My second trip to San Francisco and the bay area only cemented in my mind the fact that this is THE place for me. The coastal beaches, mountains, and redwood groves are places I get lost in, and the city’s vibe is one that matches my own. When I see moms and kids with bare feet, wild hair, and sand all over their clothes I know I’m in the right place. This is sort of the mecca of liberal mindedness, included unschooling, gentle discipline, and free-range parenting. I just feel so normal here! It also helps that it’s my favorite weather, ever, all the time: sunny and 70 degrees with a crisp cool breeze.
Back to Chinatown
The friend we were staying with also happens to be the friend who came with me on my first trip to San Francisco, when she was pregnant with her oldest and M was just six months old! She liked Chinatown so much that she wanted to bring her mom there to shop. We found a hip little playground for the kids, right behind the famous Hang Ah Tearoom, first Chinese tea room in San Francisco, where we tried out their specialty dish: dim sum. Then we window shopped and the kids scared me to death the way they were all over the displays of fragile and expensive wares!
Fisherman’s Warf and Hyde Pier Beach
We also decided to go back to the Fisherman’s Warf area for a view of the bay. This time we wandered West toward Hyde Pier, snacking on some crab salad and fish and chips from Fisherman’s Grotto. Our destination was the beach, however. There is a simple and lovely beach west of the pier, just in front of the San Francisco Maritime National Park. Aquatic Cove is a somewhat sheltered water area, so the waves are not too big for little waders. We also spotted some seals swimming! There is a shower here to get the sand off, FYI, and thank god for that because I really don’t like sand but my daughter likes to roll in it like a puppy in the grass.
Muir Woods and Beach
Just north of the city is one of my favorite places ever! Muir Woods is the redwood grove, of course, and while I liked Humboldt State Park a little better for redwood viewing, the trees are still my favorite. M truly appreciated the trees this time, and probably could’ve hiked for hours if our friends could’ve kept going. It cost $10 to get in, but parking was free. Go at the very end of the day for plenty of parking. After 6pm there is no entrance fee, also!
The beach nearby was so extremely beautiful! I was jealous of the families relaxing around fire pits for the day. I’m definitely going to be doing that someday! M played in the tide pools, sand, and surf, and I scrambled up to sit on top of the tall rocks. I felt like a kid again, wild and free.
Needless to say, I’m excited to go back and spend more time in the US city I think actually beats New York City as my favorite!