Best lakes in San Francisco

Check out the top lakes in San Francisco, reviewed and ranked by the city’s locals
1. Golden Gate Park
1. Golden Gate Park
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851 local reviews
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
+1 415-831-2700
ParkPoint of interestEstablishment
Megan
Great for a run or walk (all the way to the beach would be about ten miles from our place). The classic route…
Dillon
Go any day, any time, although Sundays are especially nice because cars are not allowed on John F. Kennedy…
Suzy(S.Y.)
50 plus blocks long starting from the Panhandle to Ocean Beach, what used to be sand dunes is a local favorite…
1. Golden Gate Park
1. Golden Gate Park
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851 local reviews
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
+1 415-831-2700
Megan
Megan
Great for a run or walk (all the way to the beach would be about ten miles from our place). The classic route is down JFK Drive, but you can…
Dillon
Dillon
Go any day, any time, although Sundays are especially nice because cars are not allowed on John F. Kennedy Drive, the park's main…
Suzy(S.Y.)
Suzy(S.Y.)
50 plus blocks long starting from the Panhandle to Ocean Beach, what used to be sand dunes is a local favorite and tourist spot with nature…
2. Stow Lake Boathouse
2. Stow Lake Boathouse
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63 local reviews
50 Stow Lake Dr E, San Francisco
Closed · Opens 10:00 AM
+1 415-386-2531
StoreRestaurantPoint of interest
Will
Stow Lake is a picturesque man-made waterway in the heart of Golden Gate Park, which offers hourly rentals of…
Jamey & Carole
Right in the center of Golden Gate Park; just beyond the museums, so parking is usually much easier. You can…
Heather
You can rent paddle or row boats here, or just walk around the lake to take in the natural beauty of this…
2. Stow Lake Boathouse
2. Stow Lake Boathouse
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63 local reviews
50 Stow Lake Dr E, San Francisco
Closed · Opens 10:00 AM
+1 415-386-2531
Will
Will
Stow Lake is a picturesque man-made waterway in the heart of Golden Gate Park, which offers hourly rentals of rowboats, paddle boats, and…
Jamey & Carole
Jamey & Carole
Right in the center of Golden Gate Park; just beyond the museums, so parking is usually much easier. You can walk around the lake (it's…
Heather
Heather
You can rent paddle or row boats here, or just walk around the lake to take in the natural beauty of this area, and drop in above the…
3. Lake Merced
3. Lake Merced
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36 local reviews
Lake Merced, San Francisco
Natural featureEstablishment
Alek
Lake Merced, a large freshwater lake in San Francisco’s southwestern corner, is the heart of a 614-acre park…
Sergei
Way too often overlooked by visitors to SF. Gorgeous lake surrounded by eucalyptus trees, where you can catch…
Janaf
Take a break from sightseeing & run, walk or bike to the lake with a jogging trail on the perimeter. It's…
3. Lake Merced
3. Lake Merced
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36 local reviews
Lake Merced, San Francisco
Alek
Alek
Lake Merced, a large freshwater lake in San Francisco’s southwestern corner, is the heart of a 614-acre park that is popular with boaters,…
Sergei
Sergei
Way too often overlooked by visitors to SF. Gorgeous lake surrounded by eucalyptus trees, where you can catch glimpses of Dragon Boats or…
Janaf
Janaf
Take a break from sightseeing & run, walk or bike to the lake with a jogging trail on the perimeter. It's beside the Harding Golf course, a…
4. Stow Lake
4. Stow Lake
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25 local reviews
Stow Lake, San Francisco
Natural featureEstablishment
Rob
A man-made lake with over a century of rich history, Stow Lake is a great place to rent paddle boats and…
Annette
Take a relaxing walk around the lake or rent a rowboat or paddleboat and view the scenery from the lake…
Vincenzo
Stow lake is a beautiful place to have a picnic or take a leisurely walk. One of my favorite things to do is…
4. Stow Lake
4. Stow Lake
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25 local reviews
Stow Lake, San Francisco
Rob
Rob
A man-made lake with over a century of rich history, Stow Lake is a great place to rent paddle boats and rowboats. Be sure to check out…
Annette
Annette
Take a relaxing walk around the lake or rent a rowboat or paddleboat and view the scenery from the lake itself. The lake can be crowded…
Vincenzo
Vincenzo
