3 Bay Area Spots That Will Absolutely Blow You Away - All Less Than A Few Hours From San Francisco!
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
– Jawaharlal Nehru–(Indian Prime Minister. 1889-1964)
Shark Fin Cove, CA
Nestled up on the pacific shoreline right off Highway 1, in the small town of Davenport, lies a hidden gem called Shark Fin Cove. The coastline is quite high here, so you can’t see this spot from the road, which helps keep it a little less traveled. There is a steep descend down the cliffside, but still kid-friendly (take it slow and pack light).
Once you hit the soft sand, you’ll see the massive shark fin shaped rock in the ocean with a wave carved tunnel arch sitting to the left side. Once you get closer to the water, you’ll see a nice bend to the right exposing a small beach cove with plenty of room to chill out and soak up the sun.
Photo Credit: Steve Dunleavy
If you’re feeling adventurous, there is a decent sized rock formation to dive off into deep water. The waves can be choppy at times, so use your own judgment. You can absolutely surf here and skimboard, but the beach is quite small so prepare to share some waves. This is my go-to spot for a relaxed beach day with friends. It’s only 1.5 hours south of San Francisco, making it the perfect beach getaway to escape from the city. Just make sure you stop at the Pacifica Taco Bell on the way down from San Francisco. There’s nothing better than a Taco right on the beach. Guaranteed good times.
Cataract Falls, CA
Prepare to immerse yourself in a magical climb surrounded by lush green and roaring waterfalls at Cataract Falls, which is part of the Mt Tamalpais watershed. California has experienced a record amount of rainfall recently, which has ended the severe drought and brought new life into this popular hiking spot. The water is raging and the plant-life is thriving. If you’re coming from San Francisco, the epic drive passes through the beautiful Muir woods while overlooking Stinson beach.
Photo Credit: Lisa Fiedler
Once you’ve arrived, you can either start at the bottom of the trailhead or above the final waterfall near the coast. It’s a solid 2.4-mile hike from top to bottom and it's not a walk in the park. Expect tons of stairs to climb, sore legs and a stupid smile. The hike has numerous falls all cascading over massive boulders right alongside the trail. There are a few bridges on the trail that cross the watershed, making for awesome photo opportunities. However, keep it short, unplug from your phone, and enjoy the scenery. The rushing sound of water is quite noticeable and calming.
You can find plenty of spots near the falls to take a rest and snack with friends. Find your peace.
Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, CAPhoto Credit: DumpTurbo
Don’t let this lesser known park in the East Bay pass you by. Wildcat Canyon rolling bluffs and views provide the perfect escape. Located within the city limits of Richmond, this regional park offers less traveled trails with vast open space and friendly cows (yes cows grazing upon the hillside) to enjoy the view with.
Photo Credit: John Pool
The rolling hills of green are filled with wild flowers and tree groves. This is the perfect park for a lazy day picnic or trail running with your pup. Wildcat Canyon offers 25 miles of trails, so you can make the experience level suit your needs. You’ll find plenty of horseback riders and mountain bikers on nice weekends, but the park is never crowded because of the sheer size. I ride here frequently and have a blast bombing the 2 dirt track trails. It might not have epic waterfalls or deep blue waters, but it’s an awesome regional park with something for everyone.