The Presidio, on former military land at the tip of San Francisco, offers a way to relax and enjoy the nature of Northern California, without fighting the traffic to get there. The perks of the city are within easy reach, too.

Here is some information for planning your own visit to this magical spot.

Where to sleep: My husband and I stayed at the Inn at the Presidio, located in Pershing Hall, which used to house bachelor Army officers. The Inn has 22 spacious rooms, which come with a generous continental breakfast and wine and cheese plates served each evening from 5-7 p.m. It is within walking distance of the woods and the bay.

The Lodge at the Presidio, also on the grounds, opened this summer with 42 rooms. It is operated by the same folks as the Inn at the Presidio, and I would expect the same stellar service.

For a weeknight in October, standard rates at the Inn start at $365 and at $275 for the Lodge. Parking is $9 per night; a 14 percent park fee is also added to the room rate. More information on both lodging options can be found at presidio­ or by calling 1-415-561-1234.

Where to eat: San Francisco has thousands of options (the park offers free shuttles and a Lyft ride is around $12 each way), but if you’d like to stay in the area, as we did, there are wonderful restaurants within the park. We chose a late lunch at Arguello, next door to the hotel, and were not disappointed. Fresh Mexican fare with phenomenal guacamole and a view of the water? Yes, please. There are about a dozen other spots for meals in the park, as well as a Starbucks.

What to do: Have I mentioned the hiking? It is sublime. As are the beaches. And if you’d like to bike the grounds, bicycle rental is available in the Presidio Sports Basement. There are also yoga and Pilates studios, a batting cage and a golf course. While we opted for a quiet couples retreat, there are lots of activities if you’re bringing the whole family. There’s a bowling alley and a trampoline park, not to mention a Disney museum.

If culture is more your jam, a museum in the Officers Center might be the ticket. Now through spring 2019, it features “Exclusion: The Presidio’s Role in World War II Japanese American Incarceration,” an exhibit that looks at the choices made during World War II regarding the internment of Japanese immigrants and what we can learn from that.


Fun fact: If you can’t get enough of the area and want to move into the park, you can! A variety of military housing is now available for leasing. My own favorites were the former officers’ homes, for a mere $7,000 per month.

Leslie Plesser