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14 incredible SF Bay Area beaches you may not know about

14 incredible SF Bay Area beaches you may not know about

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If there’s one factor Bay Area seashore aficionados agree upon, it’s that our ocean water is chilly — particularly compared with the waters the place our SoCal brethren frolic south of Level Conception. However what we hand over in consolation is made up for in different methods. Our beaches are among the many most beautiful and various, providing journey, contemplation, seclusion and outright enjoyable together with these well-chilled waves.

In fact, everybody is aware of about San Francisco’s Ocean and Baker beaches, Marin County’s well-known Stinson and Santa Cruz’s incredible shore. However listed here are 14 different sandy choices, the place surf meets strand and superlatives abound.

Adventuresome shores

The Nice Seashore at Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore will get the brunt of what the Pacific Ocean has to supply, yielding loads of journey alongside its 11 miles of principally secluded sand. Docent Jim Rolka says the Pacific is something however pacifico — “peaceful” in Spanish. Ferdinand Magellan solely thought these seas have been peaceable, Rolka says, as a result of the explorer had simply been battered mercilessly round Cape Horn.

On any given day right here, wetsuit-clad surfers glide the chilly, difficult waves — the water a balmy 53 levels immediately — and shore fishermen throw out their heavy-duty strains hoping for an enormous chew. Couples huddle towards the wind, pelicans hunt for meals and an occasional sea lion makes its method onto this Level Reyes seashore for somewhat relaxation. And when the wind dies down and a heat solar seems, it’s superb.

Who cares about fog or drizzle when the tide rolls in at Level Reyes’ Nice Seashore? (Photographs courtesy Dino Vournas) For extra journey protection from the San Francisco Bay Area and past
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Level Reyes’ Limantour Seashore presents a pleasing sandy stretch on Drakes Bay bordering the Limantour Estero, or marshy estuary. The water may be chilly, however this family-friendly seashore additionally boasts gentler waves and average winds. Quite a few hikes lead by way of the wetlands and coastal trails, and you can launch your kayak into the Estero. Leashed canine are welcome however, as at different beaches, they’re restricted in some areas to guard the nesting grounds of endangered Snowy Plovers. And if you need to get away from all of it for some time, head south to close by Sculptured Seashore.

The Marin Headlands’ Rodeo Seashore, which is a part of the Golden Gate Nationwide Recreation Area, sits in a dramatic cove, surrounded by imposing cliffs and rocks. Close by, you’ll discover previous Fort Cronkhite and quite a few artillery batteries that when defended the Golden Gate from invasion. Speak about coastal microclimates: I arrived at Rodeo after a sunlit, windless, 70-degree seashore stroll in Tomales Bay to seek out blasting wind-driven drizzle, fog and temperatures within the low 50s. However even within the drizzle, seashore lovers and their canine performed on on the darkish sand, joggers dashed close by and an occasional surfer honed his expertise within the roiling water.

Household-friendly beaches

That sunny Tomales Bay seashore was Coronary heart’s Want, one in every of three nice choices for folks planning a household day by the water. This comparatively small cove in Tomales Bay State Park is definitely surveyable for kiddie-watching. The water, which is hotter than the oceanside beaches, is shallow for a great distance out. There are relaxation rooms and picnic tables, and restricted parking ($eight per automotive) retains crowds to a minimal. On very nice weekends, it’s greatest to get there earlier than 11 a.m.

With its mild waves and shallow water, Coronary heart’s Want Seashore at Tomales Bay State Park is an excellent spot for households. 

Alameda’s well-liked Robert W. Crown Memorial Seashore — named after a California assemblyman who championed this seashore’s preservation — presents a big sandy seashore and comparatively heat water, whose shallow depths stretch for a number of hundred ft in the direction of the town of San Francisco. The two.5-mile lengthy seashore attracts a various crowd of water lovers, sun-worshippers and picnickers, sporting every part from bathing fits to church garments. This shoreline is a favourite with wind surfers and kite-boarders, too. There’s loads of parking ($5 per automotive), plus relaxation rooms and a altering room. And a nifty guests middle at Crab Cove consists of an aquarium, tide swimming pools and historical past and marine reveals.

One other place to take the youngsters (and grown-ups) is Moss Seashore’s James V. Fitzgerald Marine Protect. The protect has a few of California’s greatest intertidal-zone tide swimming pools. At low tide, retreating waters expose swimming pools, cracks and fissures within the exhausting rock that teem with sea animals and crops. Guests slip and slide alongside the ocean grass deposits on the rocks on the lookout for visible treasures. Examine native tidal charts earlier than venturing right here to get the utmost enjoyment and tide-pool time. There are additionally fascinating trails above the protect linking the north and south tide pool areas, meandering by means of cypress groves and on to different close by beaches. And parking is free.

Extra spectacular sandy strands

Pacifica State Seashore — or Linda Mar Seashore — is a superb browsing spot for learners. Its unintimidating, predictable waves break on the seashore, as opposed to some extent break, the place competitors for waves can find yourself in crowded circumstances and even fisticuffs. The temper at Linda Mar is decidedly mellow and the seashore makes an exquisite people-watching venue (and within the spring, whale watching too). There’s even a Taco Bell proper on the sand on your chalupa repair.

At Grey Whale Cove Seashore, wave motion and erosion close to the infamous Satan’s Slide has formed a lovely, hidden double-cove marvel, simply south of the Tom Lantos Tunnels on Freeway 1. Park within the McNee Ranch parking zone, cross Freeway 1 (rigorously!) and descend the lengthy staircase to the seashore under. This pure murals gives multi-hued, multi-strata cliff partitions and deep, clear sand. Remember that the north aspect of the cove tends to be clothing-optional in good climate. Because the identify implies, this seashore is an effective spot to see migrating whales in season.

Secluded Grey Whale Cove, close to Montara, is reachable by way of an extended staircase that leads right down to the sand. 

The shoreline under Half Moon Bay is a spectacular setting for 5 chic shoreline choices alongside Freeway 1, beginning at Cowell Ranch Seashore. To not be confused with Santa Cruz’s Cowell Seashore, this secluded strand on the finish of a half-mile street was preserved in 1987 by way of the efforts of conservation teams. From the lookout level, each the north and south beaches unfold for majestic views. South seashore is off-limits throughout harbor seal calving season, however public entry to the north seashore is down an extended staircase alongside a steep bluff. (As on all ocean beaches, train excessive warning when enjoying in or close to the water. Tragically, a Pleasanton lady drowned right here earlier this month, making an attempt to save lots of youngsters who have been swept out from ankle-deep water by sneaker waves and an undertow.)

Martins Seashore, about 7 miles south of Half Moon Bay and one of the lovely beaches on the San Mateo coast, has been the topic of controversy for the final a number of years. Tech billionaire and oceanfront landowner Vinod Khosla sought to completely block entry to the seashore however was rebuffed by the courts. Now he’s interesting to the U.S. Supreme Courtroom. In the meantime, shoreline entry has been restored and water fanatics can once more benefit from the advantageous sand, spectacular southern sea cliffs and the long-lasting shark fin-shaped rock formation off shore. Park within the dust lot at Freeway 1 and Martins Seashore Street, stroll previous the automotive gate and down the paved street about a half-mile to the seashore — or drive down midway and pay a $10 parking payment.

A brief distance south, you’ll discover Tunitas Creek Seashore dominated by magnificent cliff partitions and not surprisingly, a big creek.  A steep, eroded dust path curving partially via dense vegetation led me right down to the seashore, the place a kite-boarder was packing up his gear after an thrilling sail via some whitecaps.  “It looks like we have the place to ourselves,” he stated. The seashore is on its method to turning into a county park, its raucous previous tamed by new laws.

Tunitas Creek Seashore is framed by dramatic cliff partitions. 

Ho, hum, yet one more beautiful seashore? Why, sure! San Gregorio sits in a valley the place San Gregorio Creek runs towards the Pacific Ocean. Nowadays, says State Parks consultant Kaira Wallace, the creek move does not have sufficient energy to chop by means of the seashore to the ocean, so it has backed up right into a lagoon. You’ll have to wade throughout a stretch a number of inches deep to succeed in the seashore. It’s a small worth to pay for entry to this notable seashore, the place solar lovers stroll, canine cavort and youngsters construct driftwood sculptures.

Pescadero State Seashore makes an ideal ending to a sunny foray, with no less than three distinct areas to beguile seashore lovers. Small coves to the south supply picnic terrain and prime boogie boarding, a minimum of on this specific go to. You possibly can take pleasure in hours of wildlife sightings on the Pescadero Marsh and Protect, the place its namesake creek and Butano Creek intermingle. And to the north, the near-vertical, multi-colored bluffs and hidden beaches present loads of journey.

Prime off your seashore journey with a cease within the cool little city of Pescadero, a number of miles east, to select up housemade jams and tacky cheddar-artichoke bread on the Arcangeli Grocery and Bakery, or the well-known olallieberry pie on the historic Duarte’s Tavern and Restaurant. A candy finish to a summery day.

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Train warning when enjoying in or close to ocean water. Do not flip your again on the ocean. Sneaker waves and rip tides pose vital risks at some beaches. Maintain youngsters inside arm’s size. Examine tide charts earlier than going to an unfamiliar seashore. Beaches can lose numerous their territory — and a few lose all of it — at greater tides, which might reduce you off from an exit route.

Reduce your danger of rock-fall damage by setting your picnic blanket nicely away from seashore cliffs. Mountaineering to the seashore? Gown for changeable climate and pack a flashlight, a primary help package and loads of water,

Earlier than you go, examine web sites for seashore restrictions on pets, alcohol and fires, in addition to info on restrooms and consuming water availability.

Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore: and

Marin Headlands:

Pacifica beaches:  Discover seashore info beneath the departments tab at; and surf classes at

California State Parks:

Crown Memorial Seashore: