In the hopes that April showers have truly turned to May flowers, it’s time to take your dating life outdoors. Trying the latest vegetarian joint or bonding over a biodynamic glass of wine is fine and dandy, but why not get creative and get to know each other in a more natural setting?
In my opinion, one of the best green dates in the City is renting a paddle boat at Stow Lake and powering your way around the island. Besides the appeal of enjoying a true oasis away from the hustle and bustle of city life, there’s a Huckleberry Finn adventure spirit about the place. Make your way past the exotic dragon-red Pagoda, listen to the watery echoes under the old stone bridge, or spy on turtles sunning themselves on floating logs.
Each boat is available for one hour, so a quick lunch onboard is always a nice touch. You can pick something up from the Lake House – which serves organic beverages, vegan cookies and veggie hotdogs along with its offering of candy corn and regular burgers – or pack your own picnic. For a homemade luncheon, I find it’s easy to pack fruit and pasta salads into my Tiffin To Go Ware container and take it on the boat.
After paddling around Stow Lake, walk off your sea legs by taking a stroll around the inner island, accessible by the two bridges on either side of the lake. Jump across the stones bordering the waterfall or hike up to the top for panoramic views of Golden Gate Park. With all the island birds singing and the flowers blooming, there just might be love in the air.
Stow Lake is located at 50 Stow Lake Drive in the Inner Sunset district of San Francisco. Parking is free. Paddle boat rentals are $19 an hour and can seat four. While booking your boat, be sure to sign the Stow Lake Boathouse petition to preserve the historic site and refuse the building of a commercial restaurant!