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33 Best Scenic Views of the Bay Area for Seniors

Discover the best Bay Area scenic views to visit. Seniorly explores several destinations to travel to and spend the day with family and friends.

By Lydia Bruno · Updated Aug 08, 2022
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San Francisco Bay is one of the most beautiful places in the world. With its stunning blue waters and lush green hills, it’s no wonder why so many people flock to this area every year.  Take a look at beautiful landscapes, panoramic views, and fascinating natural history all across San Francisco Bay. You will have trouble deciding what view is the best!

There are so many great spots to see the beauty of San Francisco and its surroundings. These spots range from scenic vistas to famous landmarks that offer a variety of different experiences. So if you are traveling with a senior group, grandparents, parents, family, or solo look no further than these 33 destinations for breathtaking views!

  • Crissy Field
  • Golden Gate Park
  • Tilden Regional Park
  • Yerba Buena Gardens
  • Berkeley Hills
  • Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Mission Dolores Park
  • Bay Bridge
  • Angel Island
  • West Bluff Picnic Area
  • San Rafael
  • Briones Regional Park
  • Lake Merritt
  • Vasona Lake County Park
  • Redwood Regional Park
  • Baker Beach
  • Washington Square Park
  • Stow Lake
  • Muir Woods
  • Lake Chabot Regional Park
  • Treasure Island
  • Walnut Creek
  • Marin Headlands State Park
  • Alamo Square Park
  • Lands End Trail
  • Twin Peaks
  • Fort Point
  • Pier 7
  • Bernal Heights Park
  • De Young Museum
  • Coit Tower
  • Half Moon Bay
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
     
  • Crissy Field

Photo Credit: Viator

Crissy Field is a popular beach with the scenic Golden Gate Bridge as its backdrop. The field has been integral to San Francisco's waterfront since it was founded in 1900, and now houses an active boat harbor that can accommodate both sailing ships and motorized vessels. The perfect place for seniors to get exercise and walk or bike on the hard-packed promenade while looking at the iconic backdrop.

  • Golden Gate Park

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Golden Gate Park is the perfect place to get away from it all. Explore 1,017 acres of agricultural lakes and meadows or find vibrant activity destinations in this iconic park. 

There is so much to do at the lakes in the park, such as Stow Lake, which is home to a historic boathouse and cafe. 

For seniors who like flowers the next stop should be the botanical garden that stretches across 55 acres of the park. The garden displays more than 7,500 varieties of plants and wildflowers from across the globe. This makes the San Francisco Botanical Garden the largest on the West Coast.

  • Tilden Regional Park

Photo Credit: East Bay Regional Park District

Tilden Regional Park is a 2,077-acre regional park located in the Berkeley Hills above Berkeley, California. It is part of the East Bay Regional Parks system. The park was established in 1936. Tilden Park is named after Charles Lee Tilden, who was the first superintendent of the East Bay Regional Park District from 1934 to 1952.

For the seniors that like to have an adventure there are many activities to partake in. The park's features include a steam train, golf course, merry-go-round, two small lakes, a swimming pool, many miles of hiking and biking trails, a botanic garden, and a theater. Enjoy the carousel ride and picnic sites, or swim at Lake Anza. Tildens' 2089 acres offer plenty of quiet places for wildlife shelters as well as the natural beauty that you can enjoy on a stroll through the botanical garden.
 

  • Yerba Buena Gardens

Photo Credit: Yerba Buena Gardens

Yerba Buena Gardens is a park located in downtown San Francisco, California. The gardens were built on top of a parking garage and an abandoned railway line. The gardens were opened to the public in 1993. The gardens feature a children's garden, carousel, bowling alley, an ice skating rink, museum, theater, and a botanical garden. Seniors can make a day trip to the gardens and play, dine, shop or just relax.

