Best Beaches in The Bay Area and Beyond

 In San Francisco

Northern California beaches are amongst the most beautiful in the nation.   Some beaches are within a few miles of the city, some further afield.  Fall is great for beach lovers in Northern California because the fog of summer gives way to sunny clear warm days.

Northern California’s Beaches are Beautiful

stinson beach

Stinson Beach, Northern California

1 Stinson Beach

About 35 minutes north once you’re over the Golden Gate Bridge, this is a quiet beach area and popular with city dwellers.

2 Agate Beach Park

Close by Stinson Beach is another favorite of San Franciscans, who love Agate Beach Park in Bolinas because it offers more than sunbathing and ducking waves.  You can walk along tide pools which stretch some two miles and marine life such as sea lions, whales and shorebirds are a common sight.

3 Ocean Beach

The City boasts its own beach. Ocean Beach is the city’s largest and most popular beach but locals go there for the sandy beaches and wonderful views as the ocean is pretty dangerous. This part of the Pacific is full of riptides.

4 Montara State Beach

With its smooth sands and spectacular views, secluded Montara Beach is a 25-minute drive south from the city, eight miles north of Half Moon Bay.

5 Pescadero State Beach

About 40 miles south of San Francisco Pescadero State Beach is a mile-long beach that is charming and serene, with nice stretches of smooth sand, rocky outcroppings, tide pools and dunes. There are also fishing spots and picnic areas.

northern california beaches

Carmel State Beach, Northern California

6 Ano Nuevo State Reserve Beach,

A little further south, Ano Nuevo is known for its elephant seals who in summer can be seen sunning themselves in large numbers on the beach.  There is also great fishing, paths and trails weaving down to the beach and along the shoreline.  The beaches are sandy and there are some great dunes, rocky areas, and bluffs.

7 Carmel River State Beach

If you are prepared to make the journey – just over 2 hours south of the city – this part of the Carmel River State Beach is on the mouth of a river and has a lot to offer:  good fishing, stretches of soft tan sand, protection from winds, shallow pools, and abundant bird life.  It is advisable to cool down in the shallow river as the surf can be hazardous for swimmers.

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