Lodge At The Presidio

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The Ultimate Guide To Staying In The Presidio

Headed to San Fransico soon? Are you looking for someplace different to stay? Check out the Presidio of San Francisco. The Inn At The Presidio, or the Lodge at the Presidio, offers comfortable, luxurious accommodations in a historic hotel in the heart of a national park. Learn more with this The Ultimate Guide To Staying In The Presidio.

San Francisco is known for beautiful hotels and restaurants, but this hotel offers a unique experience. It is a great home base for exploring the city and the surrounding area.

What Is The Presidio?

What is now a National Historic Landmark and part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area has a rich history in the Bay Area. In 1776 the Spanish established their northernmost outpost here. It wasn’t until 1846 that the U.S. Army took control. Over 148 years, the Army transformed this area into a preeminent military installation. The facility was deactivated in 1994. In 1996, Congress established the Presidio Trust to help avoid the property being sold at auction. The trust’s goal is the “preservation of the cultural and historical integrity of the Presido for public use.”

The park now has many wooded areas and incredible scenic vistas overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean. It is also home to many commercial endeavors; The Walt Disney Family Museum, Lucasfilm (founded by George Lucas of Star Wars fame), and various restaurants and hotels.

Why Stay Here?

The best reason to stay here is that there is so much to do right outside your door. The Presidio is a 1,500-acre park with over 24 miles of hiking trails, easy access to miles and miles of biking trails, art exhibitions, golf, bowling, and so much more. Plus, the sights of San Francisco are easy to reach on foot, by bike, or by public transportation. Marin, Sonoma, and Napa are all a short drive away.

The Presidio Social Club serves California comfort food and has a full bar. Featuring classic cocktails such as an old fashioned or a negroni, or try a signature cocktail like the “Shaken, not Stirred” or Oaxacan on Coals. The menu features more comfort food, such as Herb Roasted Chicken, Pappardelle with a beef “sugo,” and Club Steak Frites. Located in a converted barrack, with both indoor and outdoor dining options.

Sessions at the Presidio is another dining option. Described as a buzzy craft beer bar & New American gastropub. It offers a modern interior & outdoor seating. The restaurant has a partnership with Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. They receive fruits, vegetables, herbs & olive oil and with these ingredients, they create approachable and unique dishes. The menu includes everything from a beef bourguignon to a Sessions burger. Oh yeah, and lots of beers on tap.

Plus, there are 10 restaurants either in the Presidio or nearby.

The Inn and the Lodge offer similar amenities:

  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Evening wine & cheese reception
  • Outdoor patio & firepit
  • A front porch with rocking chairs

Rooms are comfortable with large bathrooms, comfortable beds, and clean, contemporary decor.

What we loved about our stay at the Lodge was the welcoming atmosphere. We were greeted every time we returned. The complimentary wine and snacks were a bonus. The location is incredible; we would enjoy a nightly glass of wine (or 2) with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge and sit by the firepit listening to the sounds of the fog horn. It was a quintessential Bay Area experience.

Hiking and Biking From the Presidio

What’s unique about a stay in the Presidio is that it’s almost like an urban/wilderness vacation. Here is a summary of a few of the great hikes:

The California Coastal Trail is a 1,200-mile trail running the Pacific coastline from Mexico to Oregon. This is a 2.7-mile segment starting at the 25th Avenue Gate near Baker Beach and ending at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Along this route, you will find great ocean views and finish with a great bridge view. Walking time is approximately 50 minutes and is easy to moderate.

The Park Trail runs north-south down the middle of the park. Along this 1.7-mile hike, you will cross the Presidio golf course and walk through a forest of towering eucalyptus, Monterey pine & cypress, and the National Cemetry Overlook. The estimated walk time is 30 minutes on an easy-to-moderate trail.

Batteries to Bluffs Trail is a short hike, less than a mile. But this trail snakes along the Presidio’s western shoreline. Offering expansive ocean views. This is a lovely sunset trail. Although it is less than a mile, it can be considered moderate to difficult due to the elevation change.

