need beach advice for San Francisco area

May 30th, 2003, 11:38 AM
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need beach advice for San Francisco area

Going to be in San Francisco in June, and definitely want to get to the Pacific Ocean. First time in CA. Can anyone recommend some beaches that an east coaster might enjoy. Won't have a car, but will be renting one for a couple of day trips. Thanks for any and all info.

Loika is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 11:43 AM
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You know that the Pacific is bone chillingly cold, right?

If it's a non foggy day (not like today) then you have a couple of options.

Option A) Head north to Stinson Beach, or a little farther north to Point Reyes National Seashore.

Option B) Head south to San Gregorio.

Both options take you through cute towns. Both beaches have nice sand. Both are probably much too cold for going into the water. (But hey, we get high 70 days too!) Just make sure that you know where the fog is. Sometimes it just sits on the coast and is not visible until you actually get near the beach.
BayArea is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 11:45 AM
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as a follow up, if it is a foggy day, just take Public Transit out to Ocean Beach in SF. You'll see the Pacific, but you won't have to drive anywhere, and you can warm up with a hot drink at either the Beach Chalet or the Cliff house. Foggy beaches have a romantic quality all their own.
BayArea is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 11:55 AM
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Thanks for the great info, Bay. I love cold water, swam in Acadia National Park in Maine. Although I wouldn't really call what I do swimming, get the point. I might take your advice about the public transport to Ocean Beach as that drink idea sounds like a good one. Where does one find public transport to this beach?
Loika is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 11:59 AM
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Another vote for the beaches around San Gregorio - I love that area. There are lots of nice beaches along Hwy 1 between Half Moon Bay and Pescadero. It will definitely be a different experience than the east coast beaches. A lot of beaches aren't really swimmable because of the rip currents, but there are some with coves where you can wade in safely, even swim if you want. There can be big waves, so just watch out. The water will be cold.

Bring a picnic lunch and a sweatshirt and spend the day walking on the beach, enjoying the views, maybe do a little tide pooling. We had some late storms so there might still be quite a bit of driftwood on the beach. People like to make sculptures and little huts.
J_Correa is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 12:26 PM
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If you want to take public transportation to Ocean Beach the N Judah subway/streetcar (subway downtown, streetcar on surface elsewhere) goes to Ocean Beach. Personally I would only go under the conditions stated by BayArea --that is if it is a foggy day and there is no hope of clearing on the coast, otherwise the other places suggested are much nicer, i.e. better scenery. My vote would be Point Reyes. BTW swimming at Ocean Beach is extremely dangerous because of rip tides.
SAB is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 12:44 PM
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Hello Loika,
In S.F., public transport to Ocean Beach is available via the N-Judah and L-Taraval tram lines and also the 71-Noriega bus. To me, it is amazing that this long beach with its dramatic vistas is actually within the limits of a large city.
North of S.F., I love Pt. Reyes. Within the Pt. Reyes Nat'l Seashore, I particularly like Drake's Beach and Limantour Beach. Driving towards McClure's Beach towards Tomales Point (still within Pt. Reyes Nat'l Seashore) will give you beautiful views of Tomales Bay.
Further up the coast (about another 40 min or so) in Sonoma County, there's a string of little "pocket beaches" and also Goat Rock Beach with its rock formations and sweeping view of the Russian River's mouth.
These are just a few of my favorites, but as a local who enjoys the North California coast as often as possible, I hope this info gives you ideas for your trip.
dovima is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 12:49 PM
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if you fancy a drink post beach, and you decide that you want to visit outside of SF, then I'd recommend Stinson. The town is cute and has lots of little cafes.

The words of advice re: riptides are for real. Between riptides and rogue waves a number of people are lost to the ocean every year, adults and children alike.

I'd be unlikely to go for a proper swim at any of the beaches in SF.
BayArea is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 08:25 PM
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You guys are great. Thanks very much for all of your responses, which more than answered what I asked. I don't think I'll be "swimming," but I will put a foot in to say I did. The scenery is mostly what we are looking for - that and a nice relaxing day by the water. Thanks again.
Loika is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 08:42 PM
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If you like to swim in cold water, do not forget you can always swim in the bay. I did it often during El Nino from Sausalito. Also Baker Beach in the Presidio has a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge--bus line 28. Just note that the far end is a (non offical) nude beach.
kikahead is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 03:57 PM
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Hi Loika,

I have just posted a query on budget restaurants in Bar Harbor, Maine. Since you say you have been to the Acadia Nat Park, maybe you could help? Thanks

godrejk is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 04:01 PM
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Head South to Santa Cruz. You'll pass through Half Moon Bay and other great places on the way. There is a boardwalk there with the best wooden rollercoaster on the planet!
northwestmom is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 04:34 PM
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Just went to the Fitzpatrick Marine Wildlife Reserve (about 20 miles south of SF) was really interesting. Go at low tide and you can walk through the tidal pools to see urchins, starfish,anemones, etc...
chucklesbythebay is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 05:30 PM
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You could try Montara Beach just south of Devil's Slide , park by the Chart House . Or drive further south to one of the beaches in Santa Cruz. There you'll have a better chance of sunny skies and slightly warmer water. A beach I love is New Brighton State Beach..
viamar is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 05:41 PM
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Just want to underscore some of what's already been said. June in San Francisco can be nice and warm, but is much more likely to be cold cold cold, especially at the beach (in other words, it's not just the water temp. that's cold).

That said, the most picturesque beach here, regardless of weather, is Baker Beach with great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the mouth of the bay (the true "Golden Gate"). I'd also highly recommend going to Chrissy Field, on the other side of the GG Bridge. A great place for a stroll as well as a dip in the bay.

But if you want to have a better shot at nice weather, a drive down to Santa Cruz would be your best bet.
zooey91 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2003, 10:25 AM
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In Santa Cruz, the Boardwalk is a great suggestion. New Brighton Beach is also a great beach. The beaches near Santa Cruz are definitely more swimmable than near SF because of the bay. Other suggestions in that area are - Natural Bridges State Beach which also has a great nature trail and is a stop on the Monarch butterfly migration - if you are there at the right time it's great, Capitola Village which is a small area right on the beach with lots of shops and casual restaurants - many of the restaurants have patios which over look the beach, there is a creek that empties into the ocean there too, Seacliff State Beach in Aptos is another great beach, there is a walkway that runs the length of the beach.
J_Correa is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 04:34 AM
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The most beautiful beach in SF is Baker Beach with the view of the GG Bridge. Nothing could be better on a sunny day, if you are lucky enough to get one! There is a Muni bus that goes there. It is MUCH nicer than Ocean beach.
laurelt is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 03:27 PM
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Is Baker beach still a nude beach? There is a bus going close by, don't remember 28 or 29.

Bus 38 goes to Ocean Beach, make sure it says so before you board.

And if you don't want to drive there is a good bus connection to Stinson Beach - Golden Gate transit. You can go to Santa Cruz by train/bus if you are not used to mountain driving.
FainaAgain is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 03:29 PM
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The very north end of Baker is still an unofficial nude beach. But that's way far away...
BayArea is offline  
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