Picture a 3.5-mile stretch of white beach with few tourists and no highrises. It's just you and the waves and the seabirds at Ocean Beach, on the westernmost border of San Francisco, adjacent to Golden Gate Park. Great for strolling and flying kites, but the water is frigid and the currents hazardous for all but the most experienced surfers.
Ocean Beach Fire Program
In 2016, the National Park Service (NPS) updated the Ocean Beach Fire Program to extend fire curfew to 9:30 p.m., expand the number of available fire rings from 12 to 16, and does not require permits for groups of fewer than 25 people. For more information visit the project website: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/OBfireprogram
Plan Your Visit
- Public Transportation is the best way to get to Ocean Beach. On-site parking is very limited. To plan your trip using public transportation, either use the trip planner in this section or click on Get Directions on the map above.
- The sunniest months for a beach walk are September and October.
- The beach is almost always covered in fog throughout late spring and summer, with average temperatures in the 50s.
- Please do not trample fragile plants on the dunes.
- Beach fires are currently operated under conditions established during the 2014 Revised Pilot Program. If you love beach fires, please learn how to have a safe, proper fire on the beach by downloading this informational flyer. Also, please see the NPS website for all of the rules.
- Volunteer regularly with hundreds of like-minded individuals and help keep Ocean Beach clean and safe!
Look for the small, shy Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus)—a threatened species that rests here in the winter. In California, there has been a significant decline in breeding locations as a result of various forms of human disturbance. The species is being strictly monitored and protected by the National Park Service.
Vast Dunes to Urban Getaway
At one time, a vast sand-dune wilderness (now the Sunset and Richmond districts) separated Ocean Beach from the rest of San Francisco. Development came in the late 19th century when a steam railroad was put in place to bring people to a fashionable resort on the outskirts of town. Later the Cliff House, and the now-gone Sutro Baths and Playland at the Beach amusement park was put in place. Today, Ocean Beach is still as popular for seaside drives, brisk jogs, and sunset walks as it was in the early 1900s.
Shipwrecks in the Sand
At the foot of Ortega Street during very low tides, you can see the worn ribs of the hull of the ship King Philip sticking out of the sand. Between 1850 and 1926, 20 ships came to grief on Ocean Beach.