In San Francisco you don’t have to go to the Pacific Ocean to spend a day on the water. Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park has offered visitors and locals an escape to nature since 1893. Located in the middle of the park, the man-made lake surrounds Strawberry Hill. To spend an afternoon in this idyllic setting, stop by the boathouse, which rents row boats and pedal boats by the hour ($20-$34), and then hit the lake. Afterward, cross the Roman Bridge and explore Strawberry Hill, where you can visit a 430-foot waterfall and a Chinese pavilion and take in views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Mount Tamalpais.
Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is full of surprises, many of which are seen off the main driveways through the park. Stow Lake is one of them. There's a sign that directs, but it's easy to miss this hidden lake in the middle of the park.
The boat house and man-made lake are over 100 years old, but well kept and perfect for a paddling and rowing about on one of the warmer San Francisco days.