Best natural and recreational sites in the Bay Area

If you have purchased one of the homes for sale in the Bay Area, chances are you enjoy the outdoors - Northern Californians, especially residents of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, are renowned for their natural enthusiasm and adventurous attitudes.

After you are done unpacking and have settled into a routine, get out and enjoy some of the finest parks and sites in the entire United States.

Golden Gate National Recreational Area
Named for its close proximity to the iconic red bridge, the Golden Gate National Recreational Area is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. It offers sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay and is split into two sections, one in Marin Country to the north of the city and the other section located on the San Francisco peninsula.

In both Marin and San Francisco, there are plenty of camping sites, and the temperate weather in the Bay Area means these sites typically stay open year-round. As far as buildings and monuments go, Alcatraz Island, Fort Baker and the Muir Beach Overlook can all be found under the park's protection, among many other locations.

If you want to spend some time exploring this beautiful location, contact the National Park Service to find out about special events and happenings.

San Bruno Mountain State Park
San Bruno Mountain is a very interesting sight, considering it is a natural, protected space that exists sandwiched between the urban Daly City to the west and South San Francisco to the south and east. Visitors often hike to the summit of the mountain to see the spectacular views of the surrounding cities, and the park is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon getting to know the sights of your new home. Beware, however - the mountain ridge extends for miles, and varies in elevation from 250 feet to as high as 1,314 feet at the summit, according to the park's website.

If hiking is not your preference, there is still plenty to do here. The protected land extends for more than 2,000 acres and is home to many endangered species of plants and butterflies. There are more than 12 miles of jogging, biking and riding trails as well. Head on over to 555 Guadelupe Canyon Parkway in Brisbane to explore this natural gem.

Henry W. Coe State Park
If you are looking for a more remote experience, you might be served driving southeast to Henry W. Coe State Park. Though it is possible to take a day trip here, you'd be better off spending a weekend or vacation camping and hiking in the wilderness because it's about 35 miles to the park's boundaries from San Jose.

According to its website, the park features over 87,000 acres of wilderness just begging to be explored by a new Bay Area resident. The geography varies greatly, with deep valleys climbing to forests and eventually canyons and peaks. There are hundreds of miles of hiking, backpacking, mountain biking and riding trails, so you'll never run out of activities when visiting the protected area. Coyote Creek is an especially popular tourist attraction, so be sure to check it out by heading to 9100 East Dunne Avenue in Morgan Hill.

These three parks are all great choices for anything from a leisurely daytime stroll to a hardcore week of backpacking. All three are open year-round to tourists and residents, but spring is typically the most popular visiting season. If you have just moved to the Bay Area, get a breath of fresh air at one or all of these amazing natural recreational areas.