Best and Fun Beaches in San Francisco, CA

Beaches in San Francisco

Looking for the best beaches in San Francisco?? Here’s the list with all the travel information that you need to plan a family tour.

Surprisingly, San Francisco has plenty of unspoiled and picturesque beaches along its dramatic, craggy coastline. Since these beaches feature strong riptides and cold waters, they are unsafe for swimming and sunbathing. Therefore, they are suitable for nature walks, feeling the sea breeze, and mental relaxation.

For example, Ocean Beach, Baker Beach, China Beach, Cryssy Field Beach, Stinson Beach, Half Moon Bay, and Agate Beach are undoubtedly the most popular beaches near San Francisco.

Surely avoid visiting San Francisco beaches in July or August due to cold weather. So, the best time to visit San Francisco beaches is in September or October.

Let’s discover the complete list of the best and fun beaches in San Francisco. Just check and add them to your bucket list.

Beaches in San Francisco

1. Beaches in San Francisco: Ocean Beach

Located on the west coast of San Francisco, Ocean Beach is the most popular beach for surfing (adjacent to Golden Gate Park). It features powerful waves to enjoy surfing by experts and adventure seekers.

Beaches in San Francisco Ocean Beach
Ocean Beach

However, these cold ocean waves are too dangerous for casual swimmers. So, do not try swimming even with wetsuits or life jackets.

But, Ocean Beach is great for having a relaxing time with your family and pets while enjoying picturesque ocean views. Your pet is allowed to roam everywhere on Ocean Beach without a leash.

This wild and powerful beach stretches for 3.5-miles making it the longest sandy beach in San Francisco. Therefore, it offers plenty of space for playing beach games, walking, jogging, building sandcastles, and sunbathing with family.

Ocean Beach, San Francisco CA
Ocean Beach, San Francisco

Also, the background of the beach features expansive sand dunes covered with ground-hugging succulent plants and low-growing shrubs.

Being the foggiest and chilliest beach in the city, Ocean Beach gets sunshine only around midday. If you like fishing, head towards the rocky areas near the historic Cliff House restaurant.

The facilities on the beach include public restrooms and three free parking lots at Sloat Boulevard, from the Beach Chalet, and at the northern end.

Beach Chalet is a stylish ocean-view restaurant that serves delicious seafood, classic American dishes, and organic salads.

Address: Sloat Blvd and Great Hwy Extension, San Francisco, CA 94132, United States      Phone: (415) 561-3000

Beaches in San Francisco

2. Beaches in San Francisco: Baker Beach

Baker Beach lies on the shore of the Pacific Ocean in the northwest part of the peninsula of San Francisco. It stretches for half a mile from south of the famous Golden Gate Point to the south in the Seacliff peninsula.

Beaches in San Francisco Baker Beach
Baker Beach

Handled under the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Baker Beach is a famous destination for fishing, sunbathing, walking, and hiking.

Featuring a postcard-perfect backdrop, this beach is surrounded by native flowers, Mediterranean shrubs, and a grove of Monterey cypress. Therefore, it is perfect for taking photos.

Actually, Baker Beach attracts thousands of tourists to enjoy its breathtaking sunset views, panoramic ocean views, and taking romantic walks.

Baker Beach, San Francisco CA
Baker Beach, San Francisco

While walking along Baker Beach, you may spot wildlife such as brown pelicans and harbor porpoises.

If you like fishing,  you can try it too.

Or, if you are here to hike, just try the California Coastal Trail that begins at the historic military site and stretches for 1.5 miles along the coastal bluffs. And it ends at the Golden Gate Bridge. This trail offers excellent vantage points of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. So, it is worth trying.

Baker Beach is suitable for swimming due to powerful waves, rip currents, and cold waters. Also, it does not feature any lifeguards.

But, it is perfect for family picnicking as it features facilities like picnic areas, BBQ grills, drinking water fountains, public restrooms, and a free parking lot. However, come early to catch a parking space.

(And the northern segment of Baker Beach considers as a famous nude beach)

Address: Bowley St and Gibson Rd, San Francisco, United States   CA 94129     Phone: (415) 561-3000

Looking for the best Northern California beaches?? Just check this list. 

Beaches in San Francisco

3. Beaches in San Francisco: Stinson Beach, Marin County

Stinson Beach is one of the most stunning and pristine beaches located near San Francisco.

Beaches in San Francisco Stinson Beach, Marin County
Stinson Beach, Marin County

Located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Marin County, Stinson Beach is just 23 miles from the city. It will take only one hour. So, it is famous as a day trip getaway spot.

