As one of the largest cities in the state of California and one of the cultural, technological, and social hubs of the entire United States, the city of San Francisco attracts many millions of visitors from all around the world. With iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and the warm waters of the bay just waiting to welcome you in, San Francisco is a popular spot for many kinds of outdoor activities, with Baker Beach being one of the top beaches in the entire Bay Area.

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Both San Francisco locals and visitors adore Baker Beach and can be seen gathering at the area each and every day, especially in the evenings when the sun starts to set. Baker Beach is so popular as it offers some of the very best views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge that you can hope to find by land. Both professional and amateur photographers can be spotted here each and every day attempting to capture a stunning shot of this world-famous landmark, with visitors young and old posing for vacation photos too and simply enjoying the relaxing sounds and beautiful sights of this picturesque spot.

History of Baker Beach

Baker Beach measures up at almost half a mile (800m in total) and can be found off Lincoln Boulevard in the Presidio national park area of San Francisco. The area famously used to be a military base, set up back in the 18th century by Spanish settlers and used all the way through until the 1990s, when it was closed down and the area was converted into a national park.

The famous Burning Man festival was held at Baker Beach for several years in the late 1980s before moving to Black Rock Desert in Nevada, and the popularity of the beach has steadily grown over the years as more and more popular see and experience its stunning views. Out of all the beaches in the Bay Area, Baker Beach sees some of the highest numbers of visitors and is regarded as a key tourist hotspot for visitors to San Francisco.

What to Do at Baker Beach, San Francisco

Unlike some other beaches in the San Francisco area, water-based activities like swimming and kayaking aren't popular or even recommended at Baker Beach due to the choppy waters and rip tides. Instead, most visitors to this beach simply rest on the sand or banks and sunbathe on sunny days, while also appreciating the beautiful views, especially of the aforementioned Golden Gate Bridge.

Due to the highly scenic nature of this location, it's a top spot for photographers of all kinds as well, and it's not uncommon to see dozens of people kneeling down and moving around to find the right spot for their next snap. People can also simply enjoy the views and surrounding scenery by walking up and down the beach itself.

Baker Beach is also conveniently located for other activities and landmarks. Due to its spot in the Presidio area, Baker Beach has easy access to areas like the Battery Chamberlain, which is the home of the last artillery battery "disappearing gun" on the entire West Coast. The gun is open for public viewing on the first weekends of each month and can be accessed easily from the Baker Beach parking lot.

Naturism is also popular on this beach and it's not rare at all to see many nudists, especially at the norther end of the beach, closest to the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s not compulsory to be naked at this beach, but public nudity is certainly a part of the Baker Beach experience that all visitors have to accept and understand.

Important Information for Baker Beach, San Francisco

Baker Beach doesn't have any admission or parking fees, but it can get very busy, especially in the summer months when tourist numbers are at their peak. Traffic around the Golden Gate Bridge area can also get quite hectic at certain times of day, so it's wise to plan your trip to Baker Beach ahead of time and choose your dates carefully to enjoy the beach at its best. Picnic tables and restrooms can be found in the parking lot, and pets are allowed, as long as they're on a leash.

Baker beach is open in the daytime but closes before sunset. It's also important to note that, due to the conditions around the area, thick fog can build up around Baker Beach at certain times of year, namely in the summer months. So if you’re thinking of planning a trip to Baker Beach to snap some photos of the Golden Gate Bridge, watch out for the fog.