28 Best Beaches in The San Francisco Bay Area
If you’re looking for the best beaches in San Francisco Bay Area, look no further. Below is the compiled list of 29 beaches from San Francisco that satisfy your craving for a day at the beach. We’ve got everything from sandy shores to rocky coves—and more!
- Baker Beach
Baker Beach is a beach on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco. It is located in Golden Gate National Recreation Area and south of Lincoln Boulevard. The beach is a popular tourist destination, with many visitors coming to see its views of San Francisco and its rugged coastline. This beach provides mesmerizing sunset views and many other engaging options for everyone in the family.
His wife named the park for Captain George N. Baker after their son, born there in 1872 at Fort Point. He later became one of America’s greatest naval heroes: Admiral David Farragut!
- Sutro Baths
Sutro Baths are a beautiful beach in San Francisco. They’re one of the most famous beaches in California, and it’s easy to see why: they have a sandy beach with an attractive rocky shoreline. There’s also lots of space for sunbathing or swimming if you want to get your exercise out of the way before heading home!
Sutro Baths are located at 2261 Filbert Street (between Masonic Avenue & Alabama Street), just minutes from downtown San Francisco. You’ll find several facilities & amenities here that will make your trip more enjoyable; this includes restrooms, showers and changing rooms, food vendors selling drinks, and souvenirs like hats & t-shirts!
- Ocean Beach
Ocean Beach is located on the west coast of San Francisco Bay. It’s adjacent to Golden Gate Park, Richmond, and Sunset District. The former Sutro Baths site and the Cliff House sit at the northern end. The beach is a popular destination amongst tourists and locals, thanks to its location near major attractions such as Alcatraz Island, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Fort Point National Historic Site.
Ocean Beach has been featured in movies including “The Graduate” (1967), “Almost Famous” (2000), “Blades of Glory” (2007), “Jackass 3D” (2010), as well as television shows like Friends (“The One With All The Kissing”) or Gilmore Girls (“Lorelai’s Wedding”).
- Muir Beach
Muir Beach is a beach on the Pacific coast of California, located north of San Francisco. It is named for John Muir.
Muir Beach is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and has been closed since 2017 due to damage caused by storms that year. When it reopens, this popular spot will be accessible only via boat or kayak (biking is not allowed).
- San Gregorio State Beach
San Gregorio State Beach is a great place to spend the day. It’s on Highway 1, so you can quickly get there anywhere in the Bay Area. There are many trails to explore, and many surfers and beachgoers come here every weekend.
This beach has plenty going for it—it’s not just about being able to walk along the shoreline or go surfing; this place also has some lovely views that make it worth checking out!
- Dillon Beach
Dillon Beach is a beach in Marin County, California. It is in the south of Stinson Beach and north of Bolinas Lagoon.
Dillon Beach is a popular destination for surfers and sunbathers alike. The area was the setting for the surfing scenes in “Blue Crush,” which starred Lisa Kudrow (who also owns a house on the shoreline). The beach is near Drakes Bay, a marine protected area home to many marine mammals, including humpback whales and elephant seals.
Dillon Beach is a small beach town known for its hiking trails and sea lions. It’s a great place to go if you’re looking for a quiet spot with lots of wildlife and tide pools. If surfing isn’t your thing, plenty of hiking trails along the coast will take you over cliffs and through meadows as far as the eye can see.
- Stinson Beach
Stinson Beach is a beach in Marin County, California, United States, located about 10 miles (16 km) west-southwest of Bolinas and 20 miles (32 km) northwest of San Francisco. The community consists of one public street, Stinson Beach Road, which runs from Bolinas to Muir Beach. The area’s name comes from Charles Stinson, who opened up the land that would become this area in 1887 as part of his dream to create a resort town for wealthy San Franciscans.
Several names throughout its history have known the present-day Stinson Beach: “Stinson” for its founder; “Steinbeck” after John Steinbeck; “Stony Point,” referring to a rocky point on Tomales Bay where people could fish or swim; and finally simply just “Stoney Point” which was used until around 1920 when it became official through incorporation into Marin County government records.
- Half Moon Bay State Beach
Half Moon Bay State Beach is an excellent getaway for anyone looking for a relaxing beach experience. Located just east of San Francisco, this state park offers plenty of outdoor activities and spacious areas to enjoy your time on the sand.
The best part about Half Moon Bay State Beach is its location: it’s close enough to drive or take public transportation but far enough away from big cities that you don’t feel like you’re in one. You can also benefit from its proximity by renting bikes or hiking nearby trails like Goat Rock Park and Tamalpais-Homestead Valley Reserve (which features a loop trail). If you’re interested in something more active than just relaxing on the sand, plenty of opportunities are available here!
- Pescadero State Beach
Pescadero State Beach is a state beach in Pescadero, California. It is located 13 miles south of Half Moon Bay at the mouth of Pescadero Creek and spans nearly two miles of shoreline. The beach is famous for surfing, swimming, fishing, and camping.
