5 Wild—And Awesome!—Outdoor Activities For Bay Area Thrill-Seekers

Any Bay Area resident will tell you—we have the best of both worlds. Not only do we get to revel in a city chock-full of candy-colored Victorians and jaw-dropping vistas, we are also a quick drive from some of the most gorgeous vineyards, parks, and beaches in the country. And while long bike rides around San Francisco’s hilly terrain and Mount Tam hikes are always a lovely (and semi-challenging) way to spend a weekend, we’ve also got plenty of other utterly rad outdoor activities for those looking to pump up their adrenaline, big-time! From zip-lining 150-feet above Sonoma’s unbeatable valleys to kayaking in the jelly fish-filled Tomales Bay, here's five of the wildest (and super-scenic) sports the Bay has to offer right here in our handy-dandy weekend field-trip guide. So, get ready to channel your inner daredevil—we promise, these awe-inspiring activities won’t disappoint!
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Zip-Lining in Sonoma
Ever wish you could soak in the lush Sonoma scenery from 150-feet above the ground? With Sonoma Canopy Tours you can, and at 25 m.p.h. to boot. The zip-lining tour takes you high above the costal redwoods on a thrilling, must-see excursion through the heart of wine-country. Just a 2 1/2-hour drive from San Francisco to Occidental, and you’ll be gliding across 800-feet of cables, crossing swaying sky bridges, and finally rappelling down an 80-foot redwood—yikes! It’s awesome!


Sonoma Canopy Tours, 6250 Bohemian Highway, Occidental; 888-494-7868.


Photo: Sonoma Canopy Tours
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Outdoor Rock Climbing at Castle Rock
You don’t have to venture to Tahoe or Yosemite to get your rock-climbing fix. For a challenging climb in the Bay Area, we recommend you visit Castle Rock. This state park sits on the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and is known for its steep canyons, unusual rock formations, and breathtaking views. It boasts moderate to advanced climbing routes, but also offers classes for newbies (or anyone wanting a refresher course!). Hot tip: The weather is great right now—just don’t forget the bug spray!

Castle Rock State Park, 1500 Skyline Boulevard, Los Gatos; 408-867-2941.


Photo: Facebook/Outdoor Adventure Club
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Hang Gliding at Fort Funston

Ready to soar to great heights? Then look no further than Fort Funston. Located at the southwest corner of S.F., it’s considered one of the best hang-gliding regions in the area; with steady winds and high cliffs, it’s an ideal launch site. From here hang gliders can view the Bay Area at ultra-high altitudes, year round. Swing by one of the many shops in the area for an introductory hang-gliding course.


Fort Funston, Skyline Boulevard; 415-561-4323.


Photo: Fly Funston
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Kitesurfing at Oyster Point Park
Known for having the windiest and wildest currents, the Bay Area is home to world-class kitesurfing at Crissy Field and Golden Gate launch area. Those who want a less daunting kite-surfing experience should head over to South San Francisco’s Oyster Point Park. It’s there that Kite415 offers one-on-one lessons in this surfing-paragliding hybrid for everyone from first-timers to experts.


Kite415, 425 Marina Boulevard; 415-244-8007.

Photo: Facebook/Kite415
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Kayaking in Tomales Bay
There’s only one (fun) way to see the diverse wildlife of Tomales Bay and that’s via kayak. The 15-mile stretch of water is home to everything from the fascinating (and also terrifying) lion’s mane jellyfish to seals to bat rays. Blue Waters Kayak is the way to go. They have two locations on opposite sides of the bay to choose from: Marshall and Inverness. Whichever you choose, don’t forget to stop at Hog Island Oyster Farm for some post-paddle grub.

Blue Waters Kayak, 19225 Shoreline Highway, Marshall; 415-669-2600; 12944 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Inverness; 415-669-2600.
Hog Island Oyster Farm, 20215 Highway 1, Marshall; 415-663-9218.

Photo: Facebook/Clavey
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