San Francisco Bay is one of the largest natural harbors on the Pacfic Coast of the Americas. Actually consisting of several large, interconnected bodies of water, San Francisco Bay is one of the most important waterways on the west coast of the United States. Surrounded by both densely developed cityscapes (largely to the south) and pristine wilderness (largely to the north), the bay is home to one of the most beautiful waterside vistas in the country.
The Spanish first reached the San Francisco Bay area by accident in 1769, and area was first explored in 1775. Following the Gold Rush of 1849, San Francisco became home to one of the greatest seaports on the Pacific Ocean. The bay’s two most famous sites were both constructed in the 1930s: Alcatraz Prison in 1934, and the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937. Many parts of San Francisco Bay, long overdeveloped, are now being restored to their pre-civilization state, including many of the surrounding wetlands.
San Francisco Bay actually consists of three bays (Suisun Bay, San Pablo Bay and San Francisco Bay) fed by several major rivers. Suisun and San Pablo Bays to the north are surrounded by considerable natural beauty, while San Francisco Bay to the south is where the most developed areas can be found. Highlights of the bay include the state parks of Marin County and the San Francisco skyline.
San Francisco Bay can be enjoyed from many vantages. Among the most popular places to take in the magnificent view are from the Golden Gate Bridge, or from the overlooks just north of the bridge, or from one of the many passenger ferries or tourist craft that ply the harbor (in particular the boats that run to and from Alcatraz Island). Web: www.sanfrancisco.travel (official tourism website of San Francisco).
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