A Classic View of San Francisco from a VW Bug Convertible

Seeing the sights in San Francisco is an family adventure waiting to happen. Cable cars climb steep hills so you don’t have to. Segways glide through Golden Gate Park, bikes roll along the waterfront, and now classic VW Beetle convertibles will have you turning heads during a family visit to San Francisco with kids.

Bugster San Francisco VW Tour

Seeing Coit Tower in style

The Bugster Experience

I love finding new ways to explore San Francisco. I’ve called the Bay Area home for almost twenty years and every visit to San Francisco I still find or learn something new.

Touring San Francisco takes on a whole new level of fun when you’re in a fully restored VW Bug convertible. It’s called The Bugster Experience and it doesn’t matter whether you’re 6 or 60, seeing a shiny VW Beetle brings a smile to you face. Driving one leaves you grinning for hours, maybe even days. Sitting in the back of one is something that teens text their friends to brag about.

And be ready to feel like a movie star. Comments commonly overheard from walkers at traffic lights include “sweet car,” “great car” and “cool!”

How long you cruise the streets of San Francisco is up to you, but two to three hours is a good stretch for most families. My 13 and 11-year-old fit pretty comfortably in the backseat.

San Francisco Bugster VW Tour

Hair blowing in the wind

These VW Bug Convertibles are over 50 years old and stunningly restored; they still look like beauty queens. The hardest thing to get used to was the seatbelts that buckle only across your lap. When’s the last time you’ve been in a car without shoulder belts? I don’t think my girls ever had. The feeling of freedom is a funny thing to get used to.

Forgot your sunglasses? There are extras in the Bugster just in case.

On that note, you’ll also have to get used to a clutch again. Driving a Bugster requires knowing how to drive a stick shift. If it’s been a while, have no worries, ten minutes into your drive and it’ll be old habit again.

If you’re worried about those San Francisco Hills, know that probably 90 percent of where you’ll want to go isn’t anywhere near all those hills you’ve seen on television. Bugster owner, Stan Hatfield’s happy to steer worried drivers in the flattest direction possible. He’ll also pick you up and take you back to your hotel.

Each Bugster is equipped with a GPS loaded with popular San Francisco sightseeing destinations. Just touch a button and go. If you have somewhere special you want to go, enter the address and you’ll be on your way.

San Francisco Lombard Street Bugster

Bottom of San Francisco’s Lombard Street

It’s a labor of love for Hatfield. “I drive them everyday,” says Hatfield. “They’re just a kick to drive. People come back.. and they’re just over the top.”

Each Bugster also has a remote controlled video camera mounted to the windshield to record your tour of San Francisco. At the end of your time behind the wheel, you’ll get a SD card with all of your driving exploits to share back home with family and friends. Get the popcorn ready!

You can check out a snippet of my family’s adventure below.

Dana and her family received a complimentary Bugster Experience, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own. Photos by Dana Rebmann.

Relevant Links:

Ciao Bambino recommended San Francisco family hotels

Visiting Golden Gate Park in San Francisco with kids

Review of CA Academy of Sciences with kids

Things to do in San Francisco with kids

Tips for checking out San Francisco’s tourist spots

Zeum San Francisco, a museum your kids will love

Things to do in the Presidio with children

Visiting Angel Island with kids

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