One of the sweetest ways to spend a few hours, and a favorite with kids, is to come here, rent a boat, and cruise around the circular Stow Lake as painters create still lifes, joggers pass along the grassy shoreline, ducks waddle around waiting to be fed, and turtles sunbathe on rocks and logs. Strawberry Hill, the 430-foot-high artificial island and highest point in the park, lies at the center of Stow Lake, and is a perfect picnic spot that boasts a bird’s-eye view of San Francisco and the bay. It also has a waterfall and a peace pagoda. For the Stow Lake Boathouse, call [tel] 415/386-2531. Boat rentals are available daily 10am to 4pm, weather permitting; you can rent a rowboats ($21.50/hour), pedal boats ($27/hour), and electric boats ($37/hour) with a $5 deposit, and there’s a snack shop there, too.
- Erika Lennert