Model Yacht Clubhouse

From early March through late October, Spreckels Lake is the place to catch model yachts — both sail and power boats — in action. Home to the San Francisco Model Yacht Club, Spreckels is a manmade lake, built in 1903 and designed specifically for model yachting. You don’t have to be a member of the club to operate a boat on the lake, but you must follow Recreation and Park Department regulations; see the club’s website,, for more information. When a club member is present, the public is welcome to tour the clubhouse, built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1937. It is used to store members’ boats and for club meetings.

Members of the Model Yacht Club, founded in 1898, initially sailed their yachts on Stow Lake until traffic there became too heavy for model boating. The club moved to Spreckels Lake in 1904. The club holds regular regattas as well as some special events, including Wooden Boats on Parade and the Rubber Ducky Roundup. Club membership is open to all who are interested; you needn’t be a Bay Area resident.

Although the lake is manmade, it still provides refuge to birds and other creatures. Be sure to look for turtles sunning themselves on the concrete turtle sculpture at the lake’s west end.

Spreckels Lake is near 36th Avenue and Fulton Street in the western end of Golden Gate Park.