San Francisco Beaches

Tips To Find & Visit the Best Beaches

San Francisco beaches are beautiful, but their purpose is a little different than most beaches. Since the weather here is always a little cool, there are only a few days every year that you can use the beaches in San Francisco for catching some rays.

baker beach in sf

However, it’s fun to visit them for a picnic or to just hang out and watch the waves. You can also get great views of the Golden Gate Bridge from many of them. Read on to learn more about each one and what you can expect when you visit.

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is one of the most recognized San Francisco beaches. It’s located on the western side of the city along the ocean.

It runs for several miles up the coast. It’s the best one to catch a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean.

At this one, you’ll see a few people hanging out. If the ocean is a little rough, you might even catch some surfers. You’ll also see people working out by running along the sand.

It’s usually too chilly to actually swim or lay out at this beach. However, it’s fun to head out here to take a look at the ocean. I love heading out on days when it’s stormy because that is when the bigger waves come in.

If you are lucky and the fog hasn’t rolled in yet, you might even catch a sunset. Overall, there isn’t a lot to do at Ocean Beach San Francisco, but if you have the time and want to check out the ocean at one of the largest San Francisco beaches then this is the spot to visit.

Learn more about visiting Ocean Beach.

Baker Beach

sandy stairs baker beach san francisco

Baker Beach is one of the San Francisco beaches that has amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge. This one is along the north side of the city where the Pacific Ocean and the SF bay meet.

This is also a popular spot on those few sunny, hot days in the city. Many people like to visit this one for picnics or to let their dogs play in the water.

Many people think that this is also a nude beach. It does have a section that is nude, but it’s tough to get to unless you know where you are going. The nude portion of it is up and over a hill. Few in the main section of this one are nude.

You can get to Baker Beach by driving through the Presidio. They have a nice big parking lot and it's usually pretty easy to find a spot.

Even if it's a quick trip, it's fun to come here to see the views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the beautiful scenery that surrounds it.

Find even more tips for visiting Baker Beach.

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China Beach

china beach san francisco

Another one of the San Francisco beaches is China Beach. This is a really special and beautiful beach just to the west of Baker Beach. It also isn't as well known as the other beaches in San Francisco.

This one attracts of a local crowd on a sunny day. It's usually pretty quiet at this beach although there are some people that like to swim here regularly.

This one is also a little further away. It is in the Sea Cliff residential neighborhood and along the area where the Pacific Ocean and the SF Bay meet.

However, you can get some amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge and surrounding cliffs. This is absolutely my favorite and worth the effort to get here on a nice, warm, sunny day in the city.

Find out how to get here and learn even more about what to see nearby during your visit.

Crissy Field

The Crissy Field is one of the few San Francisco beaches that is pretty busy most days. Again, it's not usually people in their suits grabbing some rays, but instead people with their dogs and/or having a picnic.

This one is in the Marina District and usually has a large number of people out for a run or walk along the trail next to it.

From here, you can get some full views and pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also get some cool shots of Alcatraz Island, Sausalito and the dome on the Palace of Fine Arts.

From either Fishermans Wharf or Union Square, you can grab the 30 Stockton or the 30X Marina Express (only runs during rush hour). Take these buses to the Broderick and Beach stop. Hop off and head north toward the water. Once you arrive at the water's edge, head west. It is only about four blocks away from the bus stop.

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Aquatic Park

Right in front of Ghirardelli Square is theAquatic Park. This is a smaller one on the western side of Fishermans Wharf.

Many people like to walk along the boardwalk of this one. It's a great place to go for a run, walk or enjoy a sunny day in the city. There is almost always plenty of seating either on the sand or the small stadium right along the water.

This is another one of the San Francisco beaches with great views of the Golden Gate bridge. In addition, you can walk out along the pier on the western side to get some clear photos of Alcatraz and Angel Islands.

Overall, the San Francisco beaches are alive with action on those rare, sunny San Francisco days. Outside of that, they are mainly used for viewing the beautiful scenery and taking some time away from the chaos of the city.

The best way to make sure you always know where you are going is by picking up one of these San Francisco pocket maps. They are easy to carry around and fit nicely into a small bag or pocket. You can then quickly pull it out to find out where you are going or do a fast check to see how you get to your next destination.

Golden Gate Bridge Photos: Are you looking for that perfect place to take a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge? Uncover some of the key spots around San Francisco where you can get that perfect shot. In addition, you will find some great photos of the Golden Gate Bridge from some of these locations.

Cable Cars: How old are the cable cars? How many lines are still running in San Francisco? Discover the answers to these questions and more about the historic San Francisco cable cars.

Ghirardelli Square: Right to the north of the beach at Aquatic Park is Ghirardelli Square. This is the location for one of the first chocolate factories in San Francisco. While the original factory moved out of the city decades ago, you can still visit the square and taste some of its sweet treats. Read on to learn more about Ghirardelli Square and find tips on what to see and do during your visit.

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