Not far from San Francisco, sits the rural town on Montara, with its historic charm. Montara State Beach is dangerous for swimmers due to the steep sandy drop, but popular with experienced surfers. As the name implies, gray whales are a constant sight at Nearby Gray Whale Cove State Beach. The beach is clothing-optional during certain months of the year. For other options, head to the historic lighthouse at Point Montara Light Station, with restored and preserved buildings from the 1870’s.