Family Travel: Exploring Great National Parks from San Francisco. Photo credit: National Park Service
A trip to San Francisco doesn't mean you are simply stuck within the city.  The City by the Bay is a fantastic starting point to any number of National Park vacations.  See what's nearby for your family:

Yosemite National Park
One of the oldest national parks (designated in 1864), Yosemite National Park is a under a four hour drive from San Francisco, making it one of the most accessible from SFO.  Yosemite, located east of San Francisco in California's high Sierra range offers year-round outdoor enjoyment from an adventurous hike up Half Dome, to the short and easy walk to numerous stunning waterfalls.  Campsites and hotel rooms tend to sell out quickly at Yosemite but are worth the effort to attain.  Ready for a splurge?  Book a room at The Ahwahnee, one of the most magical and beautiful hotels I have been to across the globe. 

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Often linked together, these two parks are located just south of Yosemite.  Home to the giant Sequoia groves and the two largest trees in North America, General Grant and General Sherman, these two parks offer an expansive set of hiking trails for the outdoorsy family, and a good amount of easy walks for those traveling with small kids.  In addition to giant trees (we are talking forty-foot-wide at the base!), these parks are home to beautiful canyons, rivers, and lots of wildlife.

Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles, the newest national park in the nation's lineup, is the closest national park to San Francisco (just over two hours away).  Designated by President Obama in 2013, Pinnacles is located just southeast of San Francisco in the Gabilan Mountain range.  Unlike most national parks, Pinnacles is most popular during the colder months, making for a good change of pace to a winter vacation.  Outside of the winter months, the solitude, hiking trails, and wildlife at Pinnacles are best suited for semi-experienced hikers.
 
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Photo credit: National Park Service

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