  • Berkeley Hills

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Berkeley Hills are a range of low mountains that are located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. The hills are home to Tilden Regional Park. The Berkeley Hills are mostly covered in grassland and chaparral. There are some oak trees and other vegetation, but the hills are not heavily forested. The highest point in the Berkeley Hills is Vollmer Peak, which has an elevation of 1,905 feet. If you are a senior that likes to hike this is a view you don’t want to miss!

  • Point Reyes National Seashore

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Point Reyes maintains 150 miles of trails, four campgrounds, several historic structures, and the Point Reyes Lighthouse which was built in 1870. Seniors that are interested in history will be fascinated with the 3,000 years of cultural history of this property. The 152 year old lighthouse is a viewpoint for watching the migrating gray whales. No matter what spot you choose this is one of the best views in the Bay Area. 

The Bear Valley visitor center provides a comprehensive orientation to the many resources and facilities in this vast park. A glimpse into its diverse ecosystem can be found inside, as well as audio-visual programs. 

The bookstore sells books on natural history for those who like books, cards, and posters. The Bear Valley picnic area is located across the street from the Bear Valley visitor center and provides seating for a great outdoor meal.

  • Mission Dolores Park

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Mission Dolores Park is one of the most popular parks in San Francisco and it's also home to many festivals, performances, and other cultural events. On sunny afternoons people flock here for the lush green lawns shaded by palm trees, six tennis courts, a soccer field, a basketball court, a playground, two off-leash dog play areas, and the amazing views of the city’s skyline and beyond. This park is a great visit for seniors who like to stay active or just people watch.

  • Bay Bridge

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Bay Bridge is a suspension bridge that connects the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It carries about 260,000 vehicles on its two decks a day. While it is longer and busier than the Golden Gate Bridge, it is just as beautiful and scenic for a great view of San Francisco.

  • Angel Island

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Angel Island State Park is a must-see for any visitor to the Bay Area. The largest natural island in the San Francisco Bay, Angel Island offers some of the best views for miles around, making it an ideal spot that can't be missed during your trip. The island offers great hiking trails and other recreational activities readily available daily for seniors and those who like to hike. 

  • West Bluff Picnic Area

Photo Credit: National Park Service

The West Bluff Picnic Area is located in the Presidio of San Francisco. The picnic area offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the Marin Headlands. The picnic area is open from sunrise to sunset and offers not only great views but picnic areas, grills, restrooms, and grassy areas for kids to play.

After a picnic the young-at-heart will enjoy learning about aquatic life at the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center or about amazing military architecture at Fort Point National Historic Site.

  • San Rafael

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

San Rafael is a city located in the northern part of the San Francisco Bay Area. For seniors who don’t want to travel too far from San Francisco, San Rafael is only 20 minutes away. Perfect for a quick day trip. The city was founded in 1857, and it is now home to about 160,000 people. San Rafael is best known for its art scene, quaint views, and it is home to numerous art galleries and theaters. The city is also home to the Marin County Civic Center, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

  • Briones Regional Park

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Briones Regional Park is 6,255 acres of land that is home to many animals and birds. There are known to be black-tailed deer, squirrels, red-tailed hawks, coyotes, turkey vultures, and other secluded animals. Many park district naturalists lead walks around the park to view the park’s natural and historic features. 

Briones is the perfect place for seniors to spend the day with their grandchildren hiking, running, horseback riding, picnicking, bird watching, and other recreational activities such as kite flying or photography. 

The highest point in the park is Briones Peak. From the peak, there are panoramic views of Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, the Diablo Valley to the east, the Sacramento River and Delta to the north, the East Bay hills, and Mount Tamalpais to the west, and Las Trampas Regional Wilderness to the south.

  • Lake Merritt

Photo Credit: LakeMerritt.org

Lake Merritt is a lake located in Oakland, California. The lake was created in 1868, and it is now a popular spot for fishing, bird watching, and picnicking. The lake is a wildlife refuge. Seniors that like to grill and have a picnic will enjoy all of the views.

