Japanese Tea Garden – Golden Gate Park (credit: Randy Yagi)

The air is getting cooler, the days are getting shorter, and we are beginning to see the shift in colors from summer to fall.  While many may argue the best place in the United States to watch this change is New England, there are several wondrous and beautiful destinations to see the oranges and browns the season brings right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. We take a look at some of the best the Bay has to offer, from the North Bay to the East Bay, through San Francisco all the way to the South Bay. All are family friendly, with several activities to keep the little ones happy along with you.

Japanese Tea Garden
75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 752-1171

One of the many treasures throughout Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, the Japanese Tea Garden is a perfect and unique spot to see the autumn colors come to light. The beautifully crafted and maintained traditional Japanese architecture is worth the trip in itself with pagodas, a drum bridge, sculptures and a koi pond. Sit back and have a cup of tea surrounded by the amazing atmosphere.

Gabriel Farm
3175 Sullivan Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472
(707) 829-0617

The autumn and fall season not only bring different colors but at Gabriel Farm the season also brings harvest time to this fun destination. While you can come to tour the farm, which includes the tasting of their seasonal fruit, for a bit more of an expense you can become a member of their U-Pick program to bring the farm experience to life, enabling you to pick the fruit right from the orchard. September and October bring Asian Pears, apples, blackberries, tomatoes, raspberries and flowers, with November making persimmons and pineapple guava available. It is truly a unique seasonal experience.

Hakone Gardens
21000 Big Basin Way
Saratoga, CA 95070
(408) 741-4994

With much of the same beauty that you find at San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden, Hakone Gardens expands the magnificence to 18 acres in the Saratoga hills of Silicon Valley.  Along with docent-led tours and a traditional tea ceremony, the grounds are available for weddings and events, a favorite among corporations in the Valley. Hakone Gardens also has annual events drawing crowds, including a traditional Chakai (Japanese tea) and a Shamisen Concert.

Shoup Park
400 University Ave.
Los Altos, CA 94022
(650) 947-2738

In Los Altos, Shoup Park is an ideal location to end the summer and bring on the fall season.  The native Californian knows the fortune we have with Indian Summers, and Shoup takes full advantage of that. While you can see the color change, the warmth allows you to extend the summer traditions of BBQ and family gatherings in the park. There is also a community center, the Garden House, for the larger events such as weddings, and a vast outdoor BBQ area accommodating up to 75 people.

Tilden Park
2501 Grizzly Peak Blvd.
Orinda, CA 94563
(510) 544-2747

Located in the East Bay, Tilden Park is your one-stop destination for everything you could want in the fall season with your family. Experiences are boundless with a botanic garden, merry-go-round, a steam train, Lake Anza to cool yourself off, and of course, the beautiful scenery. Along with an environmental education center, Tilden Park also has a Little Farm, which includes cows, goats, sheep, pigs and rabbits. Camping is available, as well as several trails to go hiking.

Andrew Wilson started a music webzine to photograph and write about his favorite artists. He quickly notoriety as both a writer and photographer, and has since been published to a variety of national news sites. Andrew resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and is pursuing a degree in landscape photography.