Party Earth Review Incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge are undoubtedly the main draw for tourists, but postcard vistas aren’t the only reason to go to Baker Beach. A nude section, hiking trails, dense coastal forest, and a varied... ... read full review
Battery Chamberlin Road
Presidio of San Francisco, CA 94129
Presidio, San Francisco –
Incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge are undoubtedly the main draw for tourists, but postcard vistas aren’t the only reason to go to Baker Beach. A nude section, hiking trails, dense coastal forest, and a varied history all help visitors feel like they’ve escaped the bustle of the urban landscape, while the beach’s northern position on the peninsula largely protects it from high winds and crashing surf.
Tucked along the edge of the Presidio – San Francisco’s historic military compound-turned-park – the hills above Baker were army lookout posts dating back before the Civil War, and massive decommissioned artillery guns still attract history buffs.
Sunny days during the week see the area loosely populated with beach bums and families relaxing on the sand, while hikers and hardcore joggers charge up the myriad trails that run along the jagged cliffs above.
A quick walk from the main parking lot leads to the north end of the beach – the original site of the famous Burning Man festival – where Baker’s visitors are known to be a little free-spirited and a whole lot of naked.
Warm weekends always draw a big crowd, when the mile-long expanse becomes a colorful mass of long-haired hippies, hearty swimmers, sunburned college students, and parents treating their kids to a day away from asphalt.
No matter who they are – locals, tourists, vagabonds, or freaks – everyone at Baker Beach enjoys that rare San Francisco treat: a sunny day on the sand.
San Franciscans spend much of the winter, spring, and summer in gloomy fog, so when the sun does come out, they go to Baker Beach in droves. The parking lot is always packed on weekends, but there are plenty of places to leave the car within walking distance, especially if you enter the Presidio at Lincoln Boulevard near 25th Avenue.
Swimmers, hippies, college students, young families, sun worshippers, beach-loving locals, tourists of all shapes and sizes, and a good bit of the city’s lunatic fringe on the north end. All ages.
Battery Chamberlin, the artillery mount and museum at the north end of the parking lot, normally holds armory demonstrations on the first weekend of every month. People-watching and hiking. Hikers can pick up the Coastal Trail near the museum; the trail runs more than ten miles from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Fort Funston National Recreation Area.
No food available, visitors must bring their own. Barbecue pits and are first-come, first-served and free for groups of fewer than twenty-five people. Dogs allowed, but must be leashed.
Beachwear, though visitors are wise to bring layers as cold weather can roll in at a moment’s notice.
Any sunny day.
The adjoining Presidio park was a military property for more than two hundred years before being transferred to the National Park Service. Many wooded areas, hills, and incredible scenic vistas make it perfect for hiking, jogging, and biking before or after a few lazy hours on the sand.