  • Vasona Lake County Park

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Vasona Lake is a man-made lake located in Los Gatos, California made up of 45 acres of lawn, which is used for frisbee, soccer, or softball.  The lake was created in the 1930s, and it is now a popular spot for fishing, bird watching, and picnicking. Seniors can enjoy several picnic areas and reservable group areas throughout the park.

  • Redwood Regional Park

Photo Credit: East Bay Regional Park District

Redwood Regional Park is a park in Northern California in the rolling hills of Oakland and western Alameda and Contra Costa County, owned and operated by the East Bay Regional Park District. The redwood forests were planted in the 1800s making the trees over 150 years old.

The park has a number of easy walking trails and more moderate hikes for seniors, lots of picnic areas, a playground, and lots of redwood and sequoia trees.

  • Baker Beach

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Baker Beach is a beach located in the Presidio of San Francisco. The beach offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and  Marin Headlands. It's also a popular spot for sunbathing on a sunny day, picnicking, and hiking. Seniors can enjoy the Battery Chamberlin Trail or the Lobos Creek Trail, which are both considered the easiest of trails on the beach. Hikers can pick up the Coastal Trail on the cliffside while sunbathers can go to the northernmost end of the beach for clothing-optional sunbathing.

  • Washington Square Park

Photo Credit: San Francisco Recreation & Parks

On your next North Beach adventure, don't forget to stop by one of the City's first parks. This lively urban oasis is bordered by sidewalk cafes and restaurants as well as Saint Peter & Paul Church. This is a great place for seniors to people-watch or just relax with some peace in this bustling metropolis.

  • Stow Lake

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

In the bustling city of San Francisco, there is a place that has been able to provide people with nature and serenity. This man-made lake was completed in 1893 as part of Golden Gate Park.  For over 11 decades it has provided residents an escape from their crowded neighborhoods while enjoying outdoor activities like fishing or swimming at any time during long summer days. Seniors and young alike will enjoy spending time in nature. 

  • Muir Woods

Photo Credit: AARP

One of the best Bay Area regional parks in the California area is Muir Woods. Federally protected as a national monument this park has been around since 1908. Known for its old redwood trees, this day trip is one to see with the kids and grandkids. Take a walk under the towering old-growth redwood trees with family. Maybe stop and have a picnic and just enjoy the day together.

  • Lake Chabot Regional Park

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

In 1874 Lake Chabot Reservoir was built as a primary source of water for the East Bay. The lake is 315 acres of native plants and is filled with trout and catfish. This is the perfect spot to take the grandkids out for their first fishing trip. The lake is not only filled with trout and catfish but there are also bass, crappie, and other types of fish. There is an annual fishing derby that takes place in the spring, which is a very popular event.

  • Treasure island

Photo Credit: California Beaches

There are many reasons to visit Treasure Island, and one of them is the view. San Francisco's entire northern waterfront from bridge to bridge can be seen here in perfect picture perfection. This beautiful view can be enjoyed by seniors along with the public art throughout the year; flea markets where you'll find old treasures at cheap prices, as well as festivals that happen almost every single day.

  • Walnut Creek

Photo Credit: Visit Walnut Cree

Walnut Creek is home to the arts and culture of the Lesher Center. The Lesher Center is perfect for seniors that want to enjoy three separate venues for ballet, comedy, and literary events. It is also home to over 300 boutiques and shops in the Broadway Plaza. Looking for good food? Walnut Creek has over 100 different restaurants, bars, and wineries that are just as good as Napa Valley and Sonoma County wineries. Most importantly, the view is amazing. You can saddle up, play golf, play ball, swim, bike, hike, skate, and take advantage of scenic Mt. Diabo. 

  • Marin Headlands State Park

Photo Credit: California Beaches

The Marin Headlands is one of the most picturesque areas in all of Golden Gate National Park. It's a crown jewel that encompasses places like Rodeo Lagoon, Gerbode Valley, Hawk Hill, and Tennessee Valley.  There are also some amazing historical sites for seniors to discover such as Point Bonita Lighthouse and Fort Cronkhite, which were both built back when this area was home to several military installations. But if we're talking about what makes it so special the answer would be without question its four unique campgrounds. All perfect spots from which to explore these incredible landscapes.

