The Best Spots In The Bay Area For Taking Pictures

November 2, 2010 7:12 PM


When it comes time to take some beautiful photos with some spectacular Bay Area scenery as your backdrop, deciding where to go could very well drive you mad. One of the most unique aspects of the Bay Area is that any type of scenery you could possibly want is just a short car ride away. From beaches and boardwalks to mountains and lakes to the hustle and bustle of the city itself.

Here are a few of the most beautiful settings in the Bay Area for the perfect picture taking.

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credit: Justin Sullivan /Getty Images

The Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco and Marin, CA

Both the San Francisco and Marin sides of the Golden Gate offer some amazing photo opportunities. Though they may seem cliché, there is a reason why the Golden Gate is one of the most photographed images in the world. A few good spots are Baker Beach, Fort Point or Fort Baker. Kirby Cove is a gorgeous spot with the added bonus of being nestled in the Marin Headlands, which can provide a dozen more photo opportunities all in it’s own.

Golden Gate Park

San Francisco, CA

The list of great spots to take pictures within Golden Gate Park could take up an entire book. Though it is often compared to New York’s Central Park, Golden Gate Park is actually 20% larger. The Conservatory of Flowers, De Young Museum, Academy of Sciences, Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Stow and Spreckles Lakes, Strawberry Hill, and The Windmills are just a few of the spectacular photo spots within Golden Gate park. A number of trails, tree ferns, creeks, and falls are sprinkled throughout the park.

Mount Diablo State Park

96 Mitchell Canyon Road
Clayton, CA

Considered one the ecological treasures of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mt. Diablo offers some of the most spectacular vistas at its 3,849-foot summit. Known for its rare rock formations and wildflowers, Mt. Diablo can offer beautiful picturesque summer photos or snow covered winter themed pictures, depending on the season.

Sycamore Grove

Wetmore Road
Livermore, CA

Sycamore Grove is a favorite spot for local photographers. It was originally inhabited by Ohlone Indians and is known for both its wildlife and the Sycamore Trees for which it’s named. Whether it’s near the towering Sycamores, the babbling brooks or trails, or even beautiful landscape of the foothills and vineyards of neighboring Wente Winery, Sycamore Grove is any photo lovers dream.

Grizzly Peak

Berkeley, CA

Nestled within the stunning Berkeley Hills, Tilden Park in itself is full of dozens of great places to get some lovely shots – there is Lake Anza, the carousel, the steam trains or you can take stroll through the Botanic Garden. If you travel up just a bit higher to Grizzly Peak you’ll come across some of the most beautiful vistas in all of the Bay Area. Truth be told, it’s hard to take a photo that truly does this area justice.

Big Basin

Pescadero, California

Nothing says photographic moment like the towering California Redwoods and you’ll find them in abundance within Big Basin. California’s oldest state park has over 18,000 square acres of Redwood Forest all ready for the perfect picture moment.

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Santa Cruz to Aptos

Santa Cruz, Capitola, Aptos, CA

It’s hard to choose which one of the beaches that make up this coastal area makes for the greatest photo backdrop. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been the setting for a number of films and provides many great places to catch a picture moment. Further up the coast are a number of beaches such as Capitola or Rio del Mar, armed with pristine sand and a stunning piece of coastline, Rio del Mar can give just about any Bay Area beach a run for it’s money.

Palo Alto Baylands

1305 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto, CA

This 1,940-acre preserve is the largest tract of undisturbed marshland remaining in the San Francisco Bay and is considered some of the best bird watching on the entire west coast. This offers a number of rare photo opportunities for the amateur or professional photographer.