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Oakland and the East Bay area has a handful of shoreline parks with beaches and water access. These urban parks that stretch from Richmond to Alameda are modest at best and will do little to satisfy your urge for coastal beaches. They are shown on the map above and the list of beaches below. If you want a true Northern California beach experience, then it is best to seek out the ocean beaches. Here are our suggested beaches near the Oakland and Berkeley area.

San Francisco has bayside beaches and some ocean beaches too. In the big city, we suggest heading to the western shore to find Ocean Beach and Fort Funston Beach (one of our favorites). You’ll take the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge to any of the San Francisco beaches.

IMG_5057 Fort Funston Beach San Francisco (Custom)Fort Funston Beach

Pacifica has a couple worthy beaches that are close together – Rockaway Beach and Pacifica State Beach. Rockaway is the smaller of the two but is good fun if not too crowded. Farther south you’ll find even better beaches.

IMG_5232 (Large)Pacifica State Beach

Half Moon Bay is not hard to get to from Oakland. It’s about the same distance via the Bay Bridge or the San Mateo Bridge (less than an hour without traffic) and worth the slightly longer drive to get to here. Half Moon Bay State Beach is massive and has several parking lots to choose from, but the other beaches near town are excellent too (and have free parking). At low tide you can find tide pools in HMB if you know where to look.

IMG_5838 Dunes Half Moon Bay State Beach Bryce (Custom)Half Moon Bay State Beach

Marin County has beaches of all types to choose from and they are all less than an hour away via the Richmond San Rafael Bridge unless you hit traffic. Rodeo Beach is a good one and has other attractions nearby including Point Bonita Lighthouse and the many military structures of the Marin Headlands in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The small towns of Muir Beach and Stinson Beach each have sandy beaches, but Stinson’s is much larger. If you don’t mind a mild hike to get away from the crowds, then consider walking down a wide path to Tennessee Beach on the west side of Marin or Kirby Cove below the Golden Gate Bridge.

StinsonBeach-Bryce-April2015 (2)Stinson Beach

Beaches on this map

  • Ocean Beach

    Ocean Beach is a long beach spanning the entire Sunset District of San Francisco from Cliff House south to Sloat Boulevard. It’s also a wide beach especially when compared to […]

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  • Fort Funston Beach

    Fort Funston is the southernmost beach on the Pacific Coast side of San Francisco and is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Fort Funston is known for windy conditions […]

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  • Rockaway Beach

    Rockaway Beach is a popular brown colored sandy beach in Pacifica, CA. Right next to the beach are restaurants and hotels so you can spend the day or even a […]

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  • Pacifica State Beach (Linda Mar)

    Pacifica State Beach is located in a wide cove in the southern part of Pacifica, California. The city of Pacifica manages the facilities at the beach and calls it Linda […]

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  • Pelican Point Beach

    Pelican Point Beach is located near the end of Miramontes Point Road in Half Moon Bay, CA. The beach is nearby the Pelican Point RV Park and surrounded by the […]

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  • Redondo Beach on Half Moon Bay

    Redondo Beach is just south of downtown Half Moon Bay and just north of the Half Moon Bay Golf Links in the Ocean Colony community. It’s a long sandy beach […]

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  • Dunes Beach – Half Moon Bay State Beach

    Dunes Beach is one of the northern beaches in Half Moon Bay State Beach. To reach the parking area turn onto Youngs Road just north of Half Moon Bay on […]

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  • Francis Beach – Half Moon Bay State Beach

    Francis Beach is the southernmost beach in Half Moon Bay State Beach. Francis Beach has a nice grassy park with many of picnic tables and barbecues on the bluff above […]

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  • Roosevelt Beach – Half Moon Bay State Beach

    Roosevelt Beach, a.k.a. Naples Beach is the northernmost beach in Half Moon Bay State Beach. The signed Roosevelt Beach parking lot is located at the end of Youngs Road off Highway […]

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  • Rodeo Beach

    Rodeo Beach is a wide pebble beach on the sand spit that separates Rodeo Lagoon from Rodeo Cove on the west side of the Marin Headlands in Golden Gate National […]

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  • Point Bonita Lighthouse

    Point Bonita Lighthouse is out on the rocky point on the north side of the entrance to San Francisco Bay. There is no beach access from this point, but there […]

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  • Muir Beach

    Muir Beach (the beach) is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area and located in the small town of Muir Beach, California. Redwood Creek flows down to the ocean here, […]

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  • Stinson Beach

    Stinson Beach (the beach) is a large public beach within Golden Gate National Recreation Area located in the town of Stinson Beach, California. It’s a popular getaway about an hour […]

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  • Tennessee Cove Beach

    Tennessee Cove Beach is a dark sand beach on the west side of the Marin Headlands in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The beach at Tennessee Cove requires a two-mile […]

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  • Kirby Cove Beach

    Kirby Cove Beach is at the base of the Marin Headlands north of the entrance to San Francisco Bay. The view from the beach is stunning with the city of […]

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Attractions on this map