The Golden Gate Promenade/Bay Trail is a great biking trail. It is the northern part of the Bay Trail, connecting the Marina district to the Golden Gate Bridge. Your backdrop is the city skyline, the Marin Headlands, and the bridge. This portion is called Crissy Field, the former airfield. So it’s flat and easy to navigate. At 4.3 miles, the time to bike is about 20 minutes, and walking is about 75 minutes.

A Hike Outside The Park

A great walk connects a Presidio hike with a hike to Mile Rock Beach and Lands End Lookout. Both destinations offer great views of the Pacific and the Golden Gate Bridge. You will need to walk through the Sea Cliff neighborhood, which is an interesting addition. Beware, it is a longer walk than you think.

Biking The Golden Gate Bridge Is A Must

Biking the Golden Gate Bridge is something you don’t want to miss. You can rent bikes in the Presidio at the Sports Basement in Crissy Field. Then ride through the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. The total distance is about 8.5 miles. Biking over the bridge is manageable. It is 1.8 miles across, and the start is slightly uphill. You will share the trail with pedestrians, so be careful. At different times of the day, you travel on different sides of the bridge; I suggest doing this in the morning or early afternoon during the week. That way, you are on the east side facing the city. Also, weekends can be hectic, so a weekday affords you a slower pace for photos.

For a list of the top 10 places to take photos and enjoy magnificent views of the bridge, check out my post The Best Vista Points To View The Golden Gate Bridge.

And don’t worry about the weather. It is San Francisco, one minute covered in fog, the next a blue sky. It was raining the morning we picked up our bikes. We weren’t even sure we should do the ride. You could not see the bridge until you were right on top of it. We started across, and the sky was perfectly clear when we reached the midway point!

Golden Gate Bridge Close Up
Golden Gate Bridge Close Up

When you reach the other side of the bridge, enjoy the views from North Vista Point. Then proceed downhill to Sausalito. There are signs; follow them down Alexander Avenue, which you will share with vehicular traffic.

Sausalito is a great place for lunch and a little sightseeing. We chose Bar Bocce, which is right on the marina. The patio area surrounds a Bocce court. The pizza and salad are good, and the beer and wine are even better.

You could bike back, but the best option is to take the ferry back. It makes for a nice round trip, and the ride across the bay is incredible. Two companies operate ferries, Blue & Gold Fleet and Golden Gate Ferry. The main difference is where the ferries dock in San Francisco. I suggest taking Blue & Gold since they dock at Pier 41 on Fisherman’s Wharf, so you can explore that area and then bike back to the Presidio.

You can buy ferry tickets in advance, which is a good idea. But you must get in line with your bike, so arrive about 30 minutes before departure. On the ride, you will pass Alcatraz Island, which is an excellent way to see it up close, especially if you don’t have time for a tour.

When you dock, you will be at Fisherman’s Warf. You can use the bike lanes to meet up with the San Francisco-Bay Trail that leads back to the Presidio. On your way, stop at Ghirardelli Square and enjoy an ice cream sundae. It’s a bit touristy, but who cares.

End Your Day Back At The Presidio

After a day or two of adventure, you will love returning to the quiet of the Lodge at the Presidio. A glass of wine, a snack, and a fire awaits you. Oh, and a killer view of the city from the front porch or the Golden Gate Bridge on the back patio. It doesn’t get much better. Looking to start a Pacific Coast Highway road trip check out my post The Ultimate Road Trip: San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Below are links and resources to help you plan The perfect trip

Travel Resources

    Booking.com and Expedia.com are great resources for accommodations around the world. Book almost any hotel directly from these links.
    The best places to book tours and activities are Viator or Get Your Guide . From great food tours to guided hiking adventures to local walking tours, you will find great experiences to add to your travels here.
    EatWith is a great resource for authentic culinary experiences with passionate locals worldwide. Connecting travelers with hosts in over 130 countries, providing unique, intimate, and immersive experiences in private homes and exclusive venues.
    Trainline is Europe’s leading train and coach app. They work with over 210 rail and coach companies to help their customers travel to thousands of destinations across 45 countries. 

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