You’ll need to go up the hill and through the trees to get to the hidden expanse of San Francisco’s Fort Miley. Tucked behind Lands End and with a picnic table and solo grill, the picnic area is no longer lush with green grass, but the views from its plateau are still cushy, and classic.
The short climb up is on a road through a dense forest that’s especially mystical on fog-filled afternoons—trees are staggered across the hill and look almost electric green in some light … a magical forest of whimsy … or where witches may wander. Emerge onto a private plateau with giant views of Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park’s windmill, and all the way down to Sloat Boulevard.
Explore the WWII military structures. The graffiti-decorated batteries add aspects of artistry in some cases (can you find Betty Boop?!), and hints of eeriness in others. It’s a quick fix of thrills.
BONUS: A little unnerved? Calm your bones with a signature cocktail or good old-fashioned Baileys and hot cocoa at Sutro’s in the Cliff House.
Park at the Fort Miley parking lot at Point Lobos Ave. and 48th Ave. (map) Look for the West Fort Miley picnic area sign on the right side. Walk up the road five minutes to the picnic spot. Dog-friendly!