Paddling Golden Gate Park's Stow Lake
50 Stow Lake
San Francisco, CA 94118
http://www.stowlakeboathouse.com

A fun escape gets a beautiful makeover

After loading your brain with enviro-facts at California Academy of Sciences and getting cultural at the de Young museum, consider a break to just, well, chill out for a while. Fortunately, there’s such a retreat within a quick stroll of those two outstanding museums in Golden Gate Park: Stow Lake, complete with a sparkling new fleet of rental boats for tooling around the peaceful, oversize pond.

After a 2011 hiatus, the Stow Lake Boathouse returns with a fleet of 56 new row, pedal, and electric boats, a welcome addition to the 118-year-old San Francisco attraction. After you’ve explored the secluded lake, head to the smartly revamped snack bar, offering organic hot dogs, piroshki, veggie spring rolls, and fair-trade coffee.