sign. Park on the west side of Highway 1. For more information click here.

TIP: Chill at Duarte's (that's DEW-arts) tavern in Pescadero; after more than 100 years the hospitality is still generous, prices are good, and the home-style cooking includes fresh halibut and mashed potatoes. Their pies are legendary and the original bar (since 1894) is cool too.

Duarte's Tavern, 202 Stage Rd., Pescadero; 650-879-0464.

Bocce by the Bay

Don't call it lawn bowling. Bocce is a venerable Italian game of skill in which two teams vie to see who can pitch balls closest to a smaller ball called a "jack." Traditionally it was played by guys resembling Tony Soprano's Uncle Junior. Today guys and gals alike enjoy its strategic (and sometimes cutthroat) maneuvers; payoff is the chance to scream "Bocce!" whenever your ball comes in contact with the jack. In San Francisco, you can roll your own in North Beach's Aquatic Park, which offers a splendid view of the Bay as well as the Bocce. Bring your own balls. Bonus: Bring a bottle of Chianti and your favorite antipasti. If you want to Bocce beyond the city, try Campo di Bocce in Los Gatos. More Information.

To get to Aquatic Park, go to the north end of Van Ness Ave. Park and look for the courts to the right of the parking lot.

Bright Lights, Big Barbecues

Summertime, and the grilling is gorgeous-but choice BBQ places in SF fill up by 10 a.m. Where to go? The Presidio's Rob Hill Campground offers a picnic-perfect setting for urban grillers. SF's only National Park overnight campground, Rob Hill offers a secluded barbecue/picnic area with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. In addition to grills and a fire pit, there's running water, bathrooms, a eucalyptus grove, places to hike, and plenty of room; the two sites at Rob Hill can each host up to 30 people. Bring the tri-tip, libations, and a Frisbee. Reservations and $65 fee required. Open until the end of October. Bonus: If the party goes late, pitch a tent and camp overnight under the city moon and stars.

Park at the corner of Harrison Blvd. and Central Magazine Rd. Rob Hill is just past the gate. More Information.

Alternative: The other little-known BBQ in the Presidio is El Polin Spring (which does not require a reservation but has no camping). More Information.

Parking is available for El Polin Spring at the end of MacArthur Ave.

Presidio map: http://www.nps.gov/prsf/planyourvisit/maps.htm

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