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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.

rodeo beachRodeo Beach in Marin

Beaches on this map

  • Aquatic Park Cove

    Aquatic Park Cove has a narrow sandy beach and a grass park at the end of the Hyde Street Cable Car line on the San Francisco Waterfront. The cove is […]

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  • Crissy Field – East Beach

    East Beach in San Francisco is located at the east end of Crissy Field Park in the old Presidio Area of what is now Golden Gate National Recreation Area. From […]

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  • Crissy Field – West Bluff Beach

    The beach at West Bluff Picnic Area is located at the west end of Crissy Field Park right below Fort Point National Historic Site and very near the Golden Gate […]

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  • Baker Beach

    Baker Beach is a large popular beach not far from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. On sunny weekends both parking lots could be full and all the spaces along […]

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  • China Beach

    China Beach is a small locals beach in San Francisco. The cove where China Beach Cove is located is protected by rock walls on both sides creating an area that […]

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  • 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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  • 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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  • Black Sands Beach

    Black Sands Beach is a south-facing dark sand beach below the Marin Headlands in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. There are great city views to be had just a few […]

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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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