California’s beaches are gorgeous, but they can get so crowded sometimes. There aren’t many things more frustrating than going to the beach for peace, quiet and views, only to run into dozens of other people looking for the same thing. But you can break from the popular shorelines and find solitude at beaches that are more secluded – like these ten remote gems in the San Francisco Bay Area (listed south to north).
1. Pistachio Beach
2. Ross Cove Beach
Ross Cove Beach is hidden near Half Moon Bay, on the north side of Pillar Point. It’s an ideal spot for quiet coastal hiking – you can take a few scenic trails across the steep bluff just west of the parking area.
3. Seal Cove Beach
Seal Cove – aka Cypress Cove – is nestled in Fitzgerald Marine Reserve with lots of amazing tide pools to explore at low tide. There’s also a lush forest just behind the beach with trails you can take to reach extraordinary viewpoints overlooking the ocean.
4. Juliana Beach
The access to Juliana Beach is hidden in the town of Moss Beach, just under rugged seaside bluffs. There’s a wide open space above the beach, a trail that follows the bluff and a few benches along the way where you can sit, catch your breath and take in the impressive views.
5. Burton Beach
Burton Beach is beautiful, but it’s become increasingly difficult to get to because of erosion on the seaside bluffs. You can still reach it by way of Fort Funston Beach, and it sure is worth the trek. Once out here you can explore a marvelous cave, get photos of these wooden posts sticking out of the sand, and catch the most vibrant sunsets.
6. South Rodeo Beach
South Rodeo Beach is lesser known than its neighbor Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands. The sandy beach is so secluded, it’s actually widely known to be clothing-optional. Visitors can find miles of hiking trails here, Bird Island just off-shore, and of course marvelous photo opportunities.
7. Shell Beach
Hiking and swimming are the main draws of Shell Beach in Tomales Bay State Park. It’s about a half-mile walk from the nearest parking area, but the sandy beach still can get pretty crowded on nice sunny days.
8. Steep Ravine Beach
The rocky and remote Steep Ravine Beach is hidden just off Highway 1 at the bottom a steep canyon. It’s a quiet, isolated place to go for a walk at low tide, and camping & cabins are available right next to the beach at Rocky Point-Steep Ravine Environmental Campground.
9. Pinnacle Gulch Beach
Pinnacle Gulch Beach isn’t very well known because it’s set at the bottom of Pinnacle Gulch in the Bodega Harbor housing community. A mile-long trail and stairway leads out from the parking area down to the beach – where you’ll find tide pools to enjoy at low tide and giant coastal rocks that you won’t be able to stop taking pictures of.
10. South Salmon Creek Beach
South Salmon Creek Beach lies north of Bodega Bay between Bodega Dunes and Salmon Creek. It’s a hot spot for wildlife watching, and you can also see a beautiful sand spit here just between the creek and Pacific Ocean.
Have you been to any of these beautiful beaches before? Where are some of your favorite hidden gems near the Bay Area?
Looking for solitude farther afield? Check out these hidden California beaches.