Stow lake is a beautiful place to have a picnic or take a leisurely walk. One of my favorite things to do is to rent a paddle boat and…
5. Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove
5. Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove
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27 local reviews
Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco
Closed · Opens 6:00 AM
+1 415-242-5200
ParkPoint of interestEstablishment
Alek
Experience world-class symphony, opera, dance, world music and more in an unparalleled outdoor setting. The…
Karen
Beautiful hike among redwoods and around natural Pine Lake where heron, hawks and lots of other wildlife…
Felix
Great venue for a nice hike. Lots of trees and a calming lake. Perfect for picnics. Enjoy free concerts here…
5. Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove
5. Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove
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27 local reviews
Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco
Closed · Opens 6:00 AM
+1 415-242-5200
Alek
Alek
Experience world-class symphony, opera, dance, world music and more in an unparalleled outdoor setting. The newly renovated concert meadow…
Karen
Karen
Beautiful hike among redwoods and around natural Pine Lake where heron, hawks and lots of other wildlife thrive. During summer, there are…
Felix
Felix
Great venue for a nice hike. Lots of trees and a calming lake. Perfect for picnics. Enjoy free concerts here in the summer months!
6. Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
6. Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
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217 local reviews
3301 Lyon St, San Francisco
+1 415-563-6504
Point of interestEstablishment
Heather
The only remaining structure from 1915's legendary Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the Palace of Fine…
Evelyn
Architectural relic from early last century's World Fair. Swans and ducks dot the man-made lake. Structures…
Camille
Beautiful structure, lake, and park area. Also, if you're a movie buff it appeared in Vertigo, So I Married an…
6. Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
6. Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
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217 local reviews
3301 Lyon St, San Francisco
+1 415-563-6504
Heather
Heather
The only remaining structure from 1915's legendary Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the Palace of Fine Arts is an open-air,…
Evelyn
Evelyn
Architectural relic from early last century's World Fair. Swans and ducks dot the man-made lake. Structures are awe-inspiring and well…
Camille
Camille
Beautiful structure, lake, and park area. Also, if you're a movie buff it appeared in Vertigo, So I Married an Axe Murderer, The Rock, and…
7. San Francisco Botanical Garden
7. San Francisco Botanical Garden
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77 local reviews
1199 9th Ave, San Francisco
Closed · Opens 7:30 AM
+1 415-661-1316
MuseumParkPoint of interest
Kirk
This is an incredible park with a redwood forest, succulent forest, lake, tons of incredible plants, a…
Elizabeth
Gorgeous botanical gardens with a huge variety of plants from many places. There is a lake and beautiful…
Shayla
Not worth the $7 admission fee the citizens of SF voted against. Unless you're a botanist I would skip this…
7. San Francisco Botanical Garden
7. San Francisco Botanical Garden
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77 local reviews
1199 9th Ave, San Francisco
Closed · Opens 7:30 AM
+1 415-661-1316
Kirk
Kirk
This is an incredible park with a redwood forest, succulent forest, lake, tons of incredible plants, a japanese garden and is a great place…
Elizabeth
Elizabeth
Gorgeous botanical gardens with a huge variety of plants from many places. There is a lake and beautiful pathways to stroll. It is peaceful…
Shayla
Shayla
Not worth the $7 admission fee the citizens of SF voted against. Unless you're a botanist I would skip this and go to Stow Lake instead.
8. Lake Merced Park
8. Lake Merced Park
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10 local reviews
Lake Merced Park, San Francisco
+1 415-831-2700
ParkNatural featurePoint of interest
Narasimha
Picturesque Lake Merced is essentially the backyard for Parkmerced residents. The 600-acre park is set around…
Ximena
Lake Merced, a large freshwater lake in San Francisco's southwestern corner, is the heart of a 614-acre park…
Mario
A very good place to have a picnic, walk around, and watch the sun reflect in the lake.