  • Alamo Square Park

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Alamo Square Park is located in the residential neighborhood of Alamo Square in San Francisco. Alamo Square Park is the neighborhood’s focal point and namesake. The park consists of four city blocks at the top of a hill overlooking much of downtown San Francisco. There are a number of large Victorian mansions along the perimeter, including the “Painted Ladies,” a well-known postcard motif. The view from the top is impressive and gorgeous. 

The park itself includes a playground and tennis court and is mostly frequented by dog owners, tourists, and locals. With wheelchair accessibility to the playgrounds, picnic area, and bathrooms, seniors will be able to enjoy the day out in this neighborhood.  

  • Lands End Trail

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

An amazing place to hike with several huge payoffs. There is a rocky labyrinth located at the end of the trail on Land’s End Point. It overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge in all of its glory. Along the trails, there are also plenty of beautiful views that seniors may enjoy of the Point Bonita Lighthouse, the Pacific Ocean, Sutro Baths, the USS San Francisco Memorial, and Mile Rock Beach.   

  • Twin Peaks

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Twin Peaks is not only the tallest view in San Francisco but also one of its most iconic. It’s located close to downtown and has great hiking trails with sweeping views that you can enjoy for free.

There are many landmarks that you can see from the top of this hill including San Francisco Bay and its famous landmark, The Golden Gate Bridge. It doesn’t matter if it is a foggy or a clear day, this is still one of the best views there is. This neighborhood is great for professionals, empty nesters, and retirees. 
 

  • Fort Point

Photo Credit: National Park Service

Built between 1853 and 1861, Fort Point was part of a defense system of forts planned for the protection of San Francisco Bay. 

The fort is a fascinating place to explore. For seniors that love learning about the past they can find out about its history and enjoy the view from the top floor. You have the perfect vantage point to see the Golden Gate Bridge.

  • Pier 7

This scenic pier is one of the best-kept secrets in San Francisco. With a breathtaking view of the bay, you will want to sit for a spell and take in the spectacular views. 

  • Bernal Heights Park

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The views from this dog-friendly spot are 360 degrees, and you'll be able to enjoy them while taking in all that San Francisco has to offer. There's also a swing at the top!

For seniors who want to escape from the city for a while you can enjoy activities like flying a kite, having a picnic, or even doing yoga while you are looking out over the San Francisco skyline.

  • De Young Museum

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

For seniors who enjoy fine arts, this museum itself is something to look at inside and out, but when you are finished with the day trip to the museum don’t forget the Hamon Tower. The tower has free access to the observation level which offers lovely 360-degree views of the nearby city area.

  • Coit Tower

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Built on Telegraph Hill, the Coit Tower is an essential part of the skyline in San Francisco. Built in 1933 the tower has an observation deck that allows visitors to see a 360 view out over San Francisco, including the Bay Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Senior citizens can enjoy a guided tour of the tower and murals at a discounted rate.

  • Half Moon Bay

Photo Credit: tripsavvy

Seniors looking for small-town charm and hospitality need to visit Half Moon Bay. It is a perfect destination to enjoy while you're in the Bay Area. This crescent-shaped harbor has a little town in the middle with plenty to see and engage in.

The area has plenty going on, from exploring its natural beautiful environments or taking part in adventurous activities such as surfing and kayaking. You won’t want to miss this view. 

  • Fisherman’s Wharf

This historic district is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco. From here, you can take a ferry to Alcatraz Island, go on a whale watching tour, or visit the sea lions. Seniors can take a bus, cable car or streetcar to Fisherman's Wharf to join in on all the fun. There are also plenty of restaurants and shops to explore in Fisherman's Wharf. You will have a blast with all the things there are to do.

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written by:
Lydia Bruno

Lydia Bruno

Copywriter for Seniorly, with 5+ years experience in professional caregiving and senior housing
View other articles written by Lydia

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