Northern California beaches might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about this section of the Golden State. Northern California is better known for the great city of San Francisco, for the wine country in Napa and Sonoma, and for hot springs. However, more and more travelers have the desire to combine a trip of this nature with a few days at the beach. You don’t have to drive to Southern California or even Central California to soak up some sunshine. There are beaches along the Northern California coast that can satisfy your craving for a little relaxation while listening to the waves crash on the shore.
Many travelers aren’t aware that there are beaches within close proximity to San Francisco. This city is known more for its historical attractions and restaurants than it is for a day at the beach, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have both on an upcoming vacation. There are a couple great beaches in the San Francisco Bