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.
Plan Your Visit
- 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.
Tucked between Lands End and Baker Beach, China Beach in San Francisco is a national park site well loved for its beach access, tide pools, picnic area, and spectacular views of the Marin Headlands and Golden Gate Bridge. However, the infrastructure at China Beach is aging and in dire need of repair.
In 2017, the Parks Conservancy and National Park Service launched a feasibility study to explore options for the future of China Beach, engaging subject matter experts and community members in the process. Based on the results of this study, the project team is embarking on an effort to rehabilitate the retaining walls, road, and bathhouse facility at China Beach—with the goal of ensuring that beach lovers can continue to safely access and enjoy the site for many generations to come. Learn more about the plans for the rehabilitation of China Beach here.