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Embassy Suites San Rafael – Marin County

The Golden Gate Bridge is a familiar landmark of California and one of the most photographed structures in the United States. While there are many places to take pictures of the bridge, we have found that the best places are from the water level at nearby beaches.

Because of it’s location between the city of San Francisco and the county of Marin, it has beaches on all four sides from which to take pictures from. Watch the weather forecast to avoid cloudy or foggy days and try to capture the bridge when the light is best – mornings when shooting from the east and evenings when shooting from the west. Dress appropriately as the weather near the bridge can be cool and breezy throughout the day.

Here are our favorite beach locations from which to view and photograph the Golden Gate Bridge.

Baker Beach (Southwest)

At sunset Baker Beach is probably the best place to be to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge. At just about any time of day it is possible to get a reflection of the bridge in the water as the waves recede. This is a stunning location just beware that North Baker Beach is considered clothing-optional.

Baker Beach, San FranciscoThe bridge from the north end of Baker Beach

Crissy Field Beach (Southeast)

Mornings are probably the best time to view the Golden Gate Bridge though a lens from Crissy Field Park. The waterfront of San Francisco has many great bridge vantage points (including the pier at Aquatic Park), Crissy Field is just a little closer than the rest. With a telephoto lens it is possible to zoom in on the little-known lighthouse that hides under the southern bridge deck. Want to get up close and personal with the bridge? Consider a visit to Fort Point where you’ll be under the south end of the bridge.

2014-11-02-San-Francisco-Morning-130Early morning from West Bluffs Beach at Crissy Field. Photo by Jeff Dannay, Sweet Light Photos

Fort Baker (Northeast)

Fort Baker, near Sausalito in Marin County, is a good spot to shoot the bridge early in the day or at night. The park has historic military bunkers to explore and many other places on the grounds that are worth walking to. As you walk around, you’ll find many different perspectives on the bridge.

fort-baker-nightNighttime view from Fort Baker. Photo by Richard Ryer.

Kirby Cove (Northwest)

Kirby Cove is a wonderful beach to visit below the Marin Headlands. It requires a one-mile walk down a gravel road to reach the bottom of the cove where there’s a sandy brown beach and Battery Kirby, an old military structure. From the beach the San Francisco Skyline is framed under the bridge span. But from this location you get two unique photo spots for the price of admission (actually parking is free)! Before you head down to Kirby Cove, take a walk out to the end of the point at Battery Spencer. From there you look down on the bridge span and the city is captured though the cables of this historic bridge.

14229206509_cbee3ff451_hSan Francisco Skyline under the bridge from Kirby Cove. Photo by Michael Maloney.

Point Bonita Lighthouse (West)

You might have to zoom in a bit with your camera, but the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Point Bonita is superb. From this spot (the southern tip of Marin County) you can see most of the span and in the distance lies Alcatraz Island, Yerba Buena Island and the Bay Bridge. The Point Bonita Lighthouse is a picturesque landmark itself. To get out to the point where the bridge views are best you must pass through a tunnel which is locked up most of the time. Plan your trip so that you can get here between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday through Monday.

Entering the Golden Gate DSC_0678The view east from Point Bonita, near the tunnel. Photo by Darvin Atkeson.

Alcatraz Island (East)

A tour of the prison at Alcatraz is a must if you haven’t done it before. The island has spectacular views in addition to the historical sites. Looking due west it is impossible to miss the Golden Gate Bridge (unless it is foggy). To the north lies the Marin Headlands and to the south the spires of downtown San Francisco. In the far distance is Point Bonita under the bridge span.

Alcatraz Bryce April2015 (23)Alcatraz has a full view of the bridge and so many other parts of the Bay.