Boasting fantastic views of the waters and shoreline of the Golden Gate, and one of the best views of the bridge, Baker Beach is one of San Francisco's local gems. Located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Baker Beach is ideal for those looking for a more natural beach environment close to the city. Tucked into the folds of the golden gate shoreline, Baker is less exposed to the wind and waves that frequent nearby Ocean Beach, and as such, tends to be slightly warmer.
The beach itself is a nice stretch of sand offering beautiful strolls and front row vistas out towards the shipping channels where container ships funnel through the Golden Gate. Ships aren’t the only things you’re likely to see on the water; be on the lookout for porpoises and brown pelicans gliding below and above the ocean's surface. Surf fishing is also popular here.
The southern portion of the beach is backed by cliffs on which the Seacliff neighborhood is built. Lobos Creek flows down from the Presidio and drains into the ocean here. Rocks at the south end are home to mussels and barnacles and provide interesting nooks and crannies to explore at low tide. The northern section of the beach is clothing-optional, and there is a volleyball net that is popular with the nudist community. Above and behind the beach is the historic Battery Chamberlin, which once housed a series of 50-ton rifles referred to as “disappearing guns,” installed to defend the San Francisco coastline during the early twentieth century. One of the guns remains on display today, and demonstrations of it's disappearing act (the gun is raised and lowered below the battery wall) can be seen on the first full weekend of the month between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Visitors will find picnic areas with tables and barbeque grills located behind the middle section of the beach within a Monterey Cypress grove. Easy access and the handful of amenities make Baker Beach a popular spot with locals and tourists alike. The parking lot that can fill quickly on fair weather weekends, so try and arrive early or take public transit.