|Find Solitude and Golden Gate Views at Baker Beach|
A surprisingly remote and wild beach at the mouth of the bay.
For a pocket of tranquility in urban San Francisco, escape to Baker Beach along the city’s northern edge. Located in Presidio National Park, the mile-long beach is ideal for strolling, picnicking, fishing, and reveling in spectacular vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge and, north across the mouth of the bay, the Marin Headlands.
Though the waters here are too rough for swimming, this bayfront beach tends to be fairly protected from the wind (though in summer, fog is the norm). But even in less-than-perfect conditions, it’s a wild and beautiful setting minutes from downtown. Take a stroll and pretty much forget the city bustle—though be forewarned that the very northern ends of the beach tend to be clothing optional. The beach boasts another counterculture distinction: In 1986 it was the birthplace of the original Burning Man festival , before the event relocated to the Nevada desert.
Nearby Battery Chamberlin is worth a look. Built in 1904, it has “disappearing guns” that retract below the parapets to keep them hidden from enemy eyes. On the first full weekend of each month, rangers give demonstrations .
The surrounding Presidio has more than 25 miles of hiking trails . From the cliffs up above the beach, you can pick up the California Coastal Trail and walk 1.5 miles to the Golden Gate Bridge. Or hop on the free PresidiGo shuttle in the beach parking lot; it loops through the park and makes nearly 40 scenic stops.