San Francisco residents and visitors have a large range of beaches to choose from on a nice sunny day. Most of the beaches like Agate Beach, are great for long walks and fantastic views. Some, like Baker Beach, are so popular you might find a crowd on a sunny Sunday.
Beaches like Ford Funston are so windy most of the time that swimmers stay away, although hang gliders love it. Ocean Beach is great surfing beach and Pescadero Beach is great for spotting sea lions and collecting mussels.
1. Agate Beach Park
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Agate Beach Park is a public fishing access near the town of Bolinas in Marine County, with 2 miles of fantastic diverse beach area.
It is great place for long weekend walks – it is surrounded by wildflowers and at times you can spot sea lions and thousands of birds.
The park is best known for Duxbury Reef, which, at low tide, has huge tide pools filled with fish and other marine life.
The sandy beach is wider as you go north. but be careful not to get cut off by the incoming tide.
The best view of the area is from the bluff near the parking lot. You can see Farallon Islands when the weather permits. More California getaways.
2. Baker Beach
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Baker Beach is a mile-long scenic sandy beach stretched along the shoreline in southwest Presidio.
The beach is very popular on those rare sunny days and the PresidiGo Shuttle will take you to the shore.
Most people come to this lovely natural beach for sunbathing and for the unique view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Lands End, the Marin Headlands, and the ocean.
There are picnic tables and a few grills. As you stroll along the beach, you can spot brown pelicans, red-tailed hawks and, between the rocks in the shallow water, colorful sea stars.
If you feel like hiking on your weekend getaway, climb the Sand Ladder to the California Coastal Trail; it will link you to the Batteries to Buffs Trails and Marshall’s Beach.
3. Devil's Slide Coast
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Devil’s Slide Coast is an 8,900-acre network of marine areas and protected lands north of the Devil’s Slide Tunnel. It stretches between Half Moon Bay and Pacifica, all the way to the popular Mavericks surf break. It includes such diverse landscapes as ridgelines, beaches, bluffs, tidepools, important ocean habitats, and historic sites. The Devil’s Slide, part of the California Coastal Trail, is accessible through the Devil’s Slide Tunnel on Highway 1. The trail can also be used for horseback riding and biking and provides easy access to the coast for surfing and fishing.
4. Fort Funston Beach, Bay Area
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A part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Fort Funston Beach is located on the southernmost point on the San Francisco Pacific Coast. The beach is very windy, and the edge of the bluff offers a popular platform for hang gliders. There are scenic hiking trails running along the bluff. Two routes will take you down to the beach, whereby the most direct is the southern route, with many steps and a steep sand ladder. Once you arrive and turn left, you will get to Phillip Burton Beach. The longer northern route makes a large loop and passes by some interesting graffiti on the concrete building. There are lot of sand dollars and fossils in the sand. At the parking lot you will find a small wooden observation platform with fantastic views of the beach and the sea. Bikes and horses are allowed in the park and so are dogs on a leash.
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5. Martin's Beach, Bay Area
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Located about 10 minutes from Half Moon Bay, Martin’s Beach is a very pretty cove with a few picnic tables by the water. As you go south towards the steep cliffs, you can find some interesting caves. To reach the beach, you will have to hike down the hill to the shore. The beach is a hidden, fairly unknown spot and you might find yourself alone on its wide sandy expanse. It offers fantastic views, but the sand is often covered in seaweed, making the water less attractive for dipping. The beach has been a subject of a dispute as a rich developer bought the land around it and gated the beach access, what is against the California law. Years of lawsuits ended up in the beach being open to the public again, but no efforts have been made to make it more accessible or to provide facilities.
6. Montara State Beach, Bay Area
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Montara State Beach is located about 20 miles from San Francisco, on the San Francisco Peninsula about 8 miles from Half Moon Bay. The beach is a very popular location for surf fishing and for those who enjoy strolling along the sand and exploring the tide pools. To the south and north, the beach is surrounded by low hills. There is a lighthouse on Point Montara, which is operated by Hostelling International and offers accommodation. There are two access points to the beach from the bluff area, south of the Outrigger restaurant and a steep path on the ocean side of Highway 1. Beach fires are not allowed, dogs are allowed on a leash, and there is no camping. Things to Do in San Francisco
7. Ocean Beach, Bay Area
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Ocean Beach is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is located in the Richmond District, next to Golden Gate Park, with the Great Highway running alongside. The Cliff House and the former Sutro Baths are located at the beach’s northern end. In the spring and summer, the beach is often hidden by fog, but that does not stop the surfers and bonfire parties from enjoying this lovely sandy spot. The water at Ocean Beach is known for large waves and very strong currents, making it dangerous for swimming but a delight for serious surfers. Although the water is cold, the beach is one of the top surfing spots in the Bay Area.
