happyly approved

Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park

50 Stow Lake Drive East

10:00 am to 5:00 pm | Monday – Friday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm | Saturday – Sunday (last boat rental at 5:00 pm)


water-activities, hike, fun-paid-activities, run

Stow Lake is one of my favorite places in Golden Gate Park. 

I've been a few times now and always find it charming and whimsical. This man-made lake is tucked away in a forested area with paths weaving around it and a beautiful stone bridge leading you inwards towards a small island called Strawberry Hill.  Here you can see the waterfall up close and check out the Golden Gate Pavillion. The little island is also home to various birds, turtles and other creatures. Mother’s Meadow Playground is on the mainland side of the lake just on the other side of the bridge, and if you follow the paths, you'll notice creative structures, a waterfall, and many other little nooks to enjoy. 

Renting paddle boats is a popular activity here and allows you to explore the area in a totally different way.  You can even bring the pup along for a ride! It takes about an hour to leisurely cruise around the lake which is perfect, as the boat rentals are priced hourly. There is a concession stand with an indoor seating area and bathrooms on site.  The boathouse cafe offers a variety of healthy food options as well as the traditional offerings of pink popcorn and It’s-It ice cream. They also have an array of beverage options from coffee to wine.

If you are looking to rent a space for a party, meeting or even a romantic dinner, the Stow Lake Boathouse offers several options for just that! You get a beautiful view of the lake, vintage decor, and even catering options. Check their website for more information.


Restrooms Good for All Ages walking trails party rooms hiking trails meditation Lake Paddle Boats
Thoughtfully captured by:
Emily Coleman
Emily Coleman is a Jersey girl born and raised who caught the outdoor bug upon moving to Vermont to pursue a degree in Adventure Education and Environmental Studies from Green Mountain College. She spent most of her years before college deeply entrenched in the world of competitive cheerleading before discovering a passion for outdoor sports including mountain biking, white water kayaking, bikepacking, backpacking, slacklining, rock climbing, and skiing. Having been surrounded by children her entire life in her mother's daycare, she always had a strong affinity for kids. She moved to the mountains of Jackson Hole after graduating to coach for the local Kayak Club during the summers and nanny in the winters. Becoming a part of the Happy Active Family team felt like the perfect collision of her passion for building strong community bonds and encouraging an outdoor lifestyle.
More activities by Emily
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A community-built natural space with lakes, grassy knolls, walking/biking paths, and – in the winter – snow activities too.

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