6 Water-Based Adventures in San Francisco

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It's officially fall and San Francisco's summer-like conditions are in full swing, with the highest temperatures of the year. And what's summer without a dip? Sure, it may be chilly, but it's the warmest the water will be all year, with temperatures in September and October averaging around 59-60 degrees. RootsRated gives you six fun ways to take the plunge.

1. Paddle under the Golden Gate Bridge.


To get a real feel for how the world feels at sea (lion) level in the San Francisco Bay, hop into a kayak and paddle under the world’s most famous bridge. Just make sure you’ve got the chops to navigate the marine traffic and seriously strong currents – if you’re a rookie paddler, going with an instructor is highly encouraged.

2. Perfect your yoga postures on a stand-up paddleboard.


The possibility of falling into chilly water is a good incentive to make sure your triangle pose is balanced. The hybrid of yoga and the hottest sport on water, Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP), is growing, thanks in part to the pioneering folks at OnBoardSUP . Based in Sausalito, the company offers regular floating yoga and fitness classes on paddleboards, which helps stabilize and strengthen muscles because of the constantly shifting water below.

3. Fly high on San Francisco Bay.

Kitesurfing San Francisco Bay
Kitesurfing San Francisco Bay Daniel Ramirez/Flickr

Kite surfing is one of the most thrilling ways to experience the bay. But with ship traffic, serious winds and strong currents, it’s not exactly the spot for rookies—take a lesson with Kite the Bay , a longtime kite surfing operator and instructor. If you prefer to watch the exhilarating action from the shore, Crissy Field is just the spot.

4. Take a chilly dip at Aquatic Park.

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Swap your yawn-inducing laps at the pool for a water-based workout that’s far more interesting: a swim at San Francisco’s Aquatic Park . If you’re a first-timer, you’ll need a wetsuit (and some beginner tips ) before working your way up to brag-worthy excursions to Alcatraz.

5. Catch a wave.

San Francisco surfing
San Francisco surfing Wonderlane/Flickr

From death-defying breaks like the Mavericks in Half Moon Bay, to the beginner-friendly conditions at Santa Cruz’s Cowell’s Cove, the Bay Area boasts an enviable array of surf spots. Two of the most popular spots near San Francisco itself, Fort Point and Ocean Beach, are for experienced surfers only. For the mere mortals among us, grabbing a pair of binoculars and watching the action from the beach is still a fun way to spend a sunny afternoon.

6. ** Boat old-school style in Golden Gate Park.**

Rowing at Stow Lake San Francisco
Rowing at Stow Lake San Francisco Michael Fraley/Flickr

Woo your sweetheart with a charming afternoon in a paddleboat—or a rowboat—on circular Stow Lake , which has been a favorite pastime in Golden Gate Park for more than a century. Glide under the stone bridges and keep an eye out for turtles. And don’t fret about falling overboard: these trusty vessels, which include a newly added fleet of pedal boats, are “the most non-tipping, self-bailing, unsinkable boats” available.

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