This popular beach in the Presidio offers the best ocean view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. Large waves and rip currents make the water unsafe for swimming, but it is a beautiful place for sunbathing and picnicking. You can sometimes watch sea lions and porpoises in the early morning. Or, enjoy a hike by picking up the Coastal Trail on the cliffside of the beach. Be sure to keep an eye out for California’s State Rock, serpentine. Please note that the north side of Baker Beach is “clothing optional” and is often frequented by nude sunbathers.
How To Get There: To reach Baker Beach using public transit, take the 38 Geary Muni bus and transfer to the 29 Sunset Muni bus. If you are driving, signs are provided along Lincoln Boulevard to reach the beach. Free parking lots are available, but on a sunny day these fill up very fast.
You can sometimes watch sea lions and porpoises in the early morning. Or, enjoy a hike by picking up the Coastal Trail on the cliffside of the beach.
China Beach (East Beach)
If you are looking for one of the safest beaches for families, China Beach offers shallow waters for kids to play in. This tiny cove is tucked between Lands End and Baker Beach and also features a spectacular view of the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge. It is also a great spot to have a picnic or a barbecue. Take a walk during low tide from China Beach to Baker Beach and find starfish, anemones, and mussels clinging to the rocky crevices of the cliff. Named after the Chinese fishermen who camped here in days past, you can see a monument to China Beach’s early residents near the parking area at the end of Sea Cliff Avenue. Please note: no pets, fires, and glass containers are allowed at China Beach.
How To Get There: China Beach is located at Sea Cliff and 28th avenues in the Sea Cliff neighborhood. From El Camino del Mar, follow small brown signs that say "Public Beach." Parking is very limited at China Beach, with less than 40 spots available. To get there on San Francisco Muni, get off the 29 bus at Lincoln/Camino del Mar and 25th Avenue and walk west, or take the 1 California bus to California Street and 30th Avenue.