Baker Beach

Beach / Outdoor Activity
Baker Beach 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. San Francisco United States 37.794191 -122.483245
4.43 15
Baker Beach - Beach | Outdoor Activity in San Francisco.
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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

  • Neighborhood:

    Presidio
  • Address:

    Battery Chamberlin Road
    Presidio of San Francisco, CA 94129

    Get Directions

  • Hours:

    24/7

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot

Party Earth Baker Beach Review

The Scene

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.

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.

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Tip from Emma:

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.

  • Crowd

    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.

  • Entertainment / Music

    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.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    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.

  • Prices

    Free.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Beachwear, though visitors are wise to bring layers as cold weather can roll in at a moment’s notice.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Any sunny day.

  • Close By

    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.

Baker Beach User Reviews

Average rating:
Beautiful Beach By The Bridge
Melesimani N. Jun 29, 2013
The view is impeccable while you take in the scenery with awe this beach is best used when it's over 70 degrees! Best place to have a picnic the view is inviting makes you want to play volleyball, go for a swim, build a sand castle, or simply just soak up the Sun! California beach wear fully clothed, but coolin in one layer. There's even a spot to hike so make sure you bring plenty of water to stay dehydrated.
No. 1 Engament Location for my Clients Yet!
Paula S. Jun 28, 2013
Since 2008, my wedding/ engagement clients pick Baker Beach, even knowing the full disclaimer of the rogue wave issues, hands down as their most favorite outdoor location for their engagement or after-wedding shoot photography. The beach is in a wonderful location, fairly easy to get too, even my public transportation (although timely, but at least it gets you there), and it even has restrooms. There are several junctions to enter the beach, you just pick the location that fits your needs. I also provide my clients with the OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER: This is a nudist beach. There may be nudist sunbathing at some point during out shoot closer to the rocks, which is closer to the bridge. Most of my clients, especially the older ones and international clients, laugh this off. I have had younger clients find this offensive, so it takes all kinds. However, the beauty of this beach pays off in the very first beach. It reminds me of something I would find in France, perhaps Marseilles, even though I have never been there, and we are probably minus the fishing boats. But when you are down on the sand and capturing clients walk with towards or away from the houses to the left, if you are looking out to seat, and the right afternoon sunlight is catching the colorful homes, and glistening like pebbles skiping over the water, and the clients walking together, holding hands, maybe talking face to face, there is nothing more spectacular than that look, and the image is amazing. For personal reasons, I just love to come to this beach any time of year. I find it comforting, peaceful, and usually, uninhabited. You will find the most crowds on very sunny days, week days included, when the temp. rises over 70F in The City, people head out here in droves. Chrissy Field is on the opposite side of the Golden Gate Bridge, which on the Baker Beach side, is just amazing. You can get close up views, or far off views, and all the images captured with the GG Bridge are unique and just lovely. Baker Beach is by far the best SF beach that I prefer to soak up the sun, and feel like I am really on the beach. And again, it is easily accessed by SF Muni, so those with out cars, just hop on public transportation, you are only a bus ride, or two, away from some serious good beach exposure! And you will really see sun here, as opposed to often fogged in Ocean Beach on the Great Highway, which doesn't even have restrooms, or cool hiking trails or history, like this beach does.
My Favorite Place
Gloria V. Jun 10, 2013
Great view!
Bare Buns and a lot of Fun!
Chris T. Jun 4, 2013
Being as this is San Francisco, anytime the weather hits over 70 degrees people flock to any outlet where the sun shines the brightest. Baker Beach is definitely one of those places the locals call out sick to work to go frolic on a sunny day with friends. Not only known for the scenic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, this beach is also bathing suit optional. Don't you worry though, although this is considered a nude beach, it seems to section itself off in the way of the more north you go up the coast, the more bare bottoms there are. Even though it seems like mostly Bay Area locals, you can find just about anybody at Bakers Beach. Just over the rock cliff is Marshalls Beach, which is primarily a gay nude beach. That is an experience in and of itself. Most days it can get chilly as the day passes even if the skies are clear, so bring layers if you choose to stay to see the sunset. There are about 2-3 barbecue pits by the parking lot that are a little out of the way, so make sure you bring your lunch and beverage of choice with you. Bathrooms are also located by the parking lot, but because it's a little bit of a hike most people have a designated pee spot near their area. There is no shade whatsoever on the beach so make sure if you burn easily you bring the tools needed to keep you cool. The water is freezing cold year around so expect that most of your day is going to be sun bathing on the sand. Parking can be a pain, but it's well worth it. Also, if you just want to pack a backpack, you can take the 38 Geary or 38L Geary Outbound bus from downtown and get of at 25th Ave. From there you can take the 29 Outbound Bus, which drops you off by the parking lot. It takes about 25-40 minutes depending on commuters traffic.
