The San Francisco Bay Area is a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. There are numerous hiking trails, biking trails, and picnic spots to explore. You can find cafes and restaurants almost everywhere you go – even right next to the waters.
But when it comes to enticing beaches, the area doesn’t have as many options as you might think. Many visitors assume there must be bountiful beaches somewhere nearby and just don’t know about them yet.
Fortunately for those, who love being outdoors and exploring new places, there are some fantastic beaches in San Francisco Bay Area that won’t cost you anything to visit.
However, the beaches can become quite crowded during peak summer months. To help you out, we have compiled a list of some of the best beaches to visit in San Francisco Bay area that is less crowded and glam for a day trip.
1) Baker beach
Baker Beach is the perfect outdoor spot in San Francisco, and it’s right near the Golden Gate Bridge. The beach is open to visit round the year, and it’s free. You can go there on a rainy day or a sunny day during any season, and it will be a lot of fun.
It is a lovely and very quiet beach that is a great place to unwind, relax, and escape from the chaos of the city. The calmness provides a peaceful atmosphere to walk, play in the sand, and watch the sunset. You can also fish at Baker Beach since the water is serene, shallow, and rich for fishing.
2) Crissy Field beach
Crissy Field Beach is one of the most popular beaches in San Francisco, located near the Golden Gate Bridge. The beach is stunning and a visible tourist attraction in San Francisco to watch the sunset. You can also go hiking, biking, and kayaking in the area.
There are several museums nearby, and they often have free entrance or free days. The most amazing time to visit Crissy Field Beach is from May to September. The water is calm and shallow, with a great place for kids to play and an awesome beach for sunbathing. You can also walk along the beach for miles, and it’s perfect for an afternoon stroll.
3) Dillon beach
Dillon Beach is located north of the Golden Gate Bridge and south of Tomales Bay. It’s a little-known beach that is one of the best beaches to visit in the San Francisco area.
It’s also a great place to go crabbing, and it’s a popular surf spot. We prefer you to visit Dillon Beach between April and October. It’s a quiet beach that is perfect for unwinding and exploring.
There is a lot of wildlife in the area too, so you can see birds and seals close up. You can also spend quality time walking around the beach, and doing crabbing. The crabs at Dillon beach are delicious, and there’s no trouble catching them.
4) Ocean beach
Ocean Beach is a well-known and notorious beach in San Francisco. It gives a pure modern vibe when you go surfing, fishing, and watching the sunset.
Ocean Beach is clean and beautiful and sums up as a stunning place for a day trip. The best time to visit Ocean Beach is from May to September.
Since the beauty of Ocean Beach is popular around San Francisco, so you will often find it quite crowded. It is one of the best hikes in the San Francisco Bay area, too, and there are lots of trails in the area.
5) Muir beach
Muir Beach is a quiet, scenic beach in the San Francisco area. It’s a great place to go swimming, explore, relax and enjoy yourself.
The blessings of Muir Beach stay around year. However, the best time to visit Muir Beach is from April to October.
The authenticity of Muir beach is a best-kept secret in the San Francisco Bay area. It’s a quiet beach that is perfect for unwinding.
You can also go hiking in the area and see the seals, which are remarkably close to the shore. Muir Beach has all the charms an appealing beach should have, so whenever visiting San Francisco Bay area, Muir beach is a must place to go.
6) San Gregorio State beach
This attractive beach will inevitably steal your heart as it offers numerous charming activities. There are trails that go along the beach that are great for hiking, or you can walk along the beach itself if you want to be near the water.
There are also several areas where you can go tide pooling. You’ll often find bird-watchers on the beach or the dunes, as this is a popular place for them.
You can also go kayaking, kite surfing, or SUP boarding along the beach or in the nearby lagoon.
There is a small parking lot at the end of Moss Street where you can park your car. There are restrooms, but no lifeguard.
It’s best to visit this beach in the spring or fall when the water is warmer. The water is cold year-round and the beach is often covered with seaweed in the summer.
7) Half Moon Bay State beach
This beach is one of the Best Beaches in the San Francisco Bay Area because it has an amazing scenic view of the ocean. It also has a trail that goes along the beach that is great for hiking or walking.
If you want to go tide pooling, there is a rocky outcropping just off the beach that is perfect for that. There are also several areas where you can go swimming in the water.
There are usually a few people fishing on the beach or in the lagoon. It’s a delightful place to walk the dog, but keep him leashed as there are lots of birds here too. There is a small parking lot at the end of Highway 1 where you can park your car.
The superb atmosphere around the Half Moon Bay State beach makes it a perfect beach destination for any tourist who is trying to make a memorable day in San Francisco.
