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Travel & Outdoors

San Francisco Bay Area’s Top Beaches

September 1, 2011 2:24 PM

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(Photo credit by clipart.com)

(Photo credit by clipart.com)

The Eye on the Bay gang gathered around a fake beach bonfire to debate the best beaches in the Bay Area! We picked from lost of different beach-related categories and of course, it’s all very subjective.

Simply Beautiful Beaches

Pebble Beach/Bean Hollow
Pebble Beach/Bean Hollow
This San Mateo County spot south of Pescadero makes a good pitstop from your Highway 1 drive. The trails linking the two beaches features picnicking, fishing and standout tide pools. It’s also a great locale for seal spotting.

Limantour Beach
Limantour Beach
Calm waves crash on this serene stretch of Point Reyes beach. This stretch of shore is also a great spot for bird lovers.

Alamere Waterfall
Alamere Waterfall
North Bay waters cascade directly onto the beach at this hidden gem, but you’ll have to hike a bit to find it.

Best Overlooks

Muir Beach Overlook
Muir Beach Overlook
This old base lookout is part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area, and a great place to watch the ships come in. If you time your trip right you can even catch a glimpse of migrating blue whales.

Gray Whale Cove/Devil’s Slide Overlook
Gray Whale Cove/Devil’s Slide Overlook
Located at the perilous cliffs of Devil’s Slide, this stop will provide you with breathtaking views of the Pacific on a clear day.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse Overlook
Pigeon Point Lighthouse Overlook
A 115-foot New England style lighthouse creates a picturesque setting from which to view the San Mateo County Coast.

Top Hidden Beaches

Cowell Ranch State Beach
Cowell Ranch State Beach
This curved stretch of beach is just a short jaunt south of Half Moon Bay and boasts clean beaches sheltered by coastal cliffs.

Pirate’s Cove
Pirate’s Cove
From the Muir Beach parking lot, head across the walking bridge, and up the Fire Road where you’ll find the main trail to this secret refuge. It’s best to hit this super-small beach at low tide.

McClure’s Beach
McClure’s Beach
Head west 16 miles from Pt. Reyes Station to find this small hideaway. Count wildflowers as you walk the trail to the serene beach.

Top  “Non-Ocean Beaches”

Chrissy Field Beach
Chrissy Field Beach
This popular exercise spot offers some of the most spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and incoming ships. A variety of shore birds can be seen wading through the grassy marsh.

Anza at Tilden Park
This conveniently-located East Bay park has something for nature lovers of all ages.

China Camp State Beach
This former shrimp fishing village boasts views of San Pablo Bay and a chance to spot wildlife along a series of trails.

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