8. Lake Merced Park
8. Lake Merced Park
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10 local reviews
Lake Merced Park, San Francisco
+1 415-831-2700
Narasimha
Narasimha
Picturesque Lake Merced is essentially the backyard for Parkmerced residents. The 600-acre park is set around the stunning, square-mile…
Ximena
Ximena
Lake Merced, a large freshwater lake in San Francisco's southwestern corner, is the heart of a 614-acre park that is popular with boaters,…
Mario
Mario
A very good place to have a picnic, walk around, and watch the sun reflect in the lake.
9. Stow Lake
9. Stow Lake
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5 local reviews
John F Kennedy Drive, San Francisco
+1 415-831-2700
Natural featurePoint of interestEstablishment
Danielle
Walk around Stow Lake and check out the waterfall, gazebo, and wildlife! Rent a boat at the boat house for an…
Brandi
This is a beautiful manmade lake. It's a beautiful spot to walk and take in the surrounds or have a picnic.
Patrick
Row boats on the lake and hike the small islands in the center.
9. Stow Lake
9. Stow Lake
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5 local reviews
John F Kennedy Drive, San Francisco
+1 415-831-2700
Danielle
Danielle
Walk around Stow Lake and check out the waterfall, gazebo, and wildlife! Rent a boat at the boat house for an hour (~$25) if you're looking…
Brandi
Brandi
This is a beautiful manmade lake. It's a beautiful spot to walk and take in the surrounds or have a picnic.
Patrick
Patrick
Row boats on the lake and hike the small islands in the center.
10. Huntington Falls
10. Huntington Falls
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4 local reviews
Huntington Falls, San Francisco
Natural featureEstablishment
Nadine
On to the island and climbed to the top of the hill overlooking Huntington Falls (kind of like Tom Sawyer…
Igor
On to the island and climbed to the top of the hill overlooking Huntington Falls (kind of like Tom Sawyer…
10. Huntington Falls
10. Huntington Falls
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4 local reviews
Huntington Falls, San Francisco
Nadine
Nadine
On to the island and climbed to the top of the hill overlooking Huntington Falls (kind of like Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland but…
Igor
Igor
On to the island and climbed to the top of the hill overlooking Huntington Falls (kind of like Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland but…
11. TPC Harding Park
11. TPC Harding Park
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20 local reviews
99 Harding Rd, San Francisco
+1 415-664-4690
Point of interestEstablishment
Sergei
Two A+ golf courses on beautiful Lake Merced. If you have limited time and/or want a great value, play the 9…
Isaac
Take a walk after dinner and through the back door to Harding Park Gold Course by crossing a wooden bridge…
Dave
World Class Golf....right in our backyard. Beautiful course, great views of Lake Merced and Flemming is a…
11. TPC Harding Park
11. TPC Harding Park
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20 local reviews
99 Harding Rd, San Francisco
+1 415-664-4690
Sergei
Sergei
Two A+ golf courses on beautiful Lake Merced. If you have limited time and/or want a great value, play the 9 hole course called Fleming to…
Isaac
Isaac
Take a walk after dinner and through the back door to Harding Park Gold Course by crossing a wooden bridge along Lake Merced. Enjoy the…
Dave
Dave
World Class Golf....right in our backyard. Beautiful course, great views of Lake Merced and Flemming is a great 9 hole exec course inside of…
12. Spreckels Lake
12. Spreckels Lake
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6 local reviews
Spreckels Lake, San Francisco
Natural featureEstablishment
Markus
[Part of the Golden Gate Park Top 10+ Tour: Sightseeing, Park & Entertainment] A favorite attraction for all…
Liz
Gorgeous man made lake upon which model yacht races are held almost every weekend.
Val And Leif
Nice lil lake nearby.
12. Spreckels Lake
12. Spreckels Lake
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6 local reviews
Spreckels Lake, San Francisco
Markus
Markus
[Part of the Golden Gate Park Top 10+ Tour: Sightseeing, Park & Entertainment] A favorite attraction for all ages, Spreckels Lake is the…
Liz
Liz
Gorgeous man made lake upon which model yacht races are held almost every weekend.
Val And Leif
Val And Leif
Nice lil lake nearby.