travel

  1. Bolinas Beach

    This hidden-away Marin beach tends to be windy and is mostly used by dog-walkers, and kayakers. It’s sandy, with a backdrop of rocky cliffs. If you walk north, you’ll find warmer nooks and crannies out of the wind, where some sun-worshipers bask in the nude, although there is a rarely enforced city ordinance against it .

  2. Stinson Beach

    Three miles (5 km) of sand make this one of the most popular beaches in the Bay Area, coupled with the fact that Marin often has fine weather when the rest of the coast is covered in fog. As a result, it can be crowded when the sun comes out .

  3. Muir and Red Rock Beaches

    These two beaches, just south of Stinson, are the most famous nude beaches north of San Francisco. Both are sandy curves within their own coves, protected from wind and prying eyes by rocky cliffs. The only caveat is that you’ll need sturdy walking shoes to get down the rough paths that lead to them from the parking lots.

    Muir Beach

    • off Hwy 1 on Pacific Way

    Red Rock

    • 5.5 miles (9 km) north of Muir on Pacific Way

    Muir Beach
  4. Baker Beach

    This one-mile (1.5-km) stretch of sandy beach, with its perfect views of the Golden Gate Bridge, is the most popular in the city. It’s great for sunbathing, dog-walking, picnicking or jogging, but signs warn off swimmers because of riptides. Sunsets here are unforgettable.

    Baker Beach
  5. China Beach

    Officially called James D. Phelan Beach, this is the poshest beach in San Francisco, being an adjunct to the exclusive Sea Cliff neighborhood. Despite its pedigree, however, California law requires that all coastal areas remain public, although access roads to them can be private. China Beach is small and protected from the wind, there’s plenty of parking, and it’s a pleasant walk down to the sand. Once there, you’ll find showers and even changing rooms.

  6. Land’s End

    Although extremely beautiful in a wild, untouched way, this tiny, rocky beach is only for the hardiest nature-lovers. It’s quite a hike to get here, although taking the trail up above it is quite a bit easier than going by the lower, coastal trail. Many habitués have built little sun-traps for themselves, by piling up rocks to wall-in their patches of sand.

    Land’s End
  7. Ocean Beach

    Some 4 miles (6.5 km) long and quite broad, this is the city’s largest beach by far, but probably the worst for entering the water safely. It starts at Cliff House and continues on beyond the city limits, turning into picturesque dunes at the southern end. Great for walking or jogging, and when the sun comes out, it’s a fine place to sunbathe .

  8. Half Moon Bay

    About 22 miles (35 km) south of the city, the Half Moon Bay shoreline forms a long, gently curving sandy beach accessible at several points off Highway 1. A horseback riding trail runs from Dunes Beach to the bluff area of Francis Beach, and picnicking, kite-flying, surfing, and surf fishing are popular activities.

    • Hwy 1

    Half Moon Bay
  9. San Gregorio Beach

    Part of San Gregorio Beach, 11.5 miles (18.5 km) south of Half Moon Bay, is clothing-optional, but it requires a good hike down the cliffs to get to. The entire stretch is partly state park, and includes a protected, driftwood-strewn estuary at the back of a wide, sandy beach, with grassy bluffs along the coast. All along there are protected areas and inlets. The estuary is home to many birds and small animals.

  10. Pescadero Beach

    This beach has a 1-mile (1.5-km) shoreline with sandy coves, rocky cliffs, tide pools, surf-fishing spots, and picnic facilities. Across the highway is Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve, a popular area for bird-watchers and other naturalists, being a refuge for blue heron, kites, deer, raccoons, foxes and skunks. The beach is 14.5 miles (23.3 km) south of Half Moon Bay on Highway 1 .

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