Or, you can make the journey through the Fort Mason area and into the Marina District -- and, if you're ambitious -- into the Presidio area as well.
It's a great place to stroll and to cool off on San Francisco's warmer days and to spot the endangered Snowy Plovers who scuttle along the shoreline. It's the aquatic playground of Dolphin Club members who brave the Bay's ice waters for their swims.
It's also home to San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, a treasure zone of San Francisco's maritime history and historic ships.
From Aquatic Park, you can walk through Fisherman's Wharf and along the Embarcadero waterfront toward the San Francisco Ferry Building.
The new de Young Museum, San Francisco’s fine arts icon, opened to rave reviews in 2005, and the California Academy of Sciences is right across the way.
The Beach and Park Chalets at the west end provide sustenance and entertainment.
In between are walking and bike trails, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, Stow Lake, and the resident herd of bison.
Walk from the east end of Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach, and you'll feel a bit like Magellan making that last turn around the Cape.
Go to: San Francisco Photos San Francisco's parks are part of the reason the Bay Area feels like paradise to those of us who live here.
Although the entire Bay Area is a bounty of wilderness and protected areas, even within the bounds of the city, parks and green spaces offer an opportunity to explore diverse terrain and habitat.
The options are endless, ranging from a bike ride in the Presidio and along Crissy Field, to bird watching in the restored wetland areas at Heron's Head Park, to enjoying panoramic views from the top of Grand View Park.
Born out of sand dunes in the late 1800s, Golden Gate Park today is a rich blend of gardens, play spaces and museum culture.