Pescadero State Beach offers various accommodations, including RV campgrounds with hookups (RV Camping). The cabins are also available for rent, and tent camping sites with no electricity or water connections, but they do have restrooms nearby if you don’t mind taking care of your business outside.
- Black Sands Beach
Black Sands Beach is located in Bolinas and has a small parking lot. The sand here is black, so if you’re looking for an all-black beach, this is it! It’s also one of the area’s most attractive and famous beaches for families. There are no facilities at Black Sands Beach (no bathroom or showers), so bring your food and water when you go down there.
There’s only one other person there on any given day—you’ll likely have the place to yourself except for maybe some distant seagulls flying overhead. If that’s not good enough to keep your attention focused on what’s happening right now instead of what could happen tomorrow or next week, then maybe this isn’t the right place for you.
- Cull Canyon
Cull Canyon is a small beach in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s between Daly City and San Francisco International Airport, just north of San Bruno Mountain State Park. You can reach the beach by taking Highway 101 North or South, then taking State Route U-1A (eastbound) to make a left turn onto Cull Canyon Parkway until you see signs for “Cull Canyon Beach Park” on your right.
If you park at the gatehouse, plenty of parking spaces will be available for day visitors (we recommend coming early). Still, if you want to camp out overnight with friends or family members who aren’t driving up here themselves—or if there are other reasons why someone might need extra room for people—you’ll have another option of camping at nearby Beaches Campground & RV Park.
- Rockaway Beach
Rockaway Beach is a small beach with a rocky shoreline, so it’s not ideal for swimming. Plenty of beaches in the area are much more accessible to non-swimmers and dog owners. Still, if you’re looking for a place where your kids can play on the sand without worrying about rocks coming up from beneath their feet, Rockaway Beach might be what you’re looking for, creating mesmerizing memories.
The beach here has picnic tables and barbecue grills available for those who want to cook food before heading out onto the water or returning home after spending time at one of San Francisco Bay Area’s many other great beaches! For those who don’t own vehicles but still want easy access out into nature (or prefer taking things slowly), there’s also an area where parking will cost only $5 per vehicle per day—so long as everyone else pays too!
- Thornton State Beach
Thornton State Beach is a California State Park on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It is in Santa Cruz County, California, United States, south of Half Moon Bay. The beach has been designated as part of a National Park Service unit called “The Nature Conservancy’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.” It’s a great place to spend quality friends and family relaxing time!
The beach was initially named after Thornton’s family, who once owned much of the land (Thornton was their name). In 1885, it was renamed “Two Brothers” because it consisted of two different areas: one area was called North Beach, where most people went swimming, while another area closer to town was known as South Beach, which had better sand but less activity than North Beach did. The two beaches eventually became connected by an artificial causeway built in 1997 that allowed access through an opening under Highway 101 near Cabrillo Boulevard off Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).
- Crissy Field
Crissy Field is a former U.S. Army airfield consolidated with the adjacent Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1972. The site has been used for military aviation since 1909 and is still home to several active military bases today.
The main feature at Crissy Field is one of its most popular attractions: Alcatraz Island! It served as an immigration station for Mexicans and Chinese immigrants during its time. And now it is open for tourists too.
- James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
The James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is a marine protected area in San Francisco Bay. It’s at the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula shoreline, just a few miles from Fisherman’s Wharf and downtown San Francisco.
The reserve was established in 1999 to preserve habitat for endangered species like sea turtle hatchlings, which may be seen here during nesting season (June through November). This place is also an excellent spot for scuba diving or snorkeling because it offers easy access to some of California’s best marine life — including sharks!
- Mile Rock Beach
Mile Rock Beach is in Pacifica, California. It’s a popular spot for surfing and swimming, so it’s best to visit during summer. There are many dog-friendly areas on this beach, which makes it ideal if you want to bring your lovely furry friend along with you on your family vacation.
The beach has restrooms and showers available to those who need them; however, there are no on-duty lifeguards at this time of year (which can be pretty dangerous). You can also find picnic tables here too!
- Pistachio Beach
Pistachio Beach is a beautiful beach in the Florida Keys, and it’s one of the best places to visit for a family vacation. The water is warm, clear, and refreshingly calm. You can also swim, snorkel, or scuba dive in this area! There is also fish to see and other activities like fishing or kayaking on the beach (which we recommend).
Pistachio Beach has been rated one of America’s Top Ten Beaches by Travel Channel for over five consecutive years since 2004! It’s an excellent place for families with children and anyone who wants to enjoy a laid-back beach experience. The best time to reach out for visits to this beach is between May and September, when temperatures are typically milder than at other times.
- Aquatic Park Cove
Aquatic Park Cove is a small beach in San Francisco, California, under the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge approach. The cove is surrounded by Aquatic Park and Fort Mason, both parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Aquatic Park Cove is a popular location for swimming and sunbathing among locals because it has an easy-to-access location close to downtown San Francisco. It also offers some privacy from other visitors due to its secluded location. If you’re looking for something more private than Stinson Beach or Alcatraz Island State Park’s beaches (which are pretty busy), this may be your best bet!
