Thanksgiving weekend in San Francisco + Point Reyes / Bass Lake hike + Alcatraz Island

Joe and I spent our Thanksgiving last week right here at home in San Francisco. In past years, I usually traveled during Thanksgiving, and this was my first year spending it in San Francisco. The extra time off work plus the emptiness of the city made for the perfect few days of recharging and doing fun things around the Bay area.

Thursday + Friday: Thanksgiving for two + Lands End + walking around an empty city

Thursday and Friday were our relaxing days since most businesses were closed throughout the city. We did a coastal hike at Lands End, where it’s usually crowded with tourists and locals, but on Thanksgiving it was pleasantly wide open. I felt lucky to have this gorgeous weather and California scenery in November.

We also did some walks around Joe’s neighborhood, Lower Pac Heights. The Lyon Steps have one of my favorite views of San Francisco looking down into the Marina.

Lots of kitty time of course. ā¤

Thanksgiving dinner was just me and Joe, so we made a chicken pot pie. It was the perfect hearty meal for two without having loads of leftovers.

We are also in a bread phase currently. Joe and I have been testing and perfecting different recipes.

Saturday: Points Reyes + Bass Lake hike

After two relaxing days, we had pent up energy on Saturday and headed out of the city for an adventure. We drove north across the Golden Gate bridge to hike the Point Reyes area.

Point Reyes is ~1.5 hours north of the city and known for the jaw-dropping coastal hikes and large cliffs. It’s probably the closest to the beauty of Big Sur without driving all the way to Big Sur. What I love about hiking in Point Reyes is that the longer drive from the city weeds out a lot of people, and so the hikes are more remote and open compared to the hikes in Marin/Pacifica/Berkeley (30-60 minutes from the city).

The hike we chose started off right away with the famous, gorgeous Point Reyes cliffs.

The hike was 6 miles and brought us through all different types of scenery. It was refreshing to be out of the city and under the trees which is our happy spot.

The highlight of the hike was reaching Bass Lake, which was a remote lake with no houses, docks or anything. You can only reach the lake via this hike so we had it all to ourselves.

After some downtime at the lake, we hiked back the way we came and drove back to the city. The perfect active day that helped burn off the Thanksgiving food.

Sunday: Alcatraz Island

On Sunday, we had something special planned…a tour of Alcatraz Island! Alcatraz is on every list of top SF attractions – this has been on our bucket list for a while now, and what better time to visit than when everyone is out of the city? šŸ™‚

I visited Alcatraz once on my first visit to SF 6 years ago (I was a senior in college and did a solo trip during my spring break). I remember liking it a lot so I was excited to experience it again with Joe who had never been before.

The trip started off with a ferry ride from Pier 33. We had gorgeous views of Bay, including the different islands around San Francisco.

Then we made it to Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz is the site of an abandoned federal prison, and so the main attraction is touring the prison grounds and learning about the history. It’s known for housing the most dangerous, high-profile criminals such as Al Capone.

We walked around the island and learned about the history of the prison.

Our favorite part of the island was simply soaking in the views of the bay and having different hiking trails options.

We also loved looking at the plants…leave it to me and Joe to spend more time at the garden versus the actual prison on Alcatraz. šŸ˜›

After a lovely morning, we took the ferry back and laid low the rest of the day. We watched the Planet of the Apes trilogy, ordered food, and rested up before the usual business the next day.

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving with lots of great food!!!


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