One of the things I love most about living in San Francisco is the ability to jump in the car and drive to some of the most beautiful places in the world. From the giant Redwoods of Muir Woods, to the sleepy beach towns of Highway 1, there are endless places to explore just a stone’s throw away from the city. Though we don’t own a car, you’ll often find us hiring one most weekends to check out the best the Bay Area has to offer.
My first Bay Area Roadtrips blog starts with an excursion just out of the city that might feel a little touristy, but is worth every second for that San Francisco money shot. Though you can walk, jog and cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge or even get snapping from the roof of a hop-on, hop-off bus, my favourite way to take in this magnificent sight is by driving up to Battery Spencer, landing you almost at the top of the bridge, with a million dollar view.
From the city, take the US 101 N over the bridge (but hold the cameras for now!) and take Exit 442 for Alexander Ave. From here you’ll turn left for signs taking you back towards San Francisco, but just before you hit the bridge make a quick right for Conzelman Rd towards Battery Spencer. As you drive up the hill, the bridge and city slowly emerge until you’re confronted with the whole bay, Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge in it’s full 1.7 mile beauty. Parking here is tricky, so venture futher up the road for another parking lot, or take turns with a designated driver who can do loops of the circuit while you’re out taking pictures (though drivers, be careful not to accidentally end up ON the bridge, it’ll be a long loop back!)
My favourite time to visit is just before sunset when the sun hits the bridge and turns it into a fiery red, while the bay and ocean glisten below. Though I come from the city of the most beautiful bridge and harbour in the world (hey there, Sydney!), this would have to be a very close second – there is nothing quite like seeing the hills of San Francisco behind the bridge, with Coit Tower to the left and Sutro Tower to the right.
Couple of tips before you get the car keys ready: it is always cold up the top of Battery Spencer. I don’t care if you were sweating in the city (highly unlikely!) or getting sunburnt in Napa, it will be windy and you’ll definitely be wishing you packed a jacket! Secondly, it ain’t a San Francisco summer without Karl the Fog rolling in, so if you’re visiting between June – August, plan your trip between the hours of 12-4pm, when the morning fog has burnt off and the evening fog is yet to roll in.
What’s your favourite view point of the Golden Gate Bridge? I hope you enjoy mine!
Until my next Bay Area roadtrip,
P.S – Don’t have a car like us? We use Getaround – a great car sharing app that let’s you rent cars from as little as $7 an hour. That’s right, you could drive over the bridge, up to Battery Spencer and back again for under $15! If you’re a first time user, sign up with my code to receive $20 off your first ride (making this Bay Area Roadtrip totally free!)