Baker Beach San Francisco
Baker Beach is San Francisco’s most popular beach.
It also happens to be one of my favorites, and there are many good reasons for this. It’s more centrally located (compared to Ocean Beach, for example), and it's also well-equipped with parking, restrooms, picnic tables and BBQs, making it a convenient, as well as lovely, place to spend the day.
The sand at Baker Beach seems softer than at other beaches, and there are grassy areas for playing games, as well as shaded tree-areas further back from the beach to shelter you if you need a break from the sun.
The setting is extremely picturesque.
It's considered the prettiest beach in San Francisco - although I must say that Crissy Fields must be a close contender!
To the west, cliffs jut up from the beach, and pretty painted houses cling to the edge. There is a grand view of the Golden Gate Bridge, and you can watch enormous container ships pass by as they enter the bay.
Since the beach faces north, it tends to be more sheltered than Ocean Beach, for example, which directly faces the west winds that normally blow through the city. That said, it can still be breezy on a cool day, so come prepared anyway!
Local note: Be aware that the far east end is an area for nude sunbathing. Sunbathing nude outside of the designated area can result in steep fines.
If you want to avoid the crowds...
On really warm, sunny days, locals descend on this place like bees on honey to soak in some rays, and parking is a challenge, but if you come on a day that isn’t especially hot, you will have a lovely, quiet place to picnic. For example, the images on this page were taken on a pleasantly sunny weekday, and as you can see, it's possible to have the beach almost entirely to yourself!
Swimming is not recommended at Baker Beach. The waves usually break directly onto the shore, and like most coastal beaches around San Francisco, the currents are very strong, and the water is very cold.
If you are interested in swimming, the only places that have areas that are safe to do so are the beaches inside the bay, such as at Crissy Fields or at the Aquatic Park near Fisherman's Wharf. Even so, the water is still freezing, and it's not something I would recommend!
Muni bus line #29 will drop you off within a short walking distance to the beach on Bowley Street. If you are coming from downtown, transfer from the #38 muni line at 25th Avenue.
Baker Beach is located on the northwest side of San Francisco, off of Lincoln Boulevard, within the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy area of the Presidio. Parking is free, and there are three available lots.
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