Four unconvential ways to tour San Francisco

See recent posts by Debbie Abrams Kaplan



You can walk. Or ride in a big tour bus. But wouldn’t you rather tell your friends the story where you kayaked next to a major league baseball stadium and then rode a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge? Here are four unconventional ways to tour San Francisco.

By Segway: Depending on the tour, you might whiz through Alcatraz, Sausalito, the San Francisco waterfront, Palace of Fine Arts, Ghirardelli Square, or Lombard Street aboard one of these two-wheeled space-age scooters. Kids 12 and up can join in the fun, and the tours include practice time so you can get comfortable on the gyrating machine. You’ll likely leave from Fisherman’s Wharf, so stay at the Argonaut Hotel to be within walking distance of your departure point.

By kayak: See the City by the Bay, from the Bay. Choose your vista, whether it’s the South Beach area where you might see other paddlers trying to catch fly balls leaving the Giants’ AT&T Park or the downtown waterfront and the iconic Ferry Building. Or go the adventurous route, paddling underneath the Golden Gate Bridge or past Alcatraz. (No experience is necessary for many trips.) City Kayak welcomes kids 12 and older on its trips, which depart from both the outfitter’s Pier 39 and South Beach locations. Stay at the Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf for convenience.

GoCar Tours: This yellow two-seater convertible looks like a go-kart but is fitted with a GPS that narrates a tour while guiding you around town. Strap on a helmet and zip through downtown San Francisco, urban parks, or get an “insider” tour of the city. You’ll pay by the hour, and you can pick one up at Fisherman’s Wharf, near The Buena Vista cafe, or Union Square, not far from the Hotel Monaco.

Bike Tours:Rent a bike by yourself or join a guided tour from an outfitter like Blazing Saddles or Bay City Bike. If you’re worried about burning and shaking thighs, rent an electric bike instead. A fusion between bicycle and scooter, this contraption will get you around without polluting the air. Either way, the excursion is to bike the Golden Gate Bridge from Fisherman’s Wharf to Tiburon. But staying in the City to spots like Golden Gate Park, Union Square, downtown, or anywhere else your curiosity takes you can be just as fun. Stay at the Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can get your bike in no time from the outfitters stationed there.

–Debbie Abrams Kaplan of and Kaplan Ink.

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