Stinson Beach is a place to walk for miles on white sand, take a dip, have a barbecue, jog, or play games. Visitors can even borrow volleyball nets and balls from the main lifeguard tower in exchange for a driver’s license. Lifeguards are generally on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Stinson’s white sand and oceanfront make it one of the best swimming beaches in northern California—not to mention a favorite surfing, picnicking, and volleyball spot. The best times of year for surfing are winter and spring. For windsurfers, the prevailing northwesterly winds blow best in the afternoon. The summer surf is most suitable for rafters and body-boarders.
The adjacent town of Stinson Beach offers several restaurants, a small grocery store, and a handful of shops. Stinson Beach has an extensive picnic area complete with tables and barbecues.
Plan Your Visit
- Call ahead for parking and weather updates. On hot days, the parking lot often fills before noon, and there are no overflow lots. Information on swimming and summer fog conditions is also available by phone at (415) 868-1922.
- On weekends and holidays, a Golden Gate Transit bus runs from Stinson Beach up to Pantoll Ranger Station and along the Panoramic Highway to Marin City, stopping at several mountain trailheads on its route.
- The average summer water temperature is a cold 58 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Shark attacks have occurred in Stinson Beach waters. Check for warning updates.
- Rip currents occur year-round and can carry swimmers hundreds of yards from shore. Look for informational warning displays at the beach.
- Public Transportation is the best way to get to Stinson Beach. On-site parking is very limited.