8) Aquatic Park Cove beach
Aquatic Park Cove beach is tucked away in a quiet corner of the city. It’s one of only a few free beaches in San Francisco and is open to the public. The cove is a small inlet in the San Francisco Bay that is perfect for swimming. There are usually a few people fishing on the cove, but otherwise, it is a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are trees along the beach that provide some shade. There is no official parking lot for this beach, but you can park along Aquatic Park Drive.
9) Black Sands beach
Black Sands is one of the best beaches in the San Francisco Bay Area because it is usually less crowded than other nearby beaches.
You can walk around the rocks off the beach to find some tidepools or go swimming in the chilly water. There are often a few people fishing along the beach or in the lagoon.
There is a small parking lot at the end of Pelajia Road but other facilities are not enough with no swim guards. But you should visit Black Sands Beach because it intrigues the visitors with its beauty and mastery.
10) Stinson beach
The beautiful view and clear clean water at Stinson beach is a gem but it is entertained a secluded beach that doesn’t get much traffic. There are usually some people fishing at this beach, but otherwise, it is usually a quiet place and that’s why you can enjoy an afternoon of peace and quiet.
There are a few rocky outcroppings that are perfect for tide pooling. There are some trails that go along the beach that are great for hiking in San Francisco Bay area.
Stinson beach has no official parking lot, but you can park along Blithe Dale Avenue which is near the beach. There are restrooms but no lifeguards.
The water is cold year-round and the beach is often covered with seaweed in the summer.
11) Pescadero State Beach
Pescadero State Beach is a beautiful beach located about 23 miles south of the city. It is a popular spot for surfers and is often described as being a great place for beginner surfers to learn.
This beach is just north of the Pescadero Creek and has a lot of good spots for fishing. The water here is shallow, warm, and calm for most of the year.
When the tide is out, a large swath of sand is revealed. When the tide is in, Pescadero Beach is sheltered by the Pilarcitos Creek to the north and is perfect for swimming and playing in the water. This is also a great place to explore and discover marine life as there are often a large number of fish and crabs in the area.
12) Linda Mar Beach
Linda Mar Beach also referred to as Linda Mar State Beach, is a beautiful, sandy beach that is located just south of the city near Pacifica in the San Francisco Bay Area.
It is a decent place for swimming and surfing. Linda Mar Beach is an excellent option for those who want to escape the crowds at popular places like Pescadero and Baker Beach. The water here is usually very calm and shallow and is great for swimming or wading.
Linda Mar Beach has a lot of tide pools that are home to marine life like crabs, fish, and sea stars. This beach is open to the public, but the beach facilities are not satisfactory. There is a parking lot close to the beach, but it can fill up quickly during the summer.
13) Thornton State Beach
Thornton State Beach is an admired beach in San Francisco that is located just south of Half Moon Bay.
There are two ways to access the beach – you can drive down a long dirt road that is closed during the rainy season or walk through the sand from El Granada Beach to the south.
Many tourists visit Thornton State Beach to walk along the sand, look for seashells, and use a metal detector for exploring.
The place is also popular for tide pooling. There are several piers built by volunteers that are a great way to view the tide pools or the ocean.
There are no showers or changing facilities at this beach, so plan accordingly. Parking can be limited, and the crowd can create a little mess if you are planning to go at the weekend.
14) Mile Rock Beach
Located in Pacifica near Linda Mar Beach, Mile Rock Beach is another great sandy beach that is far less crowded than other nearby options. There is a large rock near the north end of the beach that usually has strong surf and is a popular spot for surfing.
The rock also makes this place a heaven to sit and view the water while enjoying a picnic. You can go tide pooling at Mile Rock Beach.
There are often many types of marine life in the tide pools, so be sure to be careful when investigating them. Although Mile Rock Beach is a peaceful picnic spot, it can still be a little crowded at times, especially at weekends.
15) Seacliff State Beach
Seacliff State Beach is a popular sandy beach in San Francisco Bay Area located near Santa Cruz. It is a beautiful beach with sweeping views of cliffs and the ocean.
This beach is a wonderful place to enjoy a walk or go tide pooling. There are a few where you can wade into the water, but the rest of the beach is usually too rocky to swim.
Parking can be a bit difficult, and the beach can become quite crowded during the summer. There are several trails that go along the cliffs above the beach.
San Francisco Bay Area Has Glam of Beaches!
The more you explore beaches in San Francisco Bay Area., the more you will find that there is so much to discover. You can enjoy sandy beaches, rocky shores, or even some hidden coves.
There are many different types of beaches to explore. So, whether you are looking for a secluded beach or one that is more popular, you can find it in the San Francisco Bay Area.