Surrounded by Wooded rolling hills, Stinson Beach has an untouched and undeveloped environment. Therefore, it is really a good escapade from the noisy, busy world.

Surprisingly, Stinson Beach is perfect for swimming. But, make sure that the weather conditions are ok and lifeguards are on duty.

Stinson Beach stretches for 3.5 miles and features white sands. Therefore, it is perfect for beach walks, picnicking, playing beach volleyball, and building sandcastles with your family. And also, you can experience surfing, and fishing too.

The facilities of Stinson Beach include picnic areas, tables, barbecue grills, a large free parking lot, public restrooms, California-style cuisines, and an authentic beach town featuring hippie culture.

So, plan your visit to Stinson Beach with your family this summer.

Address: 43 Arenal Ave, Stinson Beach, CA 94970, United States

Beaches in San Francisco

4. China Beach, Sea Cliff

China Beach is a small cove beach located in the Sea Cliff neighborhood, San Francisco. (between Baker Beach and Lands End)

China Beach, Sea Cliff CA
China Beach, Sea Cliff

Being a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this beach was used as a campsite for Chinese fishermen during the Gold Rush era. That’s why it calls China Beach.

Although it is a small beach cove, it offers incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge for photographers. Surrounded by rugged rock walls, China Beach features plenty of tide pools during low tide, making it a perfect place for beachcombing.

China Beach San Francisco
China Beach, San Francisco

And just like other beaches, China Beach is also unsafe for swimming. So, target only to capture scenic views, sunbathe, tide-pool, picnic, and having a relaxing time.

If Baker Beach is packed with visitors, the next best option is China Beach.

Apart from restrooms and free parking, do not expect to have any amenities near China Beach. Therefore, bring food, snacks, water, and other essential things from home.

Address: End of Sea Cliff Ave off 25th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94129, United States

Beaches in San Francisco

5. Crissy Field Beach, San Francisco

Crissy Field Beach is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and also a former US Army airfield dating to the 1920s.

Crissy Field Beach, San Francisco
Crissy Field Beach, San Francisco

It is an easily accessible beach that offers opportunities to get unbeatable views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay.

Its windy weather will help you with kiteboarding, windsurfing, and having a relaxing time with family.

Also, you can walk, jog, bike, and push baby strollers along the Golden Gate Promenade that runs from the Fort Point National Historic Site to the Marina through Crissy Field Beach.

On the other hand, tidal wetland preserve, the Crissy Marsh, is famous for birdwatching as it is home to over 135 bird species.

And this sandy shoreline and sheltered waters are suitable for swimming too. But, since there are no lifeguards, you have to swim at your own risk.

If you are visiting Crissy Field Beach for a family picnic, it offers facilities like parking lots, a picnic area, public restrooms, and a cafe called Warming Hut.

Address: 1199 E Beach, San Francisco, CA 94129, United States  Phone: (415) 561-4323

Beaches in San Francisco

6. Agate Beach County Park

Agate Beach County Park is a 6.6-acre beach park located in Bolinas, California, just 31 miles from San Francisco. So, you can get there within one hour.

Agate Beach County Park
Tide Pools in Agate Beach County Park

Agate Beach Park features two miles of expansive shoreline and preserves significant marine life habitats and resources. And the beach is perfect for beachcombing during low tide and swimming during summer.

Especially, its tidepools are filled with colorful marine life. So, your kids will love to see them.

Apart from that, visitors can enjoy scenic ocean views, observe colorful wildflowers, and try shoreline fishing.

Please do not collect things and disturb the natural habitats in the Agate Beach County Park.

Address: Agate Beach County Park, 350 Ocean Pkwy, Bolinas, CA 94924, United States

Beaches in San Francisco

7. Mile Rock Beach, Lands End

Mile Rock Beach is a remote cove hidden below San Francisco’s Lands End Viewpoint. And it is perfect for active beachgoers.

Mile Rock Beach, Lands End CA
Mile Rock Beach, Lands End

Located just a few steps away from Outer Richmond, Mile Rock Beach contains logs and driftwood scattered everywhere.

Surrounded by towering rock walls, Mile Rock Beach features extraordinary scenery. Also, you can see Eduardo Aguilera’s artsy and legendary stone maze too.

And Mile Rock Beach boasts the famous Coastal Trail that starts from El Camino del Mar. The trail stretches along the steam-powered Cliff House Railroad and leads to the famous Sutro Baths, a large saltwater swimming pool complex.

So, surely try the trail to visit Sutro Bath and enjoy jaw-dropping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean.

Low tide is the best time to visit Mile Rock Beach for picnicking, hiking, and beachcombing with family because the hightide narrows down the beach. And you can bring your dog to the beach.

