Living in Lamorinda, we are so lucky to be within a short drive of some of the best beaches in the Bay Area. Here are our favorites:
Escape the crowds at this secluded mile long beach which provides beautiful panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, and Lands End. Large waves, undertow, and rip currents make the beach unsafe for swimming, but the protecting bluffs surrounding the beach help block out the wind making this an ideal beach for a day of playing in the sand with the kids. Port-o-potties and picnic tables are nearby. Warning: nude sunbathers do tend to frequent the far end of this beach, so just be prepared to see a little more than beautiful views.
This is one of the safest San Francisco beaches for families, with shallow waters for the kids to play in, and lifeguards on duty April through October. China Beach has beautiful views of nearby Golden Gate Bridge, and there are picnic areas here with grills, restrooms, showers, and changing rooms available. This getaway, situated in the northern part of the city, is a perfect escape for families who want to avoid the crowds who swarm to more-urban Ocean Beach.
Although getting to Angel Island requires a boat or ferry ride, the extra effort is worth it. Angel Island features beautiful, un-crowded beaches with grass and BBQ pits by the beach so you can enjoy the view of the water, and a picnic, all at the same time. For those families looking for more physical activities, there are multiple hiking and biking trails that weave throughout the island. Informative tours are also offered for those interested in exploring Angel Island further.
Known for its beauty, McNear’s Beach in San Rafael is one of the more popular beaches in the Bay Area.. Visitors to McNear’s Beach have many options of cooling themselves on those hot summer days; in addition to the beach, a pool is available for families to swim in ($4 per swimmer). There are also many other entertainment choices such as tennis courts and large grassy areas for families wishing to play sports or other activities while enjoying the day. There is a cost to park, however, $7 on weekdays and $8 on weekends.
Stinson Beach has so much more to offer than sand to sit on. The area is surrounded by beautiful views, miles of hiking trails, bike riding routes and ocean breezes. It features BBQ grills, clean bathrooms, and from May through October, it is overseen by lifeguards. Another draw is the 51-acre park adjacent to the beach. With more than 100 picnic tables tucked among the park's shade-bearing trees, it is a great place to enjoy a picnic with the family.
A favorite once discovered, Bean Hollow State Beach is located 3 miles south of Pescadero. This beautiful stretch of golden sand requires no hike-in, yet on most afternoons the place is wonderfully un-crowded. Spend the afternoon playing Frisbee with the kids, barbecuing, or exploring the many tidepools. Bean Hollow is also one of the few beaches that still allow dogs.
Half Moon Bay
Offering 8 miles of continuous beaches, Half Moon Bay is a great place to escape with the family for a day at the beach. A favorite is Dunes Beach for its easy access, ample parking, and clean restrooms. The kids will love playing in the dunes as well as the surf. In addition to enjoying a day at the beach, bring your bikes and go for a ride with the family along the scenic Coastside Trail.