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Bay Area Books
As with all things of great beauty, the Bay Area has inspired libraries full of books over the years -- novels, histories, guidebooks, poetry and more. Following is a sampling of some particular favorites.

Outdoor Activities
History and Culture | Environment | Outdoor Activities | Fiction and Poetry
California Wildlife Viewing Guide
Photo of book cover   by Jeanne L. Clark

This useful handbook will steer nature lovers to the state's best places to see wildlife. The Bay Area is well represented, with dozens of parks, reserves, and sanctuaries identified. Many are little known. The directions are clear and viewing information helpful. Color photos catalogue the state's abundant diversity of wildlife. --Dwight Holing

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A Walker's Yearbook: 52 Seasonal Walks in the San Francisco Bay Area
Photo of book cover   by Margot Patterson Doss

Now in its third edition, this book has become a trusted companion for the Bay Area's devoted walkers. Using the changing seasons as a guide, it leads readers on a series of walks spotlighting some of the region's most beautiful and fascinating areas. The walks can be taken on their own, at any time. Or ambitious readers can take one walk a week for an entire year. The reward will be an expanded perspective on the amazing beauty, variety, and complexity of the Bay Area. --NRDC Staff

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Birds of San Francisco and the Bay Area
Photo of book cover   by Chris C. Fisher, Joseph Morlan

A helpful introduction and quick reference guide to the region's many birds, this book's detailed illustrations make quick identifications easy. It covers 125 species in and near San Francisco, with information on their habitat, features, and songs and calls, as well as tips on finding the region's best birding spots. Part of a series of Birds of ... books, mostly covering the West Coast. --DH

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Marin Headlands: Portals of Time
Photo of book cover   by Harold and Ann Lawrence Gilliam

A short trip from San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge leads to the Marin Headlands, 15 square miles of beaches, cliffs, and valleys whose peace and calm contrast sharply with the nearby urban thrum. This book is an indispensable guide to the headlands, describing the area's natural and cultural history with the aid of lavish illustrations and photographs. --NRDC Staff

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San Francisco Bay Shoreline Guide
Photo of book cover   Edited by Rasa Gustaitis, written by Jerry Emory

This beautiful handbook, produced by the California State Coastal Conservancy, is essential for anyone who wants to get to know the bay. The first comprehensive guide to the entire San Francisco Bay shoreline, it provides directions to the entire 400-mile Bay Trail route, along with hundreds of descriptions of the bay's wildlife, history, geography, and geology. --NRDC Staff

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East Bay Trails: Outdoor Adventures in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
Photo of book cover   by David Weintraub

This comprehensive guide is a must-have for anyone interested in hiking -- or biking, walking, or riding a horse -- through Alameda or Contra Costa counties. Filled with practical details (level of difficulty, length, and estimated time needed), the book describes 53 trails in the East Bay parklands. Its maps, photographs, historical information, and descriptions of local plants and animals will inspire you to get out and explore this area -- and give you the information to make the most of your outings. --NRDC Staff

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North Bay Trails: Outdoor Adventures in Marin, Napa, & Sonoma Counties
Photo of book cover   by David Weintraub

The first comprehensive hiking guide for the parklands north of San Francisco, this book covers popular areas like Mount Tamalpais and Point Reyes National Seashore, as well as less familiar spots in the Wine Country and on the Sonoma coast. The book provides a wealth of practical information on 56 trails (including driving directions from major North Bay highways), plus maps, photographs, and descriptions of wildlife and scenic views. --NRDC Staff

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Dwight Holing is a Bay Area writer who specializes in environmental, natural history, and travel topics.