The must-do itinerary for a weekend in the inimitable coastal enclave.
You won’t be in Big Sur long before someone mentions the fire of 2008. The Santa Lucia Mountains, rising straight up from the ocean, are as magnificent as ever, emerald-green swaths of new growth the only reminders of the flames that ravaged 130,000 acres and evacuated the town for two weeks in July of that year. But the close call has made this nearly mythical outpost—where artists, hippies, healers and now luxury seekers unite—feel all the more precious.
For some people, running a marathon is an annual event. For others it’s something we threaten to do only after a second double double. Whether you’re just getting off the couch or want to shave a few seconds off your best time, there are plenty of Bay Area running clubs to help you reach the finish line.
Pack some local beers and cool off with with a swim at one of the Greater Bay Area's swimming holes.
Drive up Point Reyes Coast to Bass Lake for a 2.7-mile hike and a bathing-suit-optional, warm freshwater swim. For the adventurous, there's a serious rope swing. For those seeking relaxation, bring a plastic raft and doze on the lake.
Life's a Stitch
Self-taught sewing skills just so-so? The gals at Craft Haven in Potrero Hill offer a three-part learn-the-basics package called “The Works” that turns your butterfingers into instruments of needle-and-thread wizardry. Dates ongoing, 520 Hampshire St., crafthaven.org
Decorate your old hardcovers 18th century-style with paste papers. The SF Center for the Book teaches this glorified finger-painting technique using pattern-inducing materials such as Bubble Wrap, plant leaves and sponges. June 26, 300 DeHaro St., 415-565-0545, sfcb.org
Here's a little piece of grilling heaven—right in the city. Perched on a grassy expanse nearly the size of a soccer field, Fort Miley is a geographic slice of gastronomic delight hidden behind Lands End. To reach its solo grill, make a short climb up a road through a dense forest, then emerge onto a private plateau with giant views of Ocean Beach all the way down Sloat Boulevard. This is a truly secluded playground, so bring the bocce, the burgers, and your best suds and buds. While there, explore the WWII military structures and stroll north up a little path that leads to a fresh, stellar view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Fort Miley grill is often available for walk-ins, especially on weekdays.
If you notice Sparky clicking his paws with his eyes shut tight, there's a good chance he's thinking, There's no place like Funston. San Francisco's popular Fort Funston is a dog's dream, bringing pooches out tails a-wagging, as they enjoy the windswept dunes. Hang gliders share the area, taking to the sky like flying monkeys. Bring your best friend for a quick hike down to the parks's wide-open beach. To get there, you and your four-legged pal will have to hoof and woof down a sand ladder. Then, relish in this magical canine coastline backed by 30-foot high cliffs as fetch is played in all directions. Fairy tails do come true!