5 Places to Go Camping In (and Around)
San Francisco

wanphen chawarung/Shutterstock

While summer in San Francisco means a prolonged visit from Karl the Fog, early spring and early fall can be pretty warm (Hello 75 degree Saturday in March!), so here are some options for making s'mores and telling ghost stories without the car trip to Yosemite:

Angel Island
Beware of the dog-sized raccoons. Okay, maybe they're not that large, but everything sounds bigger in the dark. Arguably the camping locations with the best view in the Bay Area, they'll take some time to get to. Be prepared to hike to get to these scenic spots, the camp sites are a one to two-and-a-half mile jaunt from the ferry dock. You can board the ferry in S.F. or Tiburon (runs seven days a week during the summer months), and there are 10 sites that accommodate up to eight people, in addition to one group camp site that accommodates up to 20; the general sites are $30 a night, and the group site is $50. These camp sites are described as primitive, so if you definitely need a flush toilet, this isn't for you; more information can be found at reserveamerica.com.

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Hop On: Vantigo Redefines Tourism One Revamped Van Ride at a Time

All Images Courtesy of Vantigo
Sitting on the Dock by the Bay- Van Style.

As Eric Hormann gets off his day job, a project manager at a San Francisco tech start-up, his faithful companion, Lillie, waits in anticipation for the adventures that are ready to unfold.

Lillie hisses and grunts when going up the hilly regions of Nob Hill, weaves and dodges pedestrians around the famed alleys and side streets of North Beach, gleams and shines under the bright lights of the Castro, and takes frequent pit stops around Golden Gate Park and the Presidio.

By no accounts though is Lillie an animal of any kind. She is more like a pet business project of Hormann and his wife, Amy. The husband-and-wife team founded Vantigo, a tourism company that employs their beloved Lillie, a 1971 Chianti-red seven passenger Volkswagen bus that takes locals and tourists on expeditions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Since it's first ride in August 2013, Hormann has been conducting Vantigo's day-and-night 7x7 tours of San Francisco, day trips to Tomales Bay's Hog Island Oyster Company, and brewery tours along Highway 1 and through the North Bay.

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Across America: Motorcyclists' Finding Main Street's Photos on Display

Dylan Ozanich
Across America in 50+ Days.
Wyatt McCall and brothers Brant and Dylan Ozanich have really been keeping SF Weekly up to date with the wide-multimedia project Finding Main Street.

For those of you who don't know, the motorcycle trio traveled 10,500 miles through 28 states in a massive circle around the periphery of the continental United States in 55 days. They documented the sights, sounds, and people in every region along the road with photography, video, and blog writing in search of an all-American Main Street.

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On the Road: Finding Main Street's Trio Release Trailer of Cross-Country Documentary

All Images Courtesy of Dylan Ozanich
Brant Ozanich, Wyatt McCall and Dylan Ozanich chronicle their adventures in state hopping.

The motorcycle cross-country adventures of Wyatt McCall and brothers Dylan and Brant Ozanich finally have a teaser trailer of what they experienced on the road.

Finding Main Street is the collaborative project of the three San Francisco residents and recent college grads chronicling their sojourn across the United States on $500 motorcycles (purchased on Craigslist) during last summer; the trip was possible with the help of Kickstarter.

In 55 days, McCall and the Ozanich brothers traveled 10,500 miles through 28 states in a massive circle around the periphery of the continental United States. They documented the sights, sounds, and people in every region along the road with photography, video, and blog writing in search of an all-American Main Street.

See More: From S.F. to N.Y.: Finding Main Street Across America (Slideshow)

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Casting Call: Virgin America Needs Hip Dancers to Make In-Flight Safety Video

You can forget about So You Think You Can Dance ...
Let's face it -- if the plane went down for an emergency landing you'd have no clue what to do. But that's not really your fault. For as long as we've been flying on airplanes, the in-flight safety videos have been more forgettable than a political column written by Mayor Ed Lee.

But leave it to Virgin America -- the quirky San Francisco-based airline that's always trying to get you to crack a smile -- to shake it up, giving the average flyer (and above average dancer) the chance to star in the airline's next safety video.

This week, the airline put out a casting call to find "finger tutters, robot rappers, tango dancers, and animators" to audition for the safety dance (If you haven't seen the first one yet, watch it now).

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Seeing Stars: Chewbacca Instagrams his Adventures in San Francisco

When he's not protecting the galaxy, Chewbacca chills at Baker Beach.
It looks like Los Angeles and New York are no longer the home of the stars.

San Francisco has acquired a new resident who is out of this planet in fame and visibility. He is so famous that he doesn't even have a last name.

Chewbacca has landed in the City by the Bay from a galaxy far, far away and he has an Instagram account to prove it.

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Road Trip Recreation for 75th Anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath

20th Century Fox
Henry Fonda in his Academy Award nominated performance as Tom Joad in the 1940 film version of "The Grapes of Wrath"
Reaching 75 years is a momentous accomplishment and has to celebrated in a grand manner-- even if the thing being celebrated is a novel.

John Steinbeck's classic Pulitzer-Prize winning 1939 American novel The Grapes of Wrath is reaching it's diamond anniversary in 2014, and to ring in the milestone of the book that has become a staple in most high schools and universities in the United States, The National Steinbeck Center is recreating the journey of the Joads -- literally.

Well, not down to the exact details, but the center has enlisted the help of three artists in conjunction with other cultural and educational organizations to follow the Route 66 path of the fictional Joad family through real American towns in the Southwest beginning in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, and continuing through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and finishing in Bakersfield, Calif.

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Ben Pack, Insanely Tall Guy, Uses Height to Raise Money so He Can Show Off

Ben pot.jpg
Really tall
Virality is kind of a white whale in the Internet world. It's hard to engineer -- though many have tried -- and it often smiles on those who least expect it.

Take Ben Pack, for instance, the 6-foot-10 San Francisco State journalism student whose claim to fame is, well, that he's 6-foot-10. Two weeks ago, the 23-year-old senior made a Tumblr about it, after walking into a parking lot and realizing that he was tall enough to stand eye-to-eye with the "clearance" sign for truck beds.

Clearly, he had something to show the world.

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Seven Reasons Oakland Is Cooler Than We Thought

Nelson Estrada

Like many San Franciscans, we spent years convinced the world ended at the Golden Gate Bridge. We knew the 280 freeway led to Google, and heard rumors about people with yards in the East Bay, but as far as art, culture, and politics were concerned, S.F. was the place to be. But in the last few years, more and more of the cool kids have been moving across the pond to Oakland, and for good reason.

Oakland muscled in on S.F.'s cultural turf last year with the monthly street festival First Fridays. Then -- beating us at our own game -- Oakland ranked higher than San Francisco on the Advocate's list of gay-friendly cities. Here are seven reasons we should all get down in the Oaktown.

See Also:

Videos of the Day: The 10 Best Views in S.F. and Oakland

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Video of the Day: The Most Beautiful Time-Lapse of California Ever


While we were busy calling ourselves Social Media Gurus and loving vodka, videographer Jess Dunlap spent her 2012 creating this gorgeous 4-minute time-lapse video of California, titled Monolation. It features over 17,000 heart-stopping landscape photographs, and camera movements that feel somehow both sped up and as if time is standing still.

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