STINSON BEACH (KPIX) — As one of relatively few beaches in California that was easy to get to on Saturday, Stinson Beach in Marin County was expected to be jam-packed. A lot of people did show up but it wasn’t the problem it might have appeared to be.

“If you look down the beach you see how incredibly crowded it was,” said Jessica Tracy from Berkeley. “We were sort of giving ourselves a pat on the back for being more safe. But, once you go down there, you see that it’s also equally spread out.”

It’s actually a trick of the eye. Objects seen from a distance appear to be closer together so it seemed like everyone was right on top of each other. But the truth was, despite being a large gathering by pandemic standards, for the most part, people were trying pretty hard, and doing a pretty good job, of keeping their distance.

“You’re still able to socially distance and maintain that 6-foot radius around you,” said Danville resident Sebastian Raafat. “The closest people next to us are probably, like, 20 feet away.”

From close up, the parking lot also looked jammed but, from another view, it became clear that it was really half-empty and the same was true at nearby Muir Beach. By noon, the parking lot was full of cars but the beach itself wasn’t overcrowded.

“We decided when we came, if it was not safe, we wouldn’t stay,” said Trudy Gonzalez, visiting from Nevada. “And we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well everybody’s behaving, social distancing, wearing masks. So: very pleasant and a beautiful day.”

“Now it’s like, afternoon — it hasn’t gotten crazy and it’s just been this ridiculously beautiful day at the beach,” Tracy said.

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