San Francisco is known for many world-class attractions around the city, but the incredible beaches here often get overlooked by tourists. It’s a shame because San Francisco has some of the best beaches in all of California. Some are near the downtown area and others are on the city’s western waterfront facing the Pacific Ocean. More beaches that should be considered on a trip to San Francisco include the excellent sandy coves across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. Below is a list of the best beaches of San Francisco.
Downtown Waterfront Beaches (east of Golden Gate Bridge)
Aquatic Park is next to Fishermans Wharf and is the closest sandy beach to downtown. Crissy Field is a long park with two access points at the ends. This area attracts the active set from kite surfers and swimmers to bikers, runners, and walkers who enjoy the paved path that connects the Golden Gate Bridge to Aquatic Park.
Pacific Shoreline Beaches (west of Golden Gate Bridge)
Baker is a popular spot and has one of the best views of the bridge. North Baker is a well-known nude beach. China Beach is a smallish locals beach. Ocean Beach is a huge beach with room for everyone – even on the sunniest of summer weekends. Fort Funston is an excellent beach to walk and has military bunkers to explore around. It has two access points from the bluff to make a fun beach walking loop.
Marin County (north across Golden Gate Bridge)
Kirby Cove is a hidden gem below the Marin Headlands. Black Sands is a similar beach to Kirby but it’s a bit bigger. Both of these require a hike from the top of the headlands and unfortunately have very small parking lots. Rodeo is a fabulous and popular dark sand beach with a grand birding lagoon behind it.