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Best Water Sports in San Francisco

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Lessons, sales and rentals are just on the other end of the Golden Gate Bridge. A one-day intensive class in the Sausalito facility prepares beginning divers for a two-day diving lesson in a cove on the beautiful Sonoma Coast (with a bed & breakfast stay and fresh abalone banquet arranged by the school). Harbor Dive also offers sea kayak rentals, sales, and lessons in San Francisco Bay.

The University of Surfing offers year-round surf lessons from Pacifica State Beach, also called Linda Mar Beach. Lessons range from private one-on-one lessons, surf camps, group 101 beginner sessions, yoga and surf combinations, family sessions, and a unique surfing fitness program. The Surf 101 course is one of the most popular, and has the goal of getting beginner surfers out in the water in under an hour, or at least after the first or second lesson. The instructors are good at their job, and are usually able to meet the goal. Note that all the lessons meet at the beach’s south parking lot.

Founded in the year 1939, the Golden Gate Yacht Club has been a constant dwelling for all those interested in water sports. Since its inception, the place has become a home for ORACLE Racing. Golden Gate Yacht Club or GGYC as the club is also called, organizes several cruise trips and also offers leisure sailing. The club also has meeting or banquet halls on its premises, overlooking the beautiful waters where the members can conduct meetings and conferences. They also organize several boat parties and functions regularly.

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.

This sea-kayaking outfitter rents sit-on-top and sea-touring kayaks, stand-up paddle-boards, and canoes by the hour or day out of Pier 40. Rentals include brief lessons, life jackets, dry bags, jackets, and splash pants. Popular routes from the pier include visits to McCovey Cove and Alcatraz Island. City Kayak also offers guided trips, teaching everything from basics to how to roll a kayak upright. Please note that City Kayak’s opening and closing hours vary depending on the season, and, although the office closes at 5p, the last kayaks of the day go out at 3p.

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.

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.

Kite 415 is a certified kiteboarding center that provides individually tailored, one-on-one kiteboarding and kitesurfing lessons for students of all levels. The center, which is one of three in the Bay Area, also has a lot of kitesurfing gear for sale, and offers professional kite repair. Visitors who are not quite ready for the waves and turns of kitesurfing can rent stand-up paddleboards. Kite 415 is the only IKO certified kiteboarding center in the region.

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