Mile Rock Beach features a parking lot too.

Address: Mile Rock Beach, Lands End Trail, San Francisco, CA, United States

Beaches in San Francisco

8. Aquatic Park Cove, San Francisco

Aquatic Park Cove is a protected cove that offers unlimited boating opportunities for you.

Aquatic Park Cove, San Francisco
Aquatic Park Cove

Being a tiny beach, Aquatic Park Cove is located just a few steps away from Ghirardelli Square. And it features calm and gentle waves making it a safe place for swimming. Actually, it is like a natural swimming pool. So, surely bring your kids.

Since Aquatic Park Cove is a part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, you can see a harbor for Fisherman’s Wharf with plenty of recreational vessels and boats. Therefore, you can get daytime and overnight boating experiences too.

Also, you will spot some historic ships docked at the Hyde Street Pier located near Aquatic Park Cove. If you take a walk along the park’s municipal pier, you can get spectacular views of Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

After spending time on the beach, do not forget to visit the Maritime Museum, which is located in a converted 1830s bathhouse.

What are the facilities in Aquatic Park Cove?

Well, the facilities are limited. So, do not expect to have public restrooms, picnic areas, and parking lots. You have to use the metered street parking. So, the best way to get there is using the cable car. (Hyde St & Beach St cable car stop)

Address: 700-898 Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94109, United States    Phone: (415) 561-7000

Beaches in San Francisco

9. Beaches in San Francisco: Marshall’s Beach

Here’s a hidden shoreline gem in San Francisco, Marshall’s Beach.

Beaches in San Francisco Marshall's Beach
Marshall’s Beach

Marshall’s Beach is accessible via Batteries to Bluffs Trail, a 0.7-mile pedestrian walkway along the shoreline (north of Baker Beach).

Although the beach is so close to the city, it features authentic remote wilderness. Therefore, it is one of the best beaches in the city to view the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and the stunning Pacific Ocean.

Marshall’s Beach is a small beach that extends only less than 1,000 feet. But, it is a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle world and mind relaxation.

Aside from that, Marshall’s Beach is perfect for birdwatching, whale watching, and sunbathing. So, plan a day trip to Marshall’s Beach with your sweetheart.

Address: Marshall’s Beach, San Francisco, CA, United States

Beaches in San Francisco

10. Fort Funston Beach

Fort Funston Beach is nestled between Lake Merced and the Pacific Ocean on the San Francisco coast.

Fort Funston Beach, California
Fort Funston Beach

Being San Francisco’s southernmost Pacific Coast beach, Fort Funston Beach is more famous for hang gliding, hiking, beachcombing, fishing, and biking.

Aside from that, visitors can enjoy horseback riding, shelling, and fossil collecting too.

And also, you can hike Fort Funston, a former harbor defense fort located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, to get breathtaking views of the ocean. Especially, the 200-foot sand bluffs situated along the coastline add more beauty to the scenery.

While hiking, you can enjoy plenty of colorful hang-gliders in the skyline. Since the beach permits dogs without leashes, bring your doggy too.

Address: Fort Funston Rd, San Francisco, CA 94132, United States    Phone: (415) 561-4700

Beaches in San Francisco

11. Muir Beach, Marin County

Muir Beach or Bello Beach is one of the quietest beaches located at the southernmost point of Marin County. (three miles west of Muir Woods and around 17 miles away from San Francisco).

Muir Beach, Marin County CA
Muir Beach, Marin County

The scenic Dias Ridge Trail will lead you to the beach and its picnic area. And you can catch incredible views of the Marin coastline and the Pacific Ocean while hiking.

Being a famous picnic spot among locals, Muir Beach is also ideal for bonfires, playing beach volleyball, hiking nature trails, beachcombing, birdwatching, fishing, and sunbathing.

But swimming and wading are not safe. Since there are no lifeguards, do not try it.

You can see the protected wetland, Redwood Creek Lagoon, behind this sandy beach. Especially it protects the endangered Coho salmon and some other threatened species.

The facilities on Muir Beach include a picnic area, public restrooms, and a free parking lot. Come early on weekends and during summertime to catch a parking spot.

Address: Muir Beach, Marin County, CA, United States 

Beaches in San Francisco

12. Gray Whale Cove State Beach

Gray Whale Cove State Beach is located approximately 18 miles south of San Francisco. (near the cities of Pacific and Montara)

Gray Whale Cove State Beach California
Gray Whale Cove State Beach

Featuring a protected cove, Gray Whale Cove State Beach offers plenty of nature trails connecting to nearby McNee Ranch State Park and Montara Mountain.

