San Francisco is surrounded on three sides by beautiful ocean views, and if you love the beach, you know there’s an abundance of coastal gems to visit. There are many different types of beaches near San Francisco, from the well-known and massive Ocean Beach to smaller rocky beaches that are the perfect stop along a hike. On days when the sun comes out and the temperature is finally warm enough to ditch the puffer jacket, a quick trip to an SF beach is the perfect way to appreciate the warm weather.
1. Baker Beach
Baker Beach sits on the west coast of the historic Presidio, beneath dramatic cliffs with the Golden Gate Bridge nestled just up the coast. The beach is easily accessible, with a parking lot a short walk away and the 29 bus route connecting the rest of the city. Beachgoers may see harbor porpoises in the water along with the views of the Marin Headlands. The north part of the beach is often frequented by clothing-optional beachgoers. Baker Beach is perfect for soaking in the sun, but large waves and strong currents make the water unsafe for swimming.
📍1770 Gibson Rd, San Francisco
2. China Beach
China Beach is a quaint beach between the larger Baker Beach and the iconic Lands End. The small beach is located in the scenic Sea Cliff neighborhood with a parking lot and stairs to the water. Dogs and fires are not permitted, but there is a designated picnic area just above the beach where you can grill your favorite meal before heading to the sandy coast to sunbathe. At low tide look for starfish and other sea creatures in the tide pools. Similar to Baker Beach, the rough waves and currents make it unsafe to swim at China Beach.
📍490 Sea Cliff Ave, San Francisco
Looking for a scenic hike with ocean views? Mile Rock Beach is best known for its breathtaking Golden Gate Bridge and Point Reyes National Seashore views. The small rocky beach is a mile walk from the Lands End Visitor Center along the Coastal Trail. While it may not be ideal for swimming and laying in the sand, Mile Rock Beach is dog-friendly and a great place to stop and enjoy the views along your hike.
📍Lands End Trail, San Francisco
Funston Beach features dramatic sandy bluffs and beautiful trails. Off-leash dogs are allowed, so you’ll see many happy pups frolicking around when you visit. Funston frequently has strong winds, making it a popular spot for hang gliding. There are loop trails near the shore that are partially paved making it great for biking and peaceful strolls. The loops above the beach are wheelchair accesable, unfortunately the trail to the shore is steep and sandy. The surf can be hazardous, and is not meant for swimming.
📍Fort Funston Rd, San Francisco
5. Aquatic Park
Aquatic Park is located on the northern side of the city, with a pier that creates a protective cove to allow swimming and water activities. The historic pier was originally built in the 1930s, and the beach remains a place for locals and visitors alike to enjoy the bay. After you’ve basked in the sun, you can walk up the hill to the iconic Ghirardelli Factory for some much-deserved chocolate.
📍900 Beach St, San Francisco
If you want to escape the crowds, Marshall’s Beach is a secluded, stunning beach just north of the popular Baker Beach. Marshall’s Beach is accessible from the Batteries to Bluffs Trail, a short scenic hike on the coast near the Presidio. The scenic trail is along the coast, with a noticeable incline at some points but is generally an easy hike that is perfect for a sunny afternoon. Plus, you will see a picture-perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge, and probably be able to snap a photo with minimal other beachgoers in the frame. Due to strong currents, it’s not safe for swimming.
📍Marshall’s Beach, San Francisco
7. Ocean Beach
Ocean Beach is over three miles of sandy beach on the west coast of San Francisco. It sits at the edge of Golden Gate Park, has plenty of parking for visitors, and is easily accessible by Muni. Ocean Beach is known for being windy, but luckily you can use one of the 16 city-sanctioned fire pits to warm up between March and October. While the wind will probably keep you away from the water, the strong waves make it unsafe for swimming, even on a hot day. After your beach day, you can grab a seafood dinner at one of the many restaurants in the Outer Sunset.
📍Sloat Blvd and Great Highway San Francisco
Pacifica State Beach, also called Linda Mar by locals, is south of San Francisco on the west coast. Pacifica Beach is well known for its surfing and is the site of several surf camps. Dogs are allowed on leashes, and there are trails perfect for long walks while you enjoy the weather. If you want to see some sea life, check out the family-friendly tide pools. Pacifica also has great dining options from casual boba to fine dining on the ocean.
📍5000 CA-1, Pacifica
Sharp Park Beach is located in Pacifica, about 15 minutes by car from Downtown San Francisco. As far as beaches near SF go, Sharp Park Beach is a unique one. The rare black sand beach connects to the Mori Point Trail, a steep 1.5 mile hike where you can see ocean views over beautiful bluffs. In the spring you might catch wildflowers blooming along the trail. The beach is well known for its fishing and crabbing, and the pier is open to the public.
📍Beach Boulevard in Pacifica
10. Rodeo Beach
This pebbled beach is three miles south of the Golden Gate Bridge. It features unique rocks such as black agate and carnelian and beautiful views of the bay. The beach is typically windy, making it ideal for kite flying. With a lagoon to the east and Rodeo Cove to the west, Rodeo Beach is uniquely positioned with water on both sides.
📍1049 Mitchell Rd, Sausalito