8. Pescadero State Beach
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Pescadero State Beach is located along State Route 1, about 14.5 miles from Half Moon Bay and 1.5 miles from the city of Pescadero in San Mateo County. This lovely mile-long shoreline offers a mix of rocky cliffs, sandy coves, tidepools, picnic facilities, and fishing spots. Just across the highway is the Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve, popular with bird watchers and nature lovers. You can spot blue heron, deer, kites, raccoons, foxes, and skunks, which are protected in the preserve. If you keep walking north along the hard packed sandy beach, you can reach San Gregorio State Beach and Pomponio State Beach. This habitat is often occupied by harbor seals and Steller sea lions. You may also spot people collecting mussels or fishing along the shore.
9. Stinson Beach
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Stinson Beach is located about 20 miles from San Francisco next to the Mount Tamalpais State Park. Only a 35-minute drive from the Golden Gate Bridge, the beach is very popular with the residents of the San Francisco Bay Area as a fun day trip. The wonderful white sand makes Stinson Beach one of the best beaches in Northern California for swimming. It is also fun for hiking, surfing, picnicking, and generally enjoying a day in the sun. You will spot people surfing, wind surfing, hang gliding, kayaking, and enjoying other water sports. There are a few places along the beach renting the equipment if you did not bring yours. There is always a game of volleyball going on at the beach. There are also several picnic tables and grills and a few trailheads leading to Mount Tamalpais State Park. Fishing is also fun just off the beach.
10. Muir Beach
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Located three miles west of Muir Woods, on California’s beautiful pacific coast, Muir Beach comprises a pretty cove, a small beach and a lagoon area. You will need to do a little walking to reach this hidden gem – a 450 foot pedestrian bridge connects the beach to the parking area. It also offers access to the scenic Coastal Trail and the accessible Kaashi Way. If you require one, you can borrow a beach wheelchair at the parking lot, which also offers accessible parking spaces and an accessible toilet. The northern end of this beach is popular with clothing-optional visitors. Muir Beach Overlook offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean but it is not recommended for anyone who is scared of heights.
11. San Gregorio State Beach, Bay Area
San Gregorio State Beach encompasses a protected, wide sandy beach which is popular with bathers, sun-worshipers, wind-surfers and nature lovers. The areas surrounding the beach are home to a variety of shore birds and small animals – visitors are requested not to disturb these local residents. Because this is a protected state beach visitors are not allowed to camp, make fires or remove any shells, driftwood or other natural beach articles. However, you are allowed and encouraged to picnic, swim, surf and have a fun day out surrounded by nature. If you would like to stay overnight you will find campsites at two nearby parks – Half Moon Bay State Park and Butano State Park.
San Gregorio State Beach, 20063 Cabrillo Highway, San Gregorio, CA 94074, 650 726 8819
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12. Dillon Beach
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Dillon Beach is a hidden gem, nestled on 55 private acres belonging to the Dillon Beach Resort on Bodega Bay. Although the beach is private, non-residents are welcome to come and enjoy a wonderful day at the beach for a small admission fee. The resort offers all visitors a wide array of fun beach activities including swimming, surfing, kayaking, boogie boarding, boating, fishing, lounging and cycling. You can also go tide-pooling at the north end of the beach. There is a wonderful restaurant which focuses on serving fabulous local seasonal cuisine and the fully-stocked general store and surf shop supplies everything you need for a fun beach day.
Dillon Beach Resort, 1 Beach Ave, Dillon Beach, CA 94929
13. Half Moon Bay State Beach, Bay Area
At Half Moon Bay State Beach you will find 4 miles of wide sandy beaches to welcome you to one of the most picturesque state beaches in the area. There are four accessible access points where you will find parking - Francis Beach is the main hub and is home to the Half Moon Bay State Beach Campground which can accommodate tents and RV’s with electric hook ups. Francis Beach also offers day-use picnic areas, BBQ and restrooms. Half Moon Bay State Beach is great for sunbathing, fishing, swimming and there is a great Coastside Trail for hiking, jogging and biking.
