The Presidio of San Francisco is one of the most iconic areas of not just California but also of the entire United States. For more than 200 years, the area has served as a military post for three nations: Spain, Mexico, and the United States.
Outdoor lovers can hike on 12 different interconnecting trails that travel through forests and beaches or set up for a picnic and enjoy scenic views. History buffs can visit historic Fort Point and the Presidio Officers’ Club which now serves as a museum and cultural center.
Birdwatchers can spend an eventful day at Crissy Marsh. The area is home to more than 100 species of birds, both local and migratory. The marsh is also home to 110 native species of plants. During the spring the area blooms with wildflowers.
The Presidio is open all day, every day of the year, and park entry is free. The visitor center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. The weather is typically cool, even in the summer months, so light jackets are recommended.
There are no RV camping options within the Presidio area. However, the San Francisco North/Petaluma KOA campgrounds are just under an hour’s drive away.
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RV Rentals in Presidio of San Francisco
Transportation in Presidio of San Francisco
The Presidio of San Francisco is the heart of San Francisco, California. Visitors can reach the area by car or by using the public transportation system and park shuttle.
The park offers the PresidiGo Shuttle as a free ride service to and around the Presidio area. There are three routes: one from Downtown San Francisco, one from the Presidio Hills area, and another from Crissy Field. The shuttle route visits more than 40 stops within the park.
Because of its urban setting, all roads within the area’s boundary are paved. However, some roads may be easier to navigate by RV or while towing a trailer than others.
Parking is available at various locations throughout the Presidio. Park only in designated areas, and do not park along roadways.
The area features 12 multi-use paved paths that are wheelchair accessible and open to those on foot and those on bike.
Biking is allowed on roads and trails. All bicyclists must wear a helmet.
Campgrounds and parking in Presidio of San Francisco
Campsites in Presidio of San Francisco
San Francisco North/Petaluma KOA
This campground features more than 250 RV camping sites with a full hookup, water and electric hookups, and no hookup sites all available. Each site includes a picnic table and fire ring with room to park your RV and any additional vehicles. Sites are either gravel or asphalt. The campground includes amenities like a playground, recreation hall, and restrooms with showers. Pets are allowed.
Seasonal activities in Presidio of San Francisco
Crissy Marsh is one of the most popular attractions in the area. The area is formed by the meeting of the Presidio’s largest fresh watershed and the salt waters of the San Francisco Bay. The marsh is home to more than 100 species of birds, both local and migratory. You’ll most likely see eager birdwatchers with their binoculars on your visit. The marsh is also home to 110 native species of plants. During the spring the area blooms with wildflowers.
Visit Fort Point
Fort Point has guarded the narrows of the Golden Gate area for more than 150 years. It was constructed during the California Gold Rush and has stood as an architectural witness to the Civil War, major earthquakes, the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, and World War II. In 1970, the fort was made a National Historic Site. Visitors can participate in guided tours by rangers and docents. The fort also frequently puts on Living History Days for guests to experience what life was like at the fort during the Civil War period.
Hiking and Biking
The Presidio is home to an extensive trail system of 12 major trails. All trails are open to walkers and bikers. One of the most popular trails is the Golden Gate Promenade/Bay Trail. This multi-use trail connects the Marina district to the Golden Gate Bridge and winds along the shoreline of the San Francisco Bay.
History buffs will enjoy the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail which was the first established route for traveling overland to the San Francisco Bay. The pathway commemorates the journey of the Spanish military commander for which it is named. De Anza’s travels took him from Sonora, Mexico, to the Golden Gate, paving the way for the first colonial settlers in the Presidio.
Visit the Presidio Officers’ Club
The Presidio Officers’ Club is popularly known as San Francisco’s most historic building. The building was built in 1776 as a retreat for Spanish military officers. During the 20th century, it served the same purpose but this time for American Army officers and their families. Today, the club is a public museum, cultural center, and Mexican restaurant. The museum is free and open to the public. The building also hosts free musical and dance performances and hands-on craft days for the community.
When it comes to picnicking at the Presidio, the possibilities are endless. Popular picnic spots include East Beach and the West Bluff. These areas have tables and benches available for use as well as food and restrooms. Additional picnic areas can be found at Baker Beach, El Polin Spring, Pershing Square, and the Immigrant Point Overlook. Guests can also feel free to bring a blanket and set up for a snack anywhere in the park.
Visit the Visitor Center
The Presidio boasts a state of the art visitor center full of information and history that welcomes guests to the area. Hands on exhibits, video presentations, and an in-house collection of cultural artifacts teach guests about the area and the unique features the Presidio has to offer. The Presidio is open all day, every day of the year, and park entry is free. The visitor center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.