The greatest way to enjoy all of Golden Gate Park’s 1000+ acres? Lake-hopping, on two-wheels! The park is strewn with over a dozen oases—some hidden, some more popular. Jump on your bike and explore the chain of lakes all the way to Chain of Lakes. Starting from the DeYoung Museum and California Academy of Sciences, head west toward the ocean on winding Martin Luther King Drive. Stow Lake is first up, perhaps the most popular body of water in the park. Keep cruising and the lakes pop up like they’re suddenly on parade (a few of these gems offer total tranquility). On sunny days, pond turtles sun themselves on the rocks, and male quacking ducks create love triangles. After 2.2 miles, turn right onto Chain of Lakes Drive. Pass little South Lake (on a recent trip we saw a great blue heron lounging) and keep rolling past Middle Lake and then on around North Lake before heading back along John F. Kennedy Drive. Stop briefly at well-known Spreckels Lake to check out the remote-control sail boats and then catch the waterfall at Lloyd Lake.
TIP: If you need a bike or are entertaining guests who need wheels, rent from Parkwide Bike Rentals located right in Golden Gate Park, by the Bandshell. They’ve also got good, free maps.