Half Moon Bay State Beach, 95 Kelly Avenue, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, 800 444 7275
14. Cull Canyon Recreation Area
Cull Canyon Beach is a popular family beach and swimming facility located just a short drive from Interstate 580. The shallow water of the chlorinated lagoon area is ideal for younger children to splash around in while parents can relax on the sandy beach. There is also a deeper area for experienced swimmers to cool down and there are lifeguards on duty during the summer months, usually starting on weekends in April. (No swimming is allowed if there are no lifeguards). You will need to bring your own towels and beach chairs but there are clean restrooms and a concession stand.
Cull Canyon Beach, 18627 Cull Canyon Rd, Castro Valley, CA 94552, 888 327 2757
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15. Rockaway Beach
Rockaway Beach is a broad crescent of sand and sea tucked between 2 rocky outcrops in Pacifica. This brown-sand beach is a favorite haunt of surfers and shoreline fishermen, but when the tide comes in it leaves very little of the sandy beach exposed. The beach is surrounded by hotels and restaurants where you can stay or eat. Besides enjoying the sun, visitors to Rockaway Beach can go hiking along 2 trails at either end of the beach or explore the paved bike path which runs behind the beach and is suitable for wheelchairs, buggies, walkers and runners. There is a parking lot at Old Country Rd which offers access to the widest section of the beach.
Rockaway Beach, Cabrillo Highway and Rockaway Beach Avenue, Pacifica, CA 94044
16. Thornton State Beach, Bay Area
You will find Thornton State Beach in a remote area just south of San Francisco Bay. The beach is protected by tall bluffs and is mainly popular with hikers and horse-back riders. If you want to access the sandy beach you will need to navigate a steep pathway which leads down from the parking area. However, on a good day it is absolutely worth the effort to reach this quiet and relaxing piece of coastline. As is typical on this stretch of the coast, the waters off Thornton State Beach are really cold and you will need a wetsuit if you want to venture into the surf.
Thornton State Beach, Thornton Beach Road, Daly City, CA 94015
17. Crissy Field East Beach, San Francisco
Crissy Field East Beach is located in what is known as the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This wonderful beach offers amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island and Alcatraz across San Francisco Bay. On sunny days this wide and sandy beach is always crowded with beach goers. The beach is backed by wide lawns and playing fields and offers safe swimming and plenty of fun beach activities including wind surfing, kite boarding, walking, running, sun-bathing and biking. The near-by Crissy Marsh is a haven for birds and is very popular with birding enthusiasts – you can enjoy various trails and observation platforms.
Crissy Field East Beach, 1199 East Beach, San Francisco, CA 94129
18. Mile Rock Beach
Located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Mile Rock Beach is a secluded little gem which very few people take the trouble to visit. You reach the beach via a 1.64 mile out-and-back hike along the Land’s End Coastal Trail. Once you have made it down the steep pathway to the beach you can look forward to solitude (usually) and stunning views. If you are still in the mood to explore, you can follow a small trail to a lookout area which offers excellent views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Baker Beach. Mile Rock Beach is also dog-friendly which means your best buddy can join in the adventure.
Mile Rock Beach, San Francisco, CA 94129
19. Pistachio Beach, Pescadero
You will find Pistachio Beach just north of the Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park, where it offers a broad sandy beach ideal for sun-bathing. While no camping or fires are allowed on state beaches, Pistachio Beach is ideal for a picnic. Like many of the beaches in the area, you will need to walk a little distance to reach the sand – a short trails leads past a farm with a barn and you will be able to spot the Light Station to your south. The best time to visit Pistachio Beach is at low tide when you will be able to explore the rock pools at both ends of the beach.
Pistachio Beach, 9050 Cabrillo Hwy, Pescadero, CA 94060
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20. Rodeo Beach, Bay Area
Picturesquely nestled between Fort Cronkite and the Rodeo lagoon, Rodeo beach is a pretty pebbled beach which is popular with surfers. The lagoon side is ideal for young children to paddle and splash while parents relax in the sun. The beach has on-site BBQ’s and picnic tables – you can bring along a feast to enjoy against this beautiful backdrop. There are several trails for hikers to explore – anything from an hour to a half-day hike either inland or along the coast. While Rodeo Beach is a delight to visit it is under threat from global warming – as ocean levels rise barrier beaches like Rodeo Beach could disappear beneath the ocean.
