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Plan your trip from San FranciscoAs the morning fog lifts, discover a relaxed city criss-crossed with trams and challenged by surprisingly steep undulations. One stretch has a gradient over the 40 percent mark (Bradford Street), while others are uphill of 35% (Romolo Place, Prentiss Street).
Walking up the city’s steepest hills, like Corona Heights or Buena Vista Park, is a real cardio kick – but it’s well worth it for the gasp-inducing vistas.
Hit Golden Gate Park for 1,000 acres of lush terrain without the need for much climbing. Amongst the roller-bladers you may come across a Japanese Tea Garden, a reservoir ideal for paddle boating, an 18-hole Frisbee golf course and a Bison Paddock.
There are also offshore adventures to be had. Leave the car at San Francisco bay and take a cruise to Alcatraz’s island jail. Duck into D-block solitary for a hair-raising step back into life as a prisoner.
A less gloomy experience lies in the Pacific. The tranquil Angel Island is reached by Blue and Gold Fleet ferry or a kayak from Sausalito on San Francisco Bay. Walking trails here wind through shady forests of evergreen oak.
Beyond San FranciscoTrade eclectic city lights for magical vistas. Head north on Route 101 from San Francisco city, crossing the luminescent Golden Gate Bridge (it’s regularly coated in 1,000 gallons of International Orange paint) and discover a world of small towns threaded with country lanes – the perfect driving ground.
Alternatively, coast northwest from the city through Berkeley, stopping to look around the famous university campus or stroll past Telegraph Avenue’s organic cafés. Continue for another 80 minutes until you reach America's wine country. Napa Valley and nearby Sonoma harbour hundreds of staggeringly attractive wineries and a selection of America’s finest restaurants, several boasting Michelin stars.