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23 gorgeous Bay Area beaches to try as coronavirus keeps us closer to home

23 gorgeous Bay Area beaches to try as coronavirus keeps us
closer to home 1

Looking for a nice spot to soak up some sun while social distancing? You can’t get more distant, at least not without getting your feet wet, than the shoreline of these beaches.

Be sure to follow guidelines and obey restrictions, and check with the park for  tide information and to make sure the beaches remain open.

Alameda County

Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach: Once known as Alameda Beach, the area renamed in honor of State Assemblyman Robert W. Crown, who campaigned for the site’s preservation as public parkland, features 2.5 miles of beach bordered by lawns. The beach also is home to the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary at the east end of the park and Crab Cove marine reserve on the north.Open 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. McKay parking lot closed. Walk-in access only. 8th St., Otis Drive, Alameda.

Marin County

Agate Beach Park: The park offers 2 miles of shoreline at low tide and is a great place to explore tidal pools. On clear days, the park provides scenic views out to the Farrallon Islands. Leashed dogs are welcome. Open sunrise to sunset. Parking available. 330 Ocean Parkway, Bolinas.

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Angel Island State Park: The beaches at Quarry Point and Ayala Cove are sandy and protected from the afternoon breezes. Perle’s Beach is exposed to wind and weather. It has an amazing view and is a great place for beachcombing. Access to the island is by public ferry from Tiburon only, and advanced reservations are required.

Muir Beach: Offering a sheltered cove, sandy beach and privacy, Muir Beach is on the Pacific Coast, 3 miles west of Muir Woods. The beach is accessed across a 450-foot long pedestrian bridge that connects the parking lot to the beach.

Stinson Beach: One of the best swimming beaches in Northern California is also a great location for volleyball, hiking, picnicking, fishing and surfing. Gates open at 9 a.m. Closing times vary depending on season. At this time, there is limited trash and restroom services, and beach-goers are encouraged to pack in and pack out. 3514 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach.

San Francisco County

Baker Beach: Because of large waves, undertow and rip currents, the waters off the beach are not safe for swimming, but you can enjoy fishing, exploring the shoreline, or picking up the Coastal Trail on the cliffside. 1504 Pershing Drive, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco.

China Beach: Like Baker Beach, swimming off China Beach is unsafe, but the beach, protected by rock walls on both sides, has other amenities including a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge. 340 Sea Cliff Ave., San Francisco.

Marshall Beach: This secluded beach is clothing optional. The beach is not easy to get to and its narrow width means at high tide, things can get a bit wet.  Lincoln Boulevard and Langdon Court, San Francisco.

Ocean Beach: The white sands of this 3.5-mile long beach is part of its popularity. It’s also a great place for flying kites and for the experienced, surfing and windsurfing. The water is far too cold for swimming. Parking lot is closed. Point Lobos Avenue, Great Highway, San Francisco.

San Mateo County

Esplanade Beach: This dog friendly beach — the only official leash-free beach in the area — is secluded, with soft sand and steep, rugged bluffs.The beach is narrow and can be dangerous at high tide and in storms. Open 5 a.m. to sunset. Street parking only along Esplanade Avenue.

Half Moon Bay State Beach: Four miles of broad, sandy beaches are ideal for fishing, sunbathing and picnicking. Camping is open but requires reservations. Open 8 a.m. to sunset. Limited parking in the main day use lot. 95 Kelly Ave., Half Moon Bay.

Linda Mar State Beach: Offering a recreation trail along the ocean, Linda Mar is popular for surfing. Beach and parking lot hours are 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. during daylight saving time, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the fall/winter. 5000 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacifica.

Montara State Beach: This beach is popular for exploring tide pools and surf fishing. Open from 8 a.m. to sunset. Very limited parking available in the south parking lot and Martini Creek parking lot. Montara Beach, Montara.

Pescadero State Beach: A mile-long shoreline with sandy coves and rocky cliffs makes it a good one for fishing and exploring tide pools. Across the street is Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve, popular with birdwatchers. Three parking lots on the western side of Highway One with beach access. Open 8 a.m. to sunset. Pescadero Creek Road and Cabrillo Highway, Pescadero.

Pomponio State Beach: Offering miles of sandy, gently sloping beaches, this beach has a small lagoon, roaring surf and a wide parking area. Open 8 a.m. to sunset. Cabrillo Highway, San Gregorio.

Poplar Beach: This beach is popular with families, dog owners and horseback riders. Parking at the end of Poplar Street. 250 Poplar St., Half Moon Bay.

Rockaway Beach: The beach’s narrow shoreline, crashing surf and dramatic headlands is found south of the Pacifica Pier along the Pacific Coast Highway. Open 5 a.m. to sunset. Rockaway Beach Avenue, Pacifica. Parking available at the Rockaway Complex.

Sharp Park Beach: Home to one of the best fishing piers in the state, it also has a promenade for walking and nature trails to explore. Pier hours are from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. and beach hours are from sunrise to sunset. Parking is free. Beach Boulevard., Pacifica.

Santa Cruz County

Cowell Beach: Surfing and volleyball are popular at this beach. Pacific Avenue and Beach Street., Santa Cruz. Parking is available on the streets nearby and on the pier. Open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Lighthouse Field State Beach: Once known as Point Santa Cruz, this protected beach forms the northern boundary of the Monterey Bay. The beach overlooks the Steamer Lane surfing hotspot. The nearby lighthouse, the Mark Abbott Memorial Light, houses the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. Beach is open to local residents. Closed to vehicular access. Open 7 a.m. to sunset. West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz.

Seabright Beach: This long, sandy beach extends between the Boardwalk and Santa Cruz Harbor. Visitors may enjoy sand volleyball, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, fishing and paddle boarding. Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. 15 E Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz.

Seacliff State Beach: The beach is known for swimming, fishing and the unfinished concrete ship, the SS Palo Alto. The ship was under construction as a wartime tanker during World War I, but when the war ended, construction was stopped. The ship later was towed to Santa Cruz, scuttled and transformed into a dining and dancing venue. The company eventually went bankrupt and the ship was stripped. Visits inside the ship are prohibited for safety concerns. Open 8 a.m. to sunset. State Park Drive, Aptos.

Santa Cruz Beach: Best known for its boardwalk and amusement park, the beach also offers a mile long stretch of sand. 399 Beach St., Santa Cruz.

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