Baker Beach: The Perfect San Francisco View

When I visited San Francisco in late September, I arrived in town with a giant list of things I wanted to see and do. Some items on that list were of your typical tourist fare, such as crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, but some were a little less glamorous. Dipping my feet in the Pacific Ocean from the sandy shores of Baker Beach was one of those items. And even though poking my toes into cold sand on a windy beach might not sound that fantastic, it was worth it completely!

The amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Baker Beach

Why Baker Beach in particular? There are several beaches in the bay area, so you may be wondering why I had Baker Beach in mind. 

As I had been researching San Francisco before my trip, because I obsess over travel like that, I had repeatedly seen photographs of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge as seen from a distance, all with a fantastic view and perspective. And each of those photos had been taken from Baker Beach. 

 Me, very excited to be at Baker Beach

Not only did the beach have an amazing panorama of the bridge, Marin Headlands on the southern edge of the bay, and the cliffs at the northern mouth of the bay, but it revealed a picturesque snapshot of the ocean. The wide waters were clear until a couple of miles out, where they then disappeared into a bank of fog. 

My ladies and I put our best foot forward at the beach

The beach was nearly deserted when we arrived around 10:30 in the morning, with only a couple of people out walking their dogs and a lone runner dashing through the wet sand. Otherwise we had the place to ourselves. We popped off our shoes, rolled up our pant legs, and made our way to the shoreline. I made life difficult for myself by not-so-gracefully dashing down a steep sand dune, nearly face-planting, while my friends wisely and calmly walked down a staircase leading to the beach. Typical me.

One of my besties, Jennis, and I with the Golden Gate Bridge behind us

We spent about half an hour at Baker Beach, writing in the sand, playing in the waves, taking photos of the bridge and each other, and generally enjoying the relaxing atmosphere. One of the dogs that was out for a walk took a moment to come see us and get some pets and attention.

Jumping for joy at Baker Beach

I wanted to steal away from the beach for a little while to explore the unique-looking treed area near us, where picnic tables and fire pits could be seen peering through scruffy shrubs. The trees were very interesting, and I was curious to see them up close, but the beach and the refreshing waves were too much fun. However, if I were to go back, I might have to pack a lunch and stay for a little longer. For us at the time, half an hour was great and we were ready to head down to explore the wharf.

Dipping my feet in the Pacific Ocean

If you DO happen to attend Baker Beach with your family in the hopes of having a picnic and a splash in the waves, please be aware that Baker Beach is a nudist beach, in a way. (It used be legal to sunbathe nude there, but was made illegal in 2012, although rumour has it people still choose to exercise the right to ‘go nekkid' there.) While we didn't see anyone baring it all on that day, there is a possibility that you might see someone sunbathing ‘au natural’. It was a chilly, windy day when we visited, so that’s probably why we weren’t the odd men out while wearing clothes! 

Baker Beach is completely worth the side trip

So if the thought of visiting a nudist beach for a morning or afternoon of sightseeing doesn’t bother you, then finding your way to Baker Beach is pretty easy. It is a 7 minute drive from the Golden Gate Bridge southern parking lot. I could give you exact directions here, but it is probably easier for you to just Google Maps “Baker Beach” from your location and find a quick route. The best method to travel there is by car, and Baker Beach has a large parking lot that is meter-free, which is nice. You could also take the bus, or bike, or walk - walking there takes about half an hour from the Golden Gate Bridge Information Centre. 

Our San Francisco trip was one memorable adventure

However you arrive, you won’t be disappointed your final destination. For me, the best part of Baker Beach was the incredible sight of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance, with the waves crashing and the cliffs looming. I left feeling refreshed and relaxed, ready to tackle the rest of San Francisco with gusto. Enjoy your time at the beach!

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