On those rare sunny days when the fog and wind have called it quits, locals know it's time to hit Baker Beach, a mile-long sandy shoreline beneath serpentine cliffs in the southwest corner of the Presidio. It’s one of the absolute best beaches in San Francisco.
Baker Beach is also the best game in town for a natural beach experience. You'll find amazing views of the
Golden Gate Bridge – it never gets old! – along with stunning vistas of the Pacific Ocean, the Marin Headlands, and Lands End.
Why we Love It: sand, surf, and
Golden Gate Bridge views make this San Francisco’s favorite beach
What's Provided: picnic tables, grills, and restrooms
Insider Tips: explore nearby Battery Chamberlin to see a 50-ton “disappearing gun” (see the National Park Service
Battery Chamberlin site for dates and times)
Getting There: Muni 29;
PresidiGo Shuttle PRESIDIO HILLS ROUTE; Baker Beach parking lot nearby
What to Do
This is one of the park's beaches near the Golden Gate Bridge, so make sure to arrive early on warm days and weekends. The parking lot at Baker Beach will fill up quickly, as will the parking lots on Bowley Street. A picnic area with BBQ grills, picnic tables for al fresco dining, and accessible restroom is shaded by cypress trees at the east end of the parking lot, which closes an hour after sunset.
Baker Beach borders water that is too cold and rough for swimming, but it’s perfect for a barefoot stroll along the surf or a game of fetch with your pup. More adventurous beachgoers often seek out the northern end of Baker Beach and nearby
Marshall’s Beach, which are designated clothing-optional for those who prefer a nude beach experience.
Nature lovers can glimpse sea stars at low tide, grey-green serpentine rock formations, and native wildflowers that bloom year-round on the dunes. Look up and spot a V-shaped formation of Brown Pelicans or a Red-tailed Hawk hunting for an afternoon nibble, or gaze out to sea where dolphins and harbor seals occasionally surface in the ocean waters.
If you're up for an adventure, take the Sand Ladder up to the
California Coastal Trail, which connects to the rugged
Batteries to Bluffs Trail. Baker Beach is also a great departure point for other trail connections just a short hike away.
Whatever aspects entice you, we can all agree that the sunsets here are an unforgettable, quintessentially Presidio experience. Just don't forget to bring a blanket and – of course – extra layers!
Can you park overnight at Baker Beach?
No, overnight parking is not allowed in the Baker Beach parking lot.
Is the nude portion of the beach dog-friendly?
Dogs must be on leash at the beach, including the clothing-optional northern end.
How do you get to Baker Beach?
You can reach the Baker Beach parking lot by taking Lincoln Boulevard through the Presidio and turning onto Bowley Street. It’s also accessible via transit on
Muni 29 or
PresidiGo Shuttle PRESIDIO HILLS ROUTE.
What time does Baker Beach close?
Baker Beach is open 24 hours, but the parking lot closes one hour after sundown.
When is the best time to visit Baker Beach?
Baker Beach is popular on warm sunny days and weekends, so arriving early means a better chance at grabbing a parking spot, picnic table, or section of sand.
Can you have a fire on Baker Beach?
Fires are only permitted in the fixed grills provided at the picnic area, east of the main parking lot.