Tucked beneath the bluffs of the Presidio on the northwest edge of San Francisco, Baker Beach is a local favorite where a picnic on the sand comes with excellent views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Baker Beach offers a respite from the busy city and a chance to spot dolphins just offshore.
Baker Beach is best seen on a coastal walking tour, where you can admire views of the Marin Headlands and the Pacific as it meets San Francisco Bay. The California Coastal Trail and Batteries to Bluffs Trail run along this part of the city’s shoreline. Visitors can also head to the beach independently; take a blanket and a picnic, and enjoy a couple of hours relaxing on the beach.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Baker Beach is ideal for nature lovers and those who want to experience San Francisco the way locals do.
- Picnic tables, barbecue grills, and restrooms are available.
- With a strong current, the water here is considered too rough for swimming.
- Bring layers, no matter what the season or current weather; the wind and fog can appear quickly in this part of the city.
- The very northern end of the beach is frequented by clothing-optional sunbathers.
How to Get There
Via public transportation, hop on the PresidiGo shuttle or the 29 Muni bus. There is a parking lot if you have your own car.
When to Get There
Photography buffs will want to go at sunset for shots of the ocean, Golden Gate Bridge, and Marin Headlands in the evening light. Traditional beach weather doesn’t often come to San Francisco, but September and October are usually the warmest, sunniest months. Sunny weekend days are typically very crowded.
History and war buffs will want to stop by Battery Chamberlain, located just above the beach, where once a month the National Park Service opens the site to let visitors see the 50-ton “disappearing gun”—a relic of the Presidio’s military past.