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Best Water Attractions in San Francisco

By: Cityseeker
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Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf remains one of San Francisco's most popular tourist destinations. The Wharf consists of a long, waterfront row of seafood restaurants, street vendors, souvenir stores and beautiful ocean scenery. Fisherman's Wharf was originally a major fishing pier, and although San Francisco fishing industry is alive and well, it mainly appeals to the masses as a tourist sight. Some of the wharf's main attractions include Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, Musee Mecanique and Madame Tussauds among many others. The wharf's shores are beautified by the presence of the majestic Balao-class submarine USS Pampanito. Parking is limited on the wharf itself so parking downtown would be highly recommended.

Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94133
Aquarium of the Bay

Aquarium of the Bay is a unique nature center and the only Aquarium dedicated to animals of the San Francisco Bay and neighboring waters. The Aquarium gives visitors the opportunity to feel like a skin diver without getting wet as they walk through the Aquarium's crystal clear tunnels, while more than 20,000 sharks, bat rays, skates, octopi and other aquatic animals swim around. With daily and special activities including behind the scenes tours, shark feeding presentations, a water discovery lab for underwater detectives and much more; there is truly something for everyone to see, touch, discover and learn at Aquarium of the Bay.

The Embarcadero and Beach Street, Pier 39, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94133
Blue & Gold Fleet

Blue & Gold Fleet is one of the most popular ferry services in the Bay Area, serving thousands of tourists and locals each year. Turn to them for a cruise around the San Francisco Bay, a trip to Alcatraz Island, or transportation to an amusement park in Vallejo. Some other tours offered go to attractions like Yosemite, Monterey, Carmel, the wine country, Angel Island, Muir Woods, Tiburon and Sausalito.

Pier 41, The Embarcadero at Beach Street, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94133
USS Pampanito (SS-383)

The U.S.S Pampanito, a fleet submarine in World War II, was made open to the public in 1982. It is famous for its six patrols in the Pacific ocean and for sinking six Japanese ships and damaging four others. This ship seems quite interesting and exciting as you get a opportunity to check everything yourself. You can take a look at the main deck, the engine, the motor rooms and the control rooms. It's a real experience to observe the life of officers and seamen and that too, at a reasonable fee.

Fishermans Wharf, Pier 45, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94133
Steinhart Aquarium

Get close to your favorite sea creatures and also some of the deadliest snakes. This aquarium in the revamped Academy of Sciences showcases piranhas, pythons, pipefish, penguins, moray eels and snakes. The Philippine Coral Reef Exhibit will have you marveling at the rainbow of tropical fish. At the Touch Tide Pool you can touch sea stars and hermit crabs. The newest addition includes the Snake Alley, which displays anacondas, African rock pythons, California king snakes and the Ball python. If you are studying biology, this is a good place to meet the aquatic biologists who look after and feed the animals.

55 Music Concourse Drive, California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94118
Stow Lake

Inside San Francisco's famous Golden Gate Park lies Stow Lake, a small recreation area complete with waterfall. Here you can rent paddle-boats, have a picnic, or just feed the ducks. Those who would rather remain on land can rent bikes and roller blades. Ride or skate through Golden Gate Park, then afterward stop by the concession stand for popcorn, hot dogs, and ice cream. Stow Lake is an ideal place to go to for a fun family day out of a romantic day date.

50 Stow Lake Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94118
Baker Beach

Located to the south of Golden Gate Point, this half-mile-long beach is one of the most popular attractions of the Presidio of San Francisco. There is much to do here, and the beach serves as an ideal destination for families and couples alike. Frolic on the golden sands which characterize the beach's expanse, go for a stroll along the waterfront or bask in the picturesque sights which abound here. Soak in the view of the Golden Gate Bridge in all its glory, or settle down for a picnic with loved ones. Those looking to explore the area can hike along the trails originating at the beach.

Battery Chamberlin Road, Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94129
Ocean Beach

Located at the western end of Golden Gate Park is San Francisco's biggest beach. It extends from Fort Funston in the south, to the Cliff House in the north. Typically, the cold winds, fog and low San Francisco temperatures deter any regular beach activities (unless you're lucky enough to be there on a hot day) but visitors fly kites or just walk along and admire the views of Seal Rocks and Point Lobos. Adventure seekers love surfing here. There are also bonfire pits provided on the beach for the general public; to claim one, go early in the evening.

Point Lobos Avenue/Great Highway, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94121
Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach makes for a fantastic day trip, located just about 20 miles (32.18 kilometers) from San Francisco proper. The small town, connecting Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, features glorious sandy beaches and a big shiny, blue piece of the Pacific Ocean. Summers and other pleasant days find Stinson Beach busy with locals as well as tourists relaxing, picnicking and enjoying the beach in general - it is, in fact, one of the highest ranked swimming beaches in Northern California. Featuring panoramic views, hiking trails, fishing facilities, picnic areas, swimming facilities and lots more, Stinson Beach truly has a lot to offer.

Stinson Beach, Stinson Beach, CA, United States, 94970
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