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20 Bay Area Outdoor Activities You’ve Never Heard Of

Recommended by the American College of Sport Science, adults need 150 minutes of exercise a week. We often eat too much for how little we move. If you are looking to lose fat you will need an average of 250 minutes of moderate-intensity, which only comes out to about 50 minutes a day for 5 days. Think of fat loss and not weight loss. We are blessed and live in an area in which has many different activities. Bay Area outdoor activities can supply you with all the exercise you need while having fun.

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You may be wondering, who has the time! Many of us have responsibilities from taking care of your kids, working, and making sure dinner is cooked. Sounds like a lot to make sure it is done all within 24 hours. Doing some math, there are 24 hours in a day minus 8 hours for sleep. You are left with 16 hours in your day. From those 16 hours you will approximately use 10 hours for work (including commuting.) Now you are left with 6 hours, but you have to take your kids to soccer practice and piano lesson.

Long story short an hour workout is only 4% of your day.


You have to look at exercise as you would a doctor appointment. You wouldn’t be late to a doctor’s appointment. It’s about time management and how much emphasis you put on your own health. Exercise is often neglected until there is perceived seriousness. Don’t put your health on the back burner.

Now let’s break it down. Look at your lifestyle. Do you work a desk job, or a job that is not physically demanding? If so, a sedentary person will only average 1,000-3,000 steps a day. One’s goal should be to try and hit 10,000 which equates to near 5 miles. An easy way to track your steps is simply looking at your phone under a “health” app (go ahead, pull out your phone).

When I was a college soccer player it was always easy getting 10,000 steps a day without even thinking twice about it. Now that my collegiate career is over I noticed I am more sedentary than I should be. We all have been there to make excuses throughout the day. Recently I have put forth more of an effort to make sure I am getting 10,000 steps a day. Throughout my day when I am at work I will make a trip to the bathroom, go talk to people in the office all in efforts to make sure I am not seated for hours on end. I am not saying go train for a marathon. Start with little efforts and soon you will look back and laugh at the fact that you were only getting 3,000 steps daily.

Hopefully you just gave a sigh of relief because you are above 10,000. If not, don’t worry, everyone has room for improvement! Another way to track your steps, a more accurate way is to buy a pedometer. The purpose of this is to not shoot yourself down because you are not at 10,000 steps, but to get you moving! There are a ton of different things you can do to stay active for at least 50 minutes a day, AND hitting over your 10,000 steps. Often we look at exercise that has to be this strenuous activity putting your body through the toughest programs. The key to success and program adherence is going to be when you make exercise something enjoyable.

I found out that during the week I get tired of staring at white walls, I feel like many of you may be able to relate. In return it has made me appreciate the outdoors 10 times more than usual. I find myself going for hikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains, taking time to do yoga on the beach, and even just parking a little bit further from the store to get extra steps in.

If you’re looking for some funivities to get some extra steps in the Bay Area, here are 20 must do things!

20 Bay Area Outdoor Activities

1) Bike the Golden Gate to Sausalito Have you ever biked across the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge? If you’re not scared of heights, I personally recommend this. Often we go to the City and get overwhelmed by the large amounts of people, but not truly enjoying the nature surrounding us. Although San Francisco is a huge city, we have to take the opportunity to cruise across the Bay, and visit the Redwoods. If you enjoy seafood there are many restaurants along the way. I would recommend Hog Island Oyster Co.

Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Hour, San Francisco, California, Backlight
Bay Area, Golden Gate Bridge

2) Hike Cosumnes River Gorge Thankfully we live in a state that you can travel couple hours and view all different terrains. Located just south of Lake Tahoe you can experience hiking, climbing, and a rewarding swimming hole.

Bay Area Outdoor Hiking

3) Beat The Lock Escape Rooms
Do you remember ever wanting to be on Fear Factor? It is now brought to life in Santa Clara! Although this is outdoors technically, you are still out of your house and moving! Which is what is most important. This can be used as a team building activity or just you and your friends wanting to do something different with your Friday night. Escape Rooms is interactive experience where you have to piece together clues to escape the room!

Backlit door opening

4) 5K Color in Motion– San Jose Sept 10th Tired of the same ol’ 5K run with just a t-shirt at the finish line? This 5K gives you the experience of getting active while being covered in paint with your friends and family. Located just in San Jose. Register ahead of time while prices stay low!

Italy, Toscana (Tuscany), Firenze (Florence) . Color Run Firenze 2015
Bay Area, Color in Motion 5K

5) 5K Step Out– San Jose Oct 1st Step Out 5K is a little different type of walk/race. This race brings awareness of Diabetes while helping raise money for the cause. There will be music, food, and activities for the kids!

6) 5K Run with Zombies- San Jose Oct 29th Ahhh! Zombies! I know you intial thought, “I don’t want to be chased by a zombie.” This walk/race is just a dress up 5K. You will not be chased by a zombie, even if you would like to be. There will be face painting on site but I would like to see who can be the scariest. Send us your zombie pictures if you end up joining the event.

Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden, Scandinavia, Europe
Bay Area, Zombie 5K Run

7) Find Nature at Lands End Looking for new place to hike? Love to hike? Well look no further. This hike is especially noteworthy.  My friends and I hike here frequently. One of the most adventurous and prettiest hikes (I think personally so I am bias). There is sightseeing from birds, to rocky statues, and of course the Bay. Along the trails there are places to stop and have a picnic, so bring some snacks so you can enjoy it all day.

Bay Area Outdoor, Lands End Labyrinth

8) Hike at Devil’s Gulch For those of you that are up to the challenge Devil’s Gulch is the place to hike. In addition to getting your steps in, this trail supplies you with great views! The hike consists of just a little more than 6 miles. I would plan on saving half your day for this trip. Don’t let the name fool you, it is a beautiful hike located near Taylorville.

