China Beach is in a tiny cove tucked between Lands End and Baker Beach in the Sea Cliff neighborhood of San Francisco. This sheltered pocket of sand features a picnic area, sunbathing, good play spots for children, and spectacular views of the Marin Headlands and Golden Gate.
Legend has it that local residents named China Beach for the Chinese fishermen who, long ago, anchored their junks in the cove and camped on the beach. You can see a monument to these early residents at the trailhead near the parking area at the end of Sea Cliff Avenue.
- Access to the beach is via a paved drive or stairway down from the parking lot to water level.
- No pets, fires, and glass containers are allowed.
- No lifeguards are on duty. Due to unpredictable surf conditions, swimming is not recommended.
- Take a low-tide walk from China Beach to Baker Beach and find starfish, anemones, and mussels clinging to the rocky crevices of the cliffs.
- To sunbathe out of the wind, there is a small deck on top of the lifeguard equipment pick-up station.
- Above beach level, grills and a picnic area are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Restrooms and cold water showers are open sunrise to sunset.