Rodeo Beach, 1049 Mitchell Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965
21. Ross Cove Beach
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Located between Half Moon Bay and the town of Moss Beach, Ross Cove Beach is on the north side of Pillar Point. The palm-fringed beach is about a mile long and is a lovely crescent shape, which is probably responsible for the dramatic crashing waves which are often encountered at high tide. The beach is protected by substantial bluffs, which means that it is often warmer here than some other near-by beaches. The bluffs are home to the Pillar Point Bluff Park where you can go hiking, jogging or dog-walking. While the beach is ideal for sun-bathing you should not consider swimming due to strong currents.
Ross Cove Beach, 280 W. Point Street, Moss Beach, CA 94038
22. China Beach, Bay Area
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Located in San Francisco’s Sea Cliff neighborhood, China beach is a small cove which you will find nestled between Baker Beach and Lands End. The name is derived from the cove’s former use as a campsite for Chinese fishermen. You can access the beach from the end of Sea Cliff Avenue. China Beach is brilliant for sun-bathing and relaxing as it is protected on 2 sides by rock walls. You can enjoy wonderful views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge as you soak up some sun. Unfortunately, swimming and wading are discouraged due to strong currents. The beach is great for tide-pooling at low tide and there are restrooms, showers and picnic tables.
China Beach, 340 Sea Cliff Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94121
23. Gazos Creek Beach
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You can access Gazos Creek Beach from the northern end of the Ano Neuvo State Reserve. There is a designated parking lot and you will need to follow a short trail down to the beach. There is a pretty lagoon area where the Gazos Creek empties onto the beach, where you will find many birds. The beach is ideal for sunbathing and picnicking and attracts many kite surfers and wind surfers. You can enjoy views of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse to the north. If you fancy a meal or a drink you can visit the Highway 1 Brewing Company which is located close to the Gazos Creek Gas Station and the northern parking lot.
Gazos Creek Beach, Gazos Creek Road, Pescadero, CA 94060
24. Kehoe Beach, Inverness
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A wide and sandy beach greets visitors to Kehoe Beach in Inverness. A great place to commune with nature, Kehoe Beach is seldom crowded as you need to hike in for about half a mile from the parking spaces along Pierce Point Road. While many folk could not be bothered to take the trouble, those who do visit will be amply rewarded. You can spend several hours exploring the beach, dunes, and hiking trails. The beach is great for beachcombing and walking along the lengthy shoreline. Dogs are allowed on the northern part of the beach and there are clean restrooms.
Kehoe Beach, Pierce Point Road, Inverness, CA 94937
25. Aquatic Park Cove, San Francisco
Conveniently located at the end of the Hyde Street Cable Car Line, Aquatic Cove Beach is a narrow sandy strip of beach backed by a grassy park. The beach forms part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park and you can easily access the Marine Museum from the beach. The amenities on this beach include a grassy park, the pier, the museum, a walking path and benches from which to admire the views. You can enjoy swimming and sunbathing on the beach and boating is also available. For a change from sun worshiping, visitors can take a tour of some of the historic ships which are moored nearby.
Aquatic Park Cove, Beach St. and Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109
The 25 Most Beautiful Seaside Spots in the Bay Area & Fun things to do near me today:
- 1. Agate Beach Park
- 2. Baker Beach
- 3. Devil's Slide Coast
- 4. Fort Funston Beach, Bay Area
- 5. Martin's Beach, Bay Area
- 6. Montara State Beach, Bay Area
- 7. Ocean Beach, Bay Area
- 8. Pescadero State Beach
- 9. Stinson Beach
- 10. Muir Beach
- 11. San Gregorio State Beach, Bay Area
- 12. Dillon Beach
- 13. Half Moon Bay State Beach, Bay Area
- 14. Cull Canyon Recreation Area
- 15. Rockaway Beach
- 16. Thornton State Beach, Bay Area
- 17. Crissy Field East Beach, San Francisco
- 18. Mile Rock Beach
- 19. Pistachio Beach, Pescadero
- 20. Rodeo Beach, Bay Area
- 21. Ross Cove Beach
- 22. China Beach, Bay Area
- 23. Gazos Creek Beach
- 24. Kehoe Beach, Inverness
- 25. Aquatic Park Cove, San Francisco