A true San Francisco experience
Jessie F. Mar 1, 2013
While Baker Beach is inevitably a tourist hot spot — it provides one-of-a-kind views of the Golden Gate Bridge — you are just as likely to find a sea of locals here on any given weekend. Because of this, it comes with the inevitable San Francisco quirks found in every part of the city. The nude part of the beach, close to the rocks at the foot of the bridge, is often scattered with naked San Franciscans playing volleyball, getting a head-to-toe tan or even fishing. The west end of the beach is for more reserved folks and families; however, this is also where I saw an entire troop of high schoolers carry a full-size trampoline onto the beach. The scene was just begging for me to join, so I asked if I could. The group welcomed my request, allowing me to jump beachside under a picturesque view of one of the most famous icons in the world. Needless to say, you never know what experience you might have at Baker Beach, an excellent reason to visit as soon as you can.
Worth The View
Alexandra Z. Feb 20, 2013
Baker Beach undoubtedly has one of the nicest views on the famous Golden Gate. Everyone comes out here to be Californian – sunbathe on the beach and have picnics, but since it is San Francisco, the weather is always a bit chilly, even on a hot day during the summer the wind could be pretty cold, so you will end up sunbathing the San Francisco way, in jeans, flannel shirts, converse shoes, sunglasses and a scarf, or if you are lucky and the day is really hot then just in a t-shirt and shorts, after which you will get a tan looking like you are a circus performer from the 1920s. Be sure to take a camera, or just your iphone to take photos of the amazing views here. Some people have picnics here, which are sometimes a bad idea because of the windy weather, unless you like your food with a some crunchy sand, and don't be tempted to feed the seagulls, you start feeding one and then in less then a minute the whole beach is covered with them, also to keep you from doing it, remember that the first scenes of Alfred Hitchcock's "Birds" was shot in San Francisco.
For the best views of the Golden Gate head to the locals favirote hideaway at Baker Beach.
Kristin L. Feb 11, 2013
This hidden state park is the perfect place for a picnic, kite surfing, catching some naked rays, shore fishing, and beach combing. You will find ample parking, no day use fees, and bathrooms on site. The high winds and size-able waves tend to attract the brave kite surfers. If you do decide to brave the waves be aware of the serious undertows and rip currents here. Don't forget to bring your camera along as you will have opportunity to capture the Golden Gate Bridge in all its majesty.
Awesome place for a picnic
Caroline c. Nov 28, 2012
Baker Beach is definitely the place to go if you want awesome views on a sunny day. You can see the Golden Gate Bridge and the rest of the bay. Be sure to go on a sunny day and definitely pack layers--it usually gets pretty cold there. Awesome place to bring your dog or lay out and tan. The water is pretty chilly year round so don't expect warm waters to swim in. There are also lots of hiking trails so if you have a dog, this is the place for you. There are not any food options around here so plan ahead and pack your own lunch.
Awesome beach, awesome view
Eden M. Nov 14, 2012
Baker Beach has the most incredible view of the Golden Gate Bridge so it is definitely worth taking a trip out there on a nice, sunny day to take in all the beauty it has to offer! This beach is a great place to bring your dog or just lay out and relax in the sun-- but be careful, the water is freezing no matter the time of year! Also, make sure to pack your own food because the beach is in a pretty secluded area that does not offer any restaurants or food options, so plan ahead. I suggest checking out baker beach and bringing a camera with to take pictures of the cool view.
sunny dayz
Rachel G. Nov 13, 2012
Baker Beach Another place to be in the city during the sunny days! This is a great surf spot and very close to the historic Presidio! This location is sort of tucked away behind the Presidio, but it is worth the travel. A lot of people come here to camp out and picnic under the trees. Most times I come here to walk my dog since she loves the water! But a lot of my friends come here to surf and skim board. Though the water is still ice cubs, the breaks are great here! I have seen some amazing surfing happen here.
Oh when the sun is out!
Jayson M. Sep 4, 2012
Aw Baker, how do I love thee. I love that I can park close to your sandy shores and plop on down with my egregiously large cooler and giant pink umbrella without breaking a sweat. I love that I see all types here, from young families to Goths in dire need of a tan to backward-capped Marina boys squeezing their abs whenever a chick walks by. I love how even on the sunniest of sunny day the water still makes my butt cheeks fuse together. I love how I can walk north towards the luminous golden sheen of the Golden Gate Bridge for postcard-perfect views. I love how on that walk I stumble through the “nude” section, getting an eyeful of fat bearded gents wearing bathing suits that only covert their balls….something I will never fully understand. But that’s okay, I don’t need to understand it, I accept. GET OVER IT AMERICA!
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