We've spent an entire summer living in the shadow of Rocky Mountain National Park, found ourselves slightly lost in Arcadia National Park, and walked through the fog of Olympic National Park -- but out favorite national recreation areas aren't that far away. And while they're not designated national parks, these federally run outdoor spaces [part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA)] are the perfect places to visit during National Park Week.
Presidio and Crissy Field: Bike down to Crissy Field, and swing by the Warming Hut (983 Marine) for a cup of coffee, before continuing on towards the Presidio. Or maybe check out one of the hiking trails that runs through the Presidio -- one of our favorites starts near Pacific Heights and ends at Baker Beach.
Marin Headlands: Bike, bus (Muni 76X), or drive over to Rodeo Beach for a picnic and check out the Headlands Center for the Arts (Sun-Thu. noon-5 p.m.); check out their event calendar to see what exhibits are on display. Afterwards, loop back toward Sausalito and check out Fort Baker.
Angel Island: As we mentioned in our recent Bay Area camping post, you'll need to hitch a ferry ride from Tiburon, but once you're there check out the bike rentals, and if you're not feeling up to a hike (but come on, really) there are Segway tours and a tram. Before heading home, stop by the cafe and get a beer.
Muir Woods National Monument: Go now. On a weekday. Once summer arrives you won't be able to get close to this place.
Point Reyes National Seashore: Swing by the town of Pt. Reyes Station and grab a pastry at Bovine Bakery and/or some cheese at Cowgirl Creamery before heading to the the lighthouse. As you drive, be on the lookout for elk as you wind your way through the rolling hills (we always see them off in the distance of the cattle farms). Also, check out the Bear Valley Visitor Center, and walk the Earthquake Trail.
And when National Parks Week is over, these places are still worth a visit this spring (or summer, or fall...).