San Francisco, CA

Five Beautiful Scenic Spots in the Bay Area

Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith/Gado Images

The Bay Area is full of everyday beauty. Redwood trees, wildlife, and the constant presence of the Bay and landmarks like Mount Diablo make this a uniquely beautiful place to live.

If you're looking for a spot to take some great photos (assuming there's no wildfire smoke), go for a hike, or show off the region's beauty to an out of town guest, check out these five beautiful scenic spots around the Bay Area.

Again, it's easy to find everyday beauty living here, but these spots take it over the top.

Inspiration Point

Located high in the hills in Tilden Regional Park, Inspiration Point is a hiking trail and scenic overlook with breathtaking views of the East Bay. From a parking lot on Wildcat Canyon Road, you can hike for miles along a ridge with views of the Bay and San Francisco beyond. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Ferry Building and Embarcadero

The Ferry Building is located right on the water, so it’s picturesque enough as is, but since it also anchors the Embarcadero Center, the Ferry Building is a major meeting point for people going to work, heading to lunch, or just taking a stroll in a lovely bayside setting. It's also a great place for people watching, and has striking views of the Bay Bridge, especially at night. If you're looking for a scenic place to take an out of town guest, this is it.

Hiking the Bay Area Ridge Trail

The Bay Area Ridge Trail is a long-term project to create a trail that encircles the Bay Area. The trail is still being built, but already there are many beautiful spots you can check out. At the moment, the trail extends for almost 400 miles. The organization behind the trail recommends a variety of curated experiences and spots to visit, including several which highlight local wildflowers.

Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach is located along the coast just north of San Francisco. It's a popular spot for camping, hiking, and, of course, relaxing on the beach. Stinson feels secluded and remote, even though it’s often brimming with visitors, especially on busy weekends. Check out Parkside Snack Bar near the beach for a tasty ice cream or burger.

The Marin Headlands

The Marin Headlands are located just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. They’re remote and rugged, and feature iconic views of the Golden Gate and the Pacific Ocean below. You can cross the bridge by car or on a bike and take a quick peek at the headlands, or bicycle further in to find more remote, secluded, dramatic spots.

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Thomas Smith is an award winning entrepreneur, and the co-founder and CEO of Gado Images. Thomas writes, speaks and consults about artificial intelligence, privacy, food, photography, tech, and the San Francisco Bay Area. As a professional photographer, Thomas' photographic work regularly appears in publications worldwide. Pitches/news tips:

Lafayette, CA

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