- Seacliff State Beach
Seacliff State Beach is in Aptos, California, and it’s the best place to enjoy surfing. The beach has many visitor activities, including swimming, fishing, picnicking, and hiking.
Seacliff State Beach is also known as “The Most Beautiful Beach” by locals because of its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Santa Cruz Mountains on another. You can also see seals resting on rocks during low tide, making for a unique experience for anyone visiting this area!
- Kehoe Beach
Kehoe Beach is a small beach in San Francisco that lies close to the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s one of the spectacular and most popular spots for dog owners and their pets since it’s an easy walk or drive from downtown. Suppose you’re looking for someplace quiet and peaceful to enjoy nature. In that case, Kehoe Beach has plenty to offer: it’s also home to several species of birds (including pelicans) and seals who like to lounge on its rocky shoreline during warm summer.
If you’re into birdwatching, this beach is ideal because so many different kinds of birds live here! You can watch ospreys dive into offshore waters with their enormous wings spread wide before they catch fish beneath them—or even see bald eagles flying overhead while they eat dinner nearby.
- Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a great spot to visit if you’re looking for something that’s not too crowded but offers some good entertainment. It’s located on the beachfront in Santa Cruz, California, and has been around since 1922.
The hours of operation are from 10 am-7 pm daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day (closed Thanksgiving Day). Parking is available at the end of Ocean Ave., across from the pier, where you can park for free during the summer months!
The cost per person varies depending on what type of pass you buy; I recommend getting one-day or all-day keys because it’s less expensive than buying individual tickets for each attraction throughout your stay there.
- Gazos Creek Beach
Gazos Creek Beach is in the Florida Keys, a small island chain off Key Largo. It’s an excellent beach for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing. The beach has a great ocean view and offers protection from windy conditions or storms that can come with any tropical location.
The best part about going to Gazos Creek Beach is watching the sunset while enjoying drinks with friends on their private section of beach life!
The beach is open from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. It’s a great place to take the kids or have fun in the sun while watching dolphins swim.
For the sake of the beach’s condition and visitors & wildlife safety concerns, it has been closed for vehicle traffic on the spot since October 2018.
- China Beach
China Beach is a secluded beach in Horseshoe Bay located just south of the Golden Gate Bridge. The beach offers ample parking, making it easy to access, with plenty of places to sit and relax while you enjoy your day at the beach. There are also plenty of rocks to climb if you want to get away from all that sand.
If you’re keen enough to find more than just a place to hang out with friends or family on an afternoon or evening together, China Beach has everything you need!
- Pacifica State Beach
Pacifica State Beach is in Pacifica, California. It is located off Highway 1 and adjacent to the San Pedro Valley Country Club. The beach is one of the most popular surfing spots in Northern California.
The ocean here has powerful currents, so you’ll want to stay away from any rocks or rocks that stick out from the water for this reason alone! There are also some great places for snorkeling here if you’re into that!
- Ross Cove Beach
Ross Cove Beach is great for bringing your dog and watching the sunset. The beach has a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands, both located in Marin County.
The beach is also an adventurous and excellent place to hike. If you’re looking for a more relaxing day, you can bring your dog on a walk along the beach. There are several types of wildlife that you can see while walking or driving through the park.
- Montara State Beach
Montara State Beach is a beautiful beach in San Mateo County, California, United States. It is 22 miles south of San Francisco and 6 miles north of Half Moon Bay.
It is a popular and recommended place for fishing, swimming, and surfing. This Beach is designated as a significant Bird Area by the Audubon Society; as it provides habitat for as many as more than 150 bird species, including:
- Resident shorebirds like the Pacific golden plover (Charadrius ludovicianus)
- Western sandpiper (Calidris mauri)
- Wilson’s plover (Charadrius wilsonia)
- black-bellied plover (Pluvialis Dominica)
- Rodeo Beach
Rodeo Beach is a famous beach in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s located in Pacifica, California, and it’s a great place to go surfing and swimming. It has a long history of being a public beach with a long shoreline with a wide variety of terrain. The sandy beach has giant dunes that are great for exploring and walking on; however, the rocky shoreline can be dangerous for children due to its sharp rocks.
The beach has many recreational facilities, including volleyball courts and horseshoe pits. The beach is also home to the Asilomar State Beach Resort, which has a swimming pool, restaurants, and conference rooms.
The beach has on-duty lifeguards at all times of day and night, but you should still make sure that you wear your swimsuit before entering the water as there are no lifeguards on duty during off-season months (October through April).
- Fort Funston Beach
Fort Funston is famous as one of the best beaches in San Francisco. It’s on Skyline Boulevard west of Lake Merced and offers an excellent view of San Francisco Bay. This beach is great for surfing, body boarding, or relaxing on the sand with your family or friends. If you’re looking for a venue to host an event here at Fort Funston Beach, you can find perfect options!
We hope this helped you plan your next beach trip! We know how much people love their beaches, so we’re sure this list will get a lot of use.