Camp at Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve

Rate this Adventure San Francisco Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve

Added by Natalie O'Connor

Be one of the first to camp on this historic land! Imagine the Presidio of San Francisco was left in no one's care, that is Mare Island Preserve.

This old Naval Base is now home to, well, almost nothing. As a weekend volunteer trip, myself and about 50 others got a little dirty creating 3 new campsites for you and your friends!

During the day, the island has hikers exploring everywhere, but the preserve closes upon sunset and it's just you and your closest friends!

Entering the island, you're greeted with haphazard signs directing you to the official entrance. After passing by many abandoned buildings, a very strange college campus, and a few blocks of a civilized town the island appears to be entirely desolate.

After 15 minutes of questioning your decision to enter this weird little town, you'll continue on to reach the visitor center. Here, check-in with Myrna, the preserve manager. If you ask her the right questions, she will give you the complete history of the land.

Take notice of the donation box at the entrance of the preserve. Most of Myrna's life work is to preserve the... preserve! Drop in a few extra dollars and get a rush of all the good feels.

The paved path will lead you back to several trails. Trails are easy, mostly even dirt and very little elevation gain. Follow the paved path until you reach the old tennis courts. Make a sharp right. 

To your left, you'll pass a bridge with rope railings. a hop, skip and jump away is one of many bomb shelters. The 2nd left leads you up a steep incline and up to the first of three camp sites. Continue along the uphill trail and around a few bends. Soon, you'll see signs for another sharp right to enter the Spirit Ship trail. Once you summit, expect incredible views of the Bay and Mt. Tam. Enjoy the sunset or sunrise here!

To book a campsite we built for you, visit Hipcamp!

Pack List

  • Standard camping essentials, but pack light!
  • Plenty of water for the duration of your stay.
  • Snacks & eats that do not require a fire.
  • Your favorite craft beer.

Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Running, Volunteering

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



1 Miles

Elev. Gain:

20 Feet


Dog Friendly
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area

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