9) Main Street Dog Agility Park Having a dog not only brings you a companion, but also forces you to be more active. Main street dog park is a well layout agility course for your dog to run around, the bonus of an agility course is that you run with your dog! The address is: 1295 Main St, Redwood City, CA 94063 Remember to bring treats!

This berner like to jump through agility training hoops. She often falls.
Bay Area Dog Agility Course

10) Get in touch with your inner self at Tassajara Technology is currently running the world. Sometimes we need to take the time to unplug and recharge. Step away from your computer devices and step into a world of Zen. Zen is a type of meditation. Meditation has proven to help with style levels, and anxiety. At Tassajara they are open from September – April performing different practices. From mediation movement, channeling your inner self, to learning about your aging body.

A woman meditates with an instructor in The Spa?s Yoga Pavilion at Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi. Thailand.
Bay Area Outdoor Activity, Yoga

11) Sunnyvale Farmers Market Support your local farmer’s market purchases fresh fruits, vegetables, and much more. Running year-round from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm Sunnyvale’s Farmers Market is blossoming from the great vendor to street entertainment. Therefore, there is no need to leave a carbon footprint when there is fresh affordable foods outside your door.

12) Life size Monopoly in the Park Do you remember sitting with your family playing one of the most popular board games? Well, it is now brought to life! Life size Monopoly you play with jumbo dice, and top hats. Monopoly pieces are life size and props weight up to 230 pounds! (Dont worry, you don’t have to move them.) This is great for a day out with the family, reunion, or a team bonding. Official short game rules apply. The only catch is that you need to sign up 30 days ahead of time. You can register online and use Paypal to sign up. Fun fact: Locally in San Jose they made the Guinness Book of World Records for the 930 square foot custom granite game board. Don’t miss out.

13) Kayaking with Otters The best way to experience the sea is to actually see what it has to offer. Getting outside and doing adventurous activities utilized where we live. We often go day to day not appreciating the beautiful state we live in. Just down the road in Monterey there are tons of Otters, but who has actually taken the time to paddle out and float with the otters. Who doesn’t like a little cute Otter? Monterey supplies guided tours for 2 hours showing you the different things the sea has to offer. With no experience needed this is a great way to get outside and gain knowledge of what is in your backyard.

Two southern sea otters wrap themselves in eel grass in Elkhorn Slough, California.
Bay Area, Monterey

14) Without a Paddle Recalling the movie Without a Paddle I get a little hesitant thinking of actually rafting through a river. When I was younger my family made a trip up to the American River and we endured 10 miles, 3 rapids, and had a blast. If I could do this river when I was ten anyone can. The only thing I regret is that I CRAVE this adventure again. Located just 3 hours North of San Francisco there is no excuse in not getting back out there. The tours are fun, and exhilarating. Due to the different types and length of tours, you can decide on either ½ day, 1 day or 2 days. There are two different types of tours, one of beginner, and one labeled for “adventurous” beginners.

15) Cataract Falls The name just says it all. Marin is known for the beautiful hikes with waterfalls. In addition to Cataract Falls, There are about 10 different options in which you can choose from but I am going to recommend Cataract Falls personally. The hike is only 3 miles until you reach the falls. Along the way they do have restrooms for an emergency pit stop. What I find awesome about this hike is that dogs are allowed! Most trails would prefer that our furry friends do not come along.

16) Backpack to the Ventana Wilderness’ Sykes Hot Springs Another great spot, if you are looking for something a little more in length with great views? Ventana Wilderness’ Skyes is 20 miles passing 3 different hot springs. If you’re thinking that 20 miles is too much but you like the idea of seeing all 3 hot springs, well don’t you worry. Ventana contains 3 campgrounds along your path.

17) Hike to Alamere Falls Okay okay.. First of all, as you see I love waterfalls so here is another great spot. This hike is only about 8.5 miles, a little happy-medium. Most of all, you can enjoy the beautiful different terrains from forest, to desert tails, and finally taking a refreshing swim in Bass lake.

Bay Area, San Francisco Hiking

18) Jump your way at Sky high sports This place will make you bounce off the walls. If you are looking for a place to take your kids because they spend endless hours playing video games and sitting in front of a TV, Sky High is open from 9:00 am-10:00 pm. Indoor trampoline basketball, dodge ball, to a giant foam pit this is a great place to take your kids. And don’t forget to sign the waiver before heading over to save you some time!

19) Paddle, Kayak, or do Yoga at Shoreline Aquatic Center Not sure if you want to go boating, paddle boarding, or kayaking? Shoreline Aquatic Center has it all. They offer a variety of different activities you can do on the water. If you’re looking for a fun summer camps for the kids they also offer a gateway for 5-11 year old. Also they have a group-on deal!

20) Go for a swim at George F. Haines International Swim Center As the Olympics are coming up it’s time to brush up on our swimming and diving. As many of us know cardiorespiratory exercise is heart healthy. But what happens when you have bad knees, hips or joints? Well being active does not always have to be hard on your body. Have a bad knee, bad hips or maybe both? Swimming is a great low impact exercise that will get your heart rate pumping!

Finally, achieving 250 minutes of exercise a week does not have to be complicated. The Bay Area has many outdoor activities. The key is going to be consistency and simplicity. When you are at work there are still ways to get moving, most of all we have to utilizes the beauty that the bay area has to offer. If you find yourself getting minimal exercise during the week, try make the extra effort on the weekends. Exercise is not only beneficial for your physical health, but also your mental health. Research shows that it helps with depression, anxiety, and stress. Challenge your friends and get out there!

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