San Francisco possesses a long, beautiful beach, with a broad stretch of beautiful sand and moderate waves, right on the western shore of the city. It is easily accessible by car or Muni (see tips on that), with lines going straight out here all the way from downtown at the other end of the city. There is parking right along the beach as well as other areas in the vicinity.
Of course, since this is Northern California and specifically San Francisco, the water is pretty much always very cold, even when the weather is not cold and foggy, which it usually is in the summer. Nevertheless, it is a nice beach to visit on a warm day, at least.
Urban folklore says that the Sutro Baths and tunnel beside them are the notorious resting spots of people who have been sacrificed there, and their ghosts will throw candles lit by visitors into the rocky waters below (Iwill tell it to Jamey Heidenman and Adam Savage of the Mythbusters, who lives in east bay). Running the entire west side of San Francisco, ocean beach is the city's largest beach. One can walk unimpeded all the way to San Mateo County to Daly City and Pacifica.
The water at Ocean Beach is noteworthy for its strong currents and fierce waves, which makes it popular among many serious surfers. The rapid rip currents and cold water make the ocean dangerous for casual swimmers or even for those who simply want to set foot in it, and many swimmers have been swept away and drowned as a result. Ocean Beach runs from the famous Cliff House restaurant to Fort Funston at the southern border of the city and the Great Highway Bisects it. It's part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
O.K., so maybe I live my life from coffee shop to coffee shop... but who cares when they're this cool!
Java Beach Cafe is at the end of Judah on the Great Highway, a perfect place to stop in and warm up to a chai when you're checking out the sure-to-be-chilly Ocean beach side of the city. I like to come here to take a break from my classes at nearby SFSU. There is no better place to stop for coffee this side of town, so DO stop in, and forget the Cliffhouse. Check out the website (link below) for a better description than I can write, with pics and all.
Whether sitting inside at the bar, a table, or bench, or sitting outside in the sun (or fog!) you will get a taste of the local Sunset district culture: lots of dog owners, yuppies, cold-blooded surfers, students, and the like, mostly reading the paper, chatting, or surfing the (free) internet. The beans here are mostly fair trade and organic, of course. Lots of tasty treats from perogis to scones. Also beer and wine and salads.
Getting here is easy: it's a couple blocks south of Golden Gate Park as close to the beach as you can get. The streets don't actually dump out onto the Great Highway but with the tiny parallel street, La Playa. So you'll have to turn off the Highway either at Sloat and go north to Judah or at Lincoln and go south to Judah. The streets parallel to Judah run alphabetically south, if that helps.
Ocean Beach is at the end of Golden Gate Park so after we walked through the Park, we crossed over the street to have a look at it, the weather wasn't cooperating though so we just had a glimpse and then walked up the hill to see the Cliff House and remains of the Sutro Baths before finding a bus to take us back to the center of the city.
The water here isn't very good for swimming, it's cold and there's a very strong current and big waves which makes it popular with surfers.
Needless to say this is my dog's favorite place. This is not Southern California, so don't expect to lie on the beach and soak up the sun. Instead, take a long peaceful walk, breath the fresh air, or let your dog be a dog.
The beach falls within the jurisdiction of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is managed by the National Park Service.
Take a MUNI bus across town, heading west to Ocean Beach. It's a longish ride (30 minutes) but you'll see "real" parts of SF along the way like the Fillmore and some of Japantown. Your final destination, Ocean Beach, is awesome in the late afternoon when the sun starts setting, turning the sky pink and orange. This is a great time to climb up the little fort to look down over Ocean Beach and, obviously, the ocean. Then climb down and cross the street to check out the ruins of the Sutro Baths, one of my favourite sights in SF. Photographs amazingly well too. Behind the Sutro Baths, at the back end of the parking lot, there are some short unofficial trails to where the trees clear and you have fantastic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay. Also photographs beautifully at dusk. I like to make this trip everytime I'm in SF.
The Coastal Trail is part of the Golden Gate National Park... it starts in the southern tip of the bridge and it goes along the Pacific shore. Gorgeous views of the cliffs... the ocean... the bridge.
It's just beautiful... you can do it hiking or, by sections, on a bike.
After strolling around the Golden Gate Park for several hours we had enough of green and trees - we needed to see the ocean. Off we went - out of the park, down the road, and there it was - wide blue ocean and sand. Aaaah nice! Oh and then there was a windmill across the street.
What on Earth is a windmill doing here???
Well, it was built in 1902 for the purpose of pumping fresh-water from wells underneath the sand-dunes along the coast. This fresh-water was required for the creation of Golden Gate Park. If you want to read more about it, there is a ton of stuff at this history site.
Park and walk under a tunnel to the beach along the Pacific Coast of San Francisco.
People are walking their dogs, flying a kite or fishing. Great place to see the sun drop into the ocean in the horizon. It can be chilly and windy. People living in San Francisco are lucky. Except for the earthquake of course.
Ocean Beach is a beach that runs along the west coast of San Francisco, California at the Pacific Ocean. It is adjacent to Golden Gate Park, the Richmond District and the Sunset District. The water at Ocean Beach is noted for its strong currents and fierce waves, which makes it popular among many serious surfers. The water is also quite cold even in summer and requires the use of wetsuits. From the Cliff House perched on the headlands just north of Ocean Beach, one can get a good view of the sea lions sunning themselves on Seal Rock.
Ocean Beach, November 2002. Remember: Never turn your back on the surf! I believe it was during THIS particular storm that a newlywed couple went walking out on to some rocks and the bride was swept away (and never found) by the rampaging surf.
San Francisco has some excellent city beaches. Ocean Beach is the where Golden Gate Park ends and the ocean begins. This is a nice place to be on a good weather day. of course, the water will be frigid, so I would not use it for anything other than wading around. Besides, even if you did not mind the water temperature, there are some very strong rip currents in this area. There are many beaches in this region. this one had some interesting rock formations off shore and had a nice open area of sand. Even in the summer when we went, it was not crowded at all.
I am not sure if Ocean Beach is the largest beach of San Francisco, but so it seems
A long, wide sandy beach along Pacific Avenue, Ocean Beach is ideal for walking, sunbathing (when it is not foggy), playing and doing all things...apart from swimming that is
On summer weekend evenings groups of people light up fires and the sight is magical
A really interesting area. You can watch the surfers on the beach (don't try swimming, the riptides are ferocious apparently), take a walk along to the small museum run by the Golden Gate National Park association. There are also remains of the Sutro Baths, and you can see a little about the history of this building in the museum.
Round it all off with a coffee or some pie in the little diner round the corner from the museum and enjoy the view.
whenever i was sad or wanted to be all alone to think and find myself again, i used to come here, sit , listen to the sound of waves and look at people surfing..
this is a place in SF where i would like to live