Selfie in the parks

The 9 Most #Blessed Social Selfie Spots in the Parks

From Park E-ventures, December 2016

By Curran White and Veda Banerjee

Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Snapchat. Social networks need captivating photos or videos—with sublime backgrounds—to entice “likes” and comments. And call us biased, but the spectacular backdrops in the Golden Gate National Parks are, well, picture-perfect.

Here is a list of the most Instagramm-able, Facebook “like”-worthy, and Snapchattiest vistas for your curated online profiles. Filters are truly optional.


Sutro Baths

A kiss to build a dream on...

A photo posted by Cherlyn Wagner (@cwagnerphotography) on

Imagine this: You’re facing the Pacific Ocean with waves crashing everywhere. Haunting tales of shipwrecks cross your mind. Ocean Beach is to your left, and the famous Cliff House is right next to you—the famous building you’ve seen in countless postcards. You look behind you to the historic Sutro Baths, at the westernmost tip of Lands End, once a lavish 25,000-person swimming facility built by Adolph Sutro in the 19th century, today left in ruins after the grand structure was destroyed by a fire in 1966.

How many ways can you capture selfies for this image? You can use the #NoFilter hashtag bravely on your Instagram photos. Go ahead, share away! Tell stories. Watch the likes roll in like the (in)famous fog.

Fort Point

This Civil War-era brick fort lies directly below the southern end of the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge. That makes it obviously selfie-worthy. From the foot of the iconic span, the incredible, unusual, and intricate views of the bridge from below make this National Historic Site pure Instagram gold!

Even though Fort Point—completed in 1861—never saw action during the Civil War as the advent of rifled artillery made this kind of fortification obsolete, Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss redesigned the bridge during the construction phase to preserve the fortress as a “fine example of the mason’s art.”

Fort Point still hosts cannon drills and the annual Civil War reenactments. Can you say Instagram Stories opportunities? And oh, walk up to the roof of the fortress and add a jumping photo too. Why not?

Marshall’s Beach

Happy Hour.

A photo posted by Brian Skrip (@brianskrip) on

A mixture of rock and sand make this rugged beach a must-see sight in the Golden Gate National Parks. Its proximity to the Golden Gate Bridge adds a touch of magic to this already enchanting location, making it ideal for an up-close and personal shot with the iconic span.

To reach this beach, you must hike down the Batteries to Bluffs Trail from the entrance near Battery Godfrey. We suggest parking at Fort Scott and walking down the Batteries to Bluff Trail from there to gain access.


Kirby Cove

Swangin' #FinallyFoundIt #KirbyCove #Views

A photo posted by Lyndsey (@lyndsey_noel11) on

The steep, mile-long trail to the cove begins at the parking area above Battery Spencer on Conzelman Road and descends through a grove of cypress, eucalyptus, and pine. As you meander to the campsite, you will be rewarded by peek-a-boo shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can create a slideshow of selfies and photos for your Instagram album. The view just never gets old. #Truth.

Muir Beach Overlook

Stay gold Bay Area. #dasme #goldenhour #muirbeachoverlook #norcal PC and most edits: @wristopher_huang

A photo posted by Maggie Tzeng 🌟 (@magstzeng) on

Jutting over a jackknife cliff, the Muir Beach Overlook has all the makings of a “like” bonanza. Its panoramic views of the Marin Headlands, Muir Beach, and the dazzling Pacific Ocean have been inspiring photographers long before Snapchat was even a thing.

To get there, go east along the trail (uphill) to scenic Coyote Ridge or south along the breathtaking Coastal Trail to Tennessee Cove. Look for a small signpost north of Muir Beach along Highway 1 that points the way to Muir Beach Overlook.

Mt. Tam’s West Peak

At an elevation of more than 2,400 feet, Mt. Tam’s West Peak gives hikers and selfie-takers a front row seat to one of the best views in Marin County. It was exactly these sweeping vistas that made the West Peak the ideal lookout for an attack during the uncertainty of the Cold War.

In 1950, the Air Force leveled more than 100 acres of the West Peak to construct the Mill Valley Air Force Station. The station was closed in 1980, and its buildings were gradually removed over the next two decades. Today, the remnant structures give the station a very dystopian-esque backdrop for your photo shoots.

Add the #WestPeaking hashtag to your photos to show us and the One Tam initiative how you use this dazzling site.


Mori Point

We saw two whales! 🐳 #MoriPoint #Pacifica

A photo posted by shera (@sherbeark) on

Mori Point has a flair for the dramatic. With its jagged cliffs and outcroppings to its display of wildflowers in the spring, this park site in San Mateo County is a prime locale for your selfie. Marvel at the restoration work that has rehabilitated this land while you take a break from all those pictures. Your pooch can also guest star in your selfies too (on-leash, of course).

Milagra Ridge

Sitting above the scenic coastal town of Pacifica, Milagra Ridge is experiencing a renaissance. This scrub-covered ridgeline is critical habitat, home to red-tailed hawks and the endangered mission blue butterfly. It is the site of intensive restoration by Park Stewardship staff and volunteers.

Walk along the newly elongated Milagra Battery Trail for a full menu of vistas and overlooks that’ll make your Instagram followers double tap your selfie. Stop for a quick snap at the new section of this trail that gives you sweeping vistas toward Daly City. Your four-legged family member can also join you for a romp around this windswept parkland (on leash).

Sweeney Ridge

Sunrise burning off the fog #sweeneyridge #seenonmyrun #tnflocals #woolxinaction

A photo posted by Justin Knowles (@technologyhiker) on

Discover breathtaking selfie spots at the location where the Bay Area was actually “discovered” by Europeans. Sweeney Ridge is a hilly hiking area of ridges and ravines between San Bruno and Pacifica, about a 25-minute drive south from San Francisco. The ridge’s 1,200-foot-high summit slopes down to the bay on one side and to the Pacific Ocean on the other.

If scenic views and restored habitat don’t satisfy the itch of your picture-taking finger, the decommissioned military bunkers may serve as a funky background for your “Blue Steel” selfie. On-leash pooches are welcome to join you for your photo safari.

While you’re out enjoying the national parks in your backyard, tag your photos with #Parks4All to join us in preserving these local treasures for the enjoyment of all communities and future generations.

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