This lovely California state park has a stunning 3.1-acre beach called Devil’s Slide. The reason behind that name is its lush tall cliffs that directly drop into the ocean. So, you have to use a steep beachfront trail to access the beach.

The name Gray Whale Cove State Beach is well suited as you can spot gray whales and great white sharks from the shoreline.

Aside from that, Gray Whale Cove Beach offers spectacular sunsets too.

Since the park features a small picnic area, chemical toilets, and a parking lot plan for a family day trip to Gray Whale Cove State Beach. And spend a memorable day.

Address: Gray Whale Cove State Beach, Half Moon Bay, CA, United States 

Beaches in San Francisco

13. San Gregorio State Beach, San Mateo County

San Gregorio State Beach is a beautiful beach located around 40 miles (one hour drive) from San Francisco.

San Gregorio State Beach, San Mateo County
San Gregorio State Beach, San Mateo County

It is a wild driftwood-strewn beach with an unspoiled natural environment surrounded by steep sandstone cliffs and towering grass-covered ocean bluffs.

Since San Gregorio State Beach is home to many seabirds and animals, wildlife lovers and birdwatchers love this place.

Facilities on this beach include a scenic picnic area, a parking lot, and toilets. So, it is perfect for family picnics.

But, San Gregorio State Beach is not safe for swimming and wading due to dangerous rip currents and cold waters. Therefore, you cannot see any lifeguards on the beach.

Address: San Gregorio State Beach, California, United States

Beaches in San Francisco

14. Montara State Beach, Montara

Montara State Beach considers one of the cleanest beaches in California.

Located near Half Moon Bay, this beach is just 20 miles from San Francisco. So, you can easily get there within 30 minutes.

Montara State Beach, Montara
Montara State Beach, Montara

Stretching for one mile, Montara State Beach is famous for surf fishing, tide pooling, and picnicking. But, collecting natural items from the beach is prohibited.

Aside from that, fireworks, beach fires, camping, and drones are also not allowed on the beach. But, you can bring your doggy with a 6 ft leash.

Being the only remaining undeveloped beach in the Half Moon Bay region, Montara State Beach offers a chance to spot birds, wildlife, and beautiful shoreline scenery. Also, the beach features colorful wildflowers during springtime.

If you are looking for overnight accommodation, it is available at the lighthouse on Point Montara. Also, there are several campgrounds near the beach park.

Address: Montara State Beach, Montara, CA 94019, United States 

Beaches in San Francisco

15. Esplanade beach, Pacifica

Are you looking for a dog-friendly beach in San Franciso?

Esplanade beach, Pacifica CA
Esplanade beach, Pacifica

Esplanade Beach is one of the best dog-friendly beaches in California. Located below Esplanade Avenue in Pacifica, it is just 13 miles from San Francisco.

The northern end of this beach is the safest area, and it offers a great leash-free place for dogs.

Actually, its rugged bluffs and soft sands attract thousands of beach lovers. Although it is a quiet narrow beach, it offers spectacular ocean views too.

Esplanade Beach can be dangerous during high tide. Therefore, surely check the tide table before visiting there.

Only street parking is available on Esplanade Avenue.

Address: Pacifica Esplanade Beach, 360 Esplanade Ave, Pacifica, CA 94044, United States    Phone: +1 650-738-3760

Beaches in San Francisco

16. Half Moon Bay State Beach, San Mateo County

Half Moon Bay is a charming country town located in San Mateo County, south of San Francisco.

Half Moon Bay State Beach, San Mateo County
Half Moon Bay State Beach, San Mateo County

Surrounded by the green rolling hills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, this small town features a stunning beach called Half Moon Bay State Beach.

Half Moon Bay State Beach has four miles of sandy beaches with rugged ocean bluffs and steep cliffs. And there are four beaches with different names, Dunes Beach, Roosevelt Beach, Venice Beach, and Francis Beach.

For those looking for scenic walks along the beach, Half Moon Bay State Beach is perfect for that.

Especially, Dunes Beach is famous for outdoor activities like sunbathing, fishing, surfing, family picnicking, camping, biking, hiking, walking, skating, and more.

However, swimming and wading are not safe on any beach at Half Moon Bay State Beach.

Surely try the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail that runs through the beach parallel to the Pacific coast and catch scenic nature views. Be careful and avoid cliff edges while hiking as the ocean is rough with dangerous rip currents.

