San Francisco Beaches

November 8, 2011 by

Best Of Lists, Free Things To Do, Local Guides

The beaches in San Francisco are good for bike-riding, running, and relaxing.

Sure, it might not immediately come to mind: San Francisco typically conjures images of the bay, fog, and the seven hills, but the city is actually wonderfully poised to host a great day at the beach. Seven hills surrounded by the ocean, or simply a city by the bay, San Francisco has a wonderful Southern California play date just waiting for those adventurous enough to think outside of the box.

San Francisco’s most popular beach might be East Beach, more often referred to as China Beach, and is located in Pacific Heights. This beach is named after the Chinese fishermen who came to camp here in the days of old. This beach is close to the Golden Gate Bridge and makes for excellent viewing, while barbeques are provided to make the trip family (and food) friendly. Parking is readily available here (typically) and locals always love the views of Alcatraz.

Aquatic Beach is another popular stop, if for no other reason than its proximity to the rest of the city. This beach is adjacent to the Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ghirardelli Square, so though it may be busy, there’s good reason. Good shopping, good sight-seeing, and good eating are only a stone’s throw away from this beach – as is the city itself. Expect to see bicyclists and roller skaters cruise the pathway here.

Baker Beach is sometimes known as a nude beach, but is actually a beach for everyone, regardless of clothing preference. It also lies on the western side of the Golden Gate Bridge and so makes for excellent viewing and photographic opportunities. Baker Beach is a traditional beach in the sense that you’ll find San Franciscans here doing the things you’d typically see in a more remote beach: flying kites, playing Frisbee, walking their dogs, or simply lying ocean-side.

Another beach you might want to consider is Ocean Beach. This beach is the widest and longest expanse of sand along San Francisco’s shores, so it ranks as king of the long-walk beach. From Cliff House to Fort Funston this place is a great stop to sit, stroll, or fish. The waves here are tremendous, and though make for dramatic photographs, can be strong and make for difficult swimming. Great to run along, however.

As you can see, San Francisco’s got its fair share of sandy shores. All that remains is to pick one and escape!


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