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The Best Beaches in San Francisco, California, USA

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor April 15th, 2020 Posted in Destination, North America Travel Blog, Travel Blog, Travel Guides No comments

Surrounded by the Pacific and a bay is a city named after a saint, San Francisco. This cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California is full of tourist spots. We also had an article about 25 Things to do in San Francisco, California if you’re looking for other cool things in SF.

Best Beaches in San Francisco, California Top 10 Beaches in San Francisco
Photo by Nicolas Raymond CC BY 2.0

Being near bodies of water, there is indeed a lot of beaches in San Francisco. However, due to the strong current, wind, and waves, most are not safe to swim, but the view is absolutely breathtaking. From seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, the Ocean, the sunset; it will make your hike or journey to the beach worthwhile.

Best Beaches in San Francisco, California Top 10 Beaches in San Francisco
Photo by Ragnar Vorel

Here are the best beaches in San Francisco you might want to visit:


1. Baker Beach

Best Beaches in San Francisco, California - Top 10 Beaches in San Francisco
Photo by Eric Ward

Providing the best view on your beach experience is Baker Bridge. With its long stretch of sand and waves that are kissing it and a view of the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge is one of the Best Beaches in San Francisco. Though not safe for swimming, you could still see many people sunbathing, strolling or taking pictures. Word of warning: some may dress nude here. Enjoy the sunset too! This is also is a must-do in San Francisco, California.

Suggested Hotel: My Rosegarden Guest Rooms

2. Fort Funston Beach

Best Beaches in San Francisco, California Top 10 Beaches in San Francisco2 (1)
Photo by btwashburn CC BY 2.0

Feel the ocean breeze at Fort Funston, a former seacoast defense in the 1900s. It’s a great place to hike especially if you have a pet dog because they can run off-leash and play with the waves. It’s not a safe place for swimming due to strong currents; you can marvel at the magnetic sand and the view. You could also try hang gliding too, that would surely be exciting.

Suggested Hotel: Mirage Inn and Suites

3. Crissy Field Beach

Best Beaches in San Francisco, California Top 10 Beaches in San Francisco
Photo by Guilhem Vellut CC BY 2.0

Bike at Presidio and after touring this former US army field turned National Park; hang out at Crissy Field Beach. There are sand dunes that are home to some creatures. You can have a picnic with your friends or family here. Plus, you will get an amazing of the Golden Gate Bridge too.

Suggested Hotel: Infinity Hotel SF

4. Marshall’s Beach

Best Beaches in San Francisco, California Top 10 Beaches in San Francisco
Photo by wikiphotographer CC BY-SA 2.0

Though a challenging hike downhill towards the beach, it will be worth it. Wear appropriate footwear as there are rocks. The picturesque view of the Golden Gate Bridge makes this one of the best beaches in San Francisco. It’s a great place to take pictures too due to the rock formations. Watch the sun set by this beach, and you will be blown away from its beauty.

Suggested Hotel: Marina Motel

5. Ocean Beach 

Ocean Beach is one of the best beaches in San Francisco with surfing at the day and bonfires at night. The waves are quite big due to this facing the Pacific Ocean, so expect surfers gliding through the waves. The kids will love it here too, as sandcastles are fun to build. This is another fantastic place to catch the sunset and share stories with family or friends in the middle of a fire pit.

Suggested Hotel: SeaScape Inn

6. China Beach

A small cove in SF, CA is China Beach, previously James D. Phelan State Beach Park, but named after the Chinese fishermen who used this place as a campsite. Though it’s not safe to swim, the views are fantastic. If you are lucky, you might see dolphins swim by. It’s a tranquil small spot with fewer crowds and a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a hidden gem and one of the best beaches in San Francisco.

Suggested Hotel: Golden Gate San Francisco

7. Aquatic Park Cove

Finally, a place to swim and do other activities! Most sites are a bit dangerous to swim as there are currents, strong wind, and waves. However, this area is a great place to swim, especially if you are training for triathlons. However, you can also check out views by the beach or bring your fishing gear to catch some fishes. Catch a glimpse of seals and storks, and if you’re an early bird, the glorious sunrise.

Suggested Hotel: Argonaut Hotel

8. Mile Rock Beach

Best Beaches in San Francisco, California Top 10 Beaches in San Francisco
Photo by Sharon Mollerus CC BY 2.0

After hiking at Lands End, find a unique spot in San Francisco; the Mile Rock Beach. Discover the incredible rock stacks, the labyrinth, and how the waves crash to the rocks. Though it’s not a place to swim due to the stones and waves, you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery. The vibe is so artsy and relaxing; you want to stay and feel the wind through your hair.

Suggested Hotel: Golden Gate San Francisco

9. Perles Beach

Hop off a ferry to Angel Island and bike to one of the best beaches in San Francisco, the Perles Beach. Relax and have a picnic at this spot and enjoy the scenery especially the view of the Golden Gate. Afterwards, you can hike to Mt. Livermore on the island, see the museum, or discover historic items too. You can camp out here also, imagine the sunset and sunrise; it would be breathtaking!

Suggested Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott

10. Candlestick Point Beach 

Best Beaches in San Francisco, California Top 10 Beaches in San Francisco
Photo by johnnycochran CC BY 2.0

At Candlestick Point State Recreation Area is a place great for having a picnic and see great views. Because of its windy state, windsurfing is a popular activity here. It’s a peaceful place to relish nature, so walk, jog, or meditate. You can do fishing here too. Bring your family and friends as it is a great place to gather and have a BBQ!

Suggested Hotel: Mylo Hotel

The best time to visit San Francisco to see the beaches are from April to August with temperatures ranging from 12 – 19 degrees. So prepare your cameras and book your flights as you enjoy San Francisco and relish the view the best beaches in San Francisco has to offer.​

Extra Tip: Check out Plumguide for the best holiday homes and vacation rentals in San Francisco.

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Written by Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor

Two Monkeys Travel Group – Community Travel Blog is a travel blog and website. We quickly grew into a valuable source of inspiring travel stories, advice, itineraries and travel guides, with the aim of demonstrating how to live a sustainable life of travel, whilst living your own definition of success. If you'd like to contribute and write a guest post, contact us at [email protected]