Address: Young Ave and Cabrillo Hwy N, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, United States 

Beaches in San Francisco

17. Pescadero State Beach, San Mateo County

Located just 17 miles south of Half Moon Bay, Pescadero State Beach features an excellent mile-long shoreline with sandy coves, fishing spots, plenty of tide pools, rocky cliffs, and picnic areas.

Pescadero State Beach, San Mateo County
Pescadero State Beach, San Mateo County

On the other side of the beach is the 500 acres of Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve. It is one of the best places for birdwatching as it is home to over 200 bird species.

And also, it is home to endangered animals such as the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog.

If you like to explore the preserve, you can try one of four trails that runs through the preserve.

Aside from that, Pescadero State Beach is perfect for picnicking with your family. But, do not expect to have more facilities except paid parking lots, picnic tables, and a single restroom. But, the nearby town of Pescadero has restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores to buy your picnic supplies.

Do not try to swim on this beach as the waves are dangerous and the existence of rip currents.

Address: 18253 Cabrillo Hwy, San Gregorio, CA 94074, United States

Beaches in San Francisco

18. Beaches in San Francisco: Linda Mar Beach, Pacifica

Linda Mar Beach is Pacifica’s southernmost beach.

Beaches in San Francisco Linda Mar Beach, Pacifica
Linda Mar Beach, Pacifica

Located in a crescent-shaped cove, Linda Mar Beach features a beautiful sandy shoreline with scenic views. Especially since the beach offers consistent waves, it is perfect for surfing.

And also, during favorable weather conditions, kayakers enjoy exploring the cove too.

Since Linda Mar Beach is located just 16 miles from San Francisco, it is a favorite beach getaway. Anyone can reach there within 20 minutes.

While you are on Linda Mar Beach, do not miss its walking trails that lead you to an excellent vantage point on top of an ocean bluff.

Facilities on the beach include a paid parking lot, a water fountain, outdoor showers, and public restrooms.

Address: 5000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacifica, CA 94044, United States

Beaches in San Francisco

19. Beaches in San Francisco: Tennessee Beach, Marin County

Located 11 miles away from San Francisco (25 min), Tennessee Beach is a secluded beach in Marin County.

Tennessee Valley Trail, Marin County, California
Tennessee Valley Trail, Marin County

You have to take two miles of walk through the countryside to access Tennessee Beach. That nature trail calls Tennessee Valley Trail and begins at the parking lot. You can see meadows filled with colorful wildflowers along this trail.

Especially, it features bright purple lupine, emblematic orange California poppies, and cheerful honey-colored buttercups during spring. And also, the meadows fill with a flourish with golden grasses, blackberry bushes, and sagebrush during the summertime.

Tennessee Beach, Marin County CA
Tennessee Beach, Marin County

Once you reach Tennessee Beach, you can experience a pristine natural beach that is perfect for family picnics. But, it is not safe for swimming as there are dangerous rips and icy waters.

Facilities on Tennessee Beach include only a free parking lot and public restrooms. So, surely bring your picnic supplies, snack, food, and drinks.

Address: Tennessee Beach, California 94941, United States

Beaches in San Francisco

20. Beaches in San Francisco: Rodeo Beach, Marin County

Being a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Rodeo Beach is another stunning beach in Marin County.

Beaches in San Francisco Rodeo Beach, Marin County
Rodeo Beach, Marin County

Since it is just two miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, you can easily drive there from San Francisco.

Rodeo Beach is one of the most peaceful beaches in San Francisco. Although this beach is very famous, it amazingly maintains peaceful features. Therefore, it is totally worth it driving.

On the other hand, the beach is home to plenty of beautiful birds and scenic landscapes. You can enjoy them too.

And also, Rodeo Beach is perfect for fun outdoor activities like surfing, running, rockhounding, walking, hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking. If you are lucky, you will spot some dolphins and sea lions from this beach.

Parking is free near Rodeo Beach.

Address: Rodeo Beach, California 94941, United States

Beaches in San Francisco

  • Ocean Beach
  • Baker Beach
  • Stinson Beach, Marin County
  • China Beach
  • Crissy Field Beach, San Francisco
  • Agate Beach Park
  • Mile Rock Beach
  • Aquatic Park Cove, San Francisco
  • Marshall’s Beach
  • Fort Funston Beach
  • Muir Beach, Marin County
  • Gray Whale Cove State Beach
  • Crissy Field Beach
  • San Gregorio State Beach, San Mateo County
  • Montara State Beach
  • Esplanade Beach, Pacifica
  • Half Moon Bay State Beach, San Mateo County
  • Pescadero State Beach, San Mateo County
  • Linda Mar Beach, Pacifica
  • Tennessee Beach, Marin County
  • Rodeo beach

Beaches in San Francisco