How to Take Advantage of S.F.'s Indian Summer

San Francisco city tram climbs up Hyde Street with Alcatraz beyond, San Francisco, California, United States of America, North America
Garry Ridsdale / Getty Images

It’s here! It’s finally here! The beautiful 80 degrees days we’ve been waiting for. San Francisco's best weather comes through in September and October, when Karl the Fog keeps his tendrils at bay and blue skies reign. True, all the best fall shows are waiting on your Netflix, but unfortunately they’re going to have to wait. You need to get outside and enjoy this once every 10 months natural extravaganza! Here are some of the best ways to do that. 

01 of 07

Float McCovey Cove

Kayaks in McCovey Cove

 Randy Chiu (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

 Lucky for you, the Giants play ball through September at least, so you’ve got some time to plan your McCovey Cove adventure along SF's waterfront Embarcadero. You can rent kayaks, stand up paddle boards or even about from City Kayak—just make sure you’ve got it back by 5PM. It’s on a first-come, first serve basis so make sure you get there early as other people will have this brilliant idea. Or if you don’t want to deal with the risk, invest in a floatie (the flamingo is sure to be a hit) or two. Just make sure you bring sunscreen, water and a waterproof bag for the essentials. 

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02 of 07

Swim at China Beach

Patrick K. via Yelp

While Baker Beach will do too, we like its smaller cousin for the spectacular views and very mellow waves (we’re talking less than an inch, people!). It’s a great beach to bring the little ones too since it’s so mellow. Just make sure you either go early in the day (before 10AM) or don’t show up until later (5PM). Otherwise, you’ll never find a parking spot. 

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03 of 07

Watch the surf at Ocean Beach

People surfing in the early morning at Ocean Beach, San Farncisco

 Jeremy Weate (CC BY 2.0) /Flickr

 If you’re a surfer, then you already know it’s surfing season. You’re probably already halfway to the beach. For the rest of us, it looks crazy out there. Let’s just sit on the sidelines and watch. The swells off Ocean Beach are slightly insane this time of year and it’s easy to find a perch on a sand dune and watch the wetsuit-clad ride over what look like mountains of water. And who knows? Maybe you’ll see a shark leap into the air. Because it's happened.

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04 of 07

Hang poolside at the Phoenix Hotel

Naoki S. via Yelp

Saddle up for a delicious and refreshing poke bowl while basking in the mid-morning sun at Chambers Eat & Drink, the adjoining restaurant to the ever trendy Phoenix Hotel in the city's Tenderloin neighborhood. Don’t let the less-than-savory surrounding environs fool you: this hotel offers the perfect oasis. Ask to be seated outside or, if you want to skip the meal and get straight to the pool time, rent out a cabana. It won’t be cheap, but it will be worth it. 601 Eddy St.; 415-776-1380

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05 of 07

Run along Crissy Field

Mecky/Getty Images

When the sun is shining, the view from Crissy Field in SF's Presidio is absolutely spectacular. Set yourself up for success for the day by being active: a casual run, walk or bike ride along the city’s northern shore will balance that perfect sunshine with a casual breeze. And when you’re done working out, you’re already at the beach! The key here is to go early so that you beat the heat and get dibs on prime sandy real estate for the day. Be the volunteer to get there early and the rest of the party will come to you. 

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06 of 07

Eat all the ice cream

Olivia V. via Yelp

Finally, we’re not socked in with fog. Finally, it’s close to 80 degrees out! So finally, you can eat all the ice cream. So let’s make a tour of it, shall we? Check out our guide to the best scoops in San Francisco to find the ice cream stop closest to you. Just remember to pace yourself, try something new and share with a friend. Then find a good park (or even just a bench) to camp out and enjoy that ice cream before it melts! 

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07 of 07

Chill at Dolores Park

Tiffany K. via Yelp

Yes, it will be packed to the gills and yes you're going to be hot, but if soaking up sun rays is your number one priority, then get thee to Dolores Park. Just remember to bring your sunscreen and plenty of water! 

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