Beaches extensive guide to Berkeley and San Francisco area, plus inspiring articles about trips around the world

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SAN FRANCISCO’s BEST ●Attractions●Parks/Zoo


          San Francisco is not the place to visit to go to the beach.  Los Angeles is where that California is.  Still, the city does have a few good spots to soak up some rays, weather willing.  The water, however, is usually either too cold or too dangerous for swimming.

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Aquatic Park Cove  Foot of Polk St., Fisherman’s Wharf.  Free.  Located in the people-congested area across the street from Ghirardelli Square, this is a good spot for children to wade and to rest and enjoy great views of the bay.

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image courtesy of venue
Baker Beach  Off Lincoln Blvd./25th Ave., The Presidio.  Free.  The surf here is unsafe and the temperature often chilly, yet plenty of people are usually sunning and strolling and the views of the Golden Gate Bridge are spectacular. 
Battery Chamberlin  is adjacent.  Rangers conduct demonstrations of the world’s last remaining 50-ton “disappearing gun” on the first weekend of the month, and environmental programs are sometimes offered.

China Beach  End of Seacliff Ave./28th Ave., Richmond District.  Free.  No dogs.  Located in an exclusive residential area, this secluded cove is a surprising find.  This beach is named for the Chinese fisherman who anchored their junks offshore and camped here during the Gold Rush.  Parking is  on a bluff, then you walk down steep stairs to a sheltered, sandy beach.  The surf is gentle, so swimming and wading are possible, and changing rooms and restrooms are available in summer.

Ocean Beach  Access at Sloat Blvd. and Lincoln Ave.  A popular spot with experienced surfers, this 4-mile-long beach runs along the Great Highway for 3 miles and is also a great place to walk, play volleyball, and skate along the walkway.  Be aware that the water is chilly and has strong, dangerous riptides.  Best access and parking is at the end of Golden Gate Park off Lincoln Avenue, though other access points are found south at points where traffic lights are located. 

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