Home cheapfreesf Golden Gate Bridge, Park, and Best Beaches: My driving loop for north-central San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, Park, and Best Beaches: My driving loop for north-central San Francisco

by Shelly Rivoli

Want to venture beyond Fisherman’s Wharf and the cable cars on your family’s vacation to San Francisco?

Here is a map I put together of a driving tour “loop” you can do with your family if you’d like to see the beautiful beach at Crissy Field I posted about over the weekend, and some other scenic and fun sights in north-central San Francisco, including two favorite parts of Golden Gate Park.

You can start at whichever of these points is most convenient and travel counter-clockwise, though my directions begin at the Palace of Fine Arts and Exploratorium (the picnic table and yellow building icons at 1 o’clock) and end at the original Mel’s Drive-In restaurant for dinner (where Katherine Hepburn orders the Oregon Blackberry shake in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” and the set inspiration for American Graffiti).

View Travels with Baby: North San Francisco Loop in a larger map

On this self-drive tour:
1. Palace of Fine Arts
2. Exploratorium
3. Crissy Field Picnic Area and Beach – Bayside
4. Golden Gate Bridge Overlook (camera)
5. Baker Beach – Pacific side
6. Stowe Lake with Boat and Bike Rentals – Golden Gate Park
7. Conservatory of Flowers and lawn
8. Mel’s Original Drive-In diner (hamburger and shake, of course)
Click here to get the larger map with driving directions between points.

Click here for more tips and recommendations for your San Francisco family vacation.

Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli
Author of Travels with Baby and the new Take-Along Travels with Baby https://travelswithbaby.com/    Travels with Baby on Facebook

All content of this blog (c) Shelly Rivoli 2007 – 2011

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Deniz February 9, 2012 - 6:55 am

Hi, I liked your blog so much! As a couple we have travelled a lot until a year ago – been to SF twice. Now we have a 7 month old baby, want to start again travelling. We’re in London, and Europe is very convenient for us. In May we’re going to SF for 10 days, and in the city the restaurants & cafes are child-friendly? What about jat-lag for the baby & what can we do during 11hrs direct flight? Thanks!

Shelly Rivoli February 9, 2012 - 9:31 am

So many questions! 😉 I have to say that although San Franciscans tend to be friendly, most downtown restaurants and cafes are not exactly child-friendly, and many are quite cramped inside, which can make it tricky to use high chairs or fit a stroller though it is possible. Outdoor cafes where you can park your travel stroller (there’s one right in Union Square) can be a good strategy, also picnicking on the beaches and in the parks, especially Golden Gate Park. Though the neighborhoods have smaller-size cafes and restaurants too, they are much more accustomed to serving the neighborhood bambini! As for the flight, jetlag, and sleep questions, the book is chock full of tips to help you there, and more tips are linked from http://www.travelswithbaby.com/planning/trip_planning.htm Have fun!

Clark Vandeventer September 19, 2011 - 3:26 pm

Thanks for this post. My wife and I used to spend a lot of time in San Francisco before we had kids. We'd spend 3 or 4 long weekends there a year. We took one trip there when our oldest was an infant but have not been since then. But I was recently thinking about what a great city San Francisco would be for kids. Hoping to take the whole family at Christmastime. Thanks again!

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