Unique park beaches to add to your summer bucket list


Scenic view overlooking the beach and bluffs of Fort Funston stretching out to the pacific ocean and gorgeous sunset

From expansive beaches that seem to stretch on forever to tiny pocket beaches nestled into coastal bluffs, the sandy shores of the GGNRA have something for every beach lover. With summer days around the corner, we wanted to share highlights from some of the most unique park beaches. 

Baker Beach 

Majestic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and dramatic sunsets are just a couple things parkgoers love about Baker Beach. A picnic area with tables, grills, and restroom facilities is tucked in the cypress grove at the east end of the parking lot. 

Check it out: The Coastal Trail, which spans three Bay Area counties and many park sites, winds its way along the top of the bluffs above Baker Beach. It makes for a great after-work or weekend stroll. 

Fort Funston 

Beach lovers and dog lovers rejoice over the scenic, dog-friendly shores at Fort Funston. The path down to the beach is steep, but visitors can enjoy views from the even and paved loop trails at the top of the bluffs near the parking lot.  

Check it out: San Francisco was once covered with sand dunes, and the largest remaining dune field can be found at Fort Funston. 

Tennessee Beach 

Nestled between coastal bluffs on each side, Tennessee Beach beach feels like a hidden treasure among the valley’s rolling hills. The 1.8-mile trail from the parking lot is mostly flat and partially paved, making for a leisurely bike ride or walk. 

Check it out: The rocks here at the cove are chock full of radiolarian fossils that are silt to sand size, that are clearly visible with a hand lens.   

Beach Packing List 

  • Drinking water and snacks 
  • Beach chair or blanket 
  • Hat and sunglasses 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Life jackets for children 
  • A book or games 


For a stress-free day at the beach, follow these beach safety tips:

  • Be aware of currents and undertows
  • Never swim alone
  • Keep a close eye on children and pets
  • Treat other beachgoers with respect
  • Most beaches within the GGNRA are not recommended for swimming — except for Stinson Beach when lifeguards are present
  • Never turn your back on the ocean
  • Be aware of changing tides and weather conditions
  • Watch for floating logs and debris, which may be taken up by strong waves and tossed on you
  • Avoid slippery rocks—rock outcrops can be slippery from mist, rain, or spray 
  • Wear shoes to protect your feet from sharp rocks and debris
  • Do your part to keep beaches clean of trash, especially sharp objects
  • Call 911 in an emergency
Alex Grant

Alex Grant was an Editorial Content Specialist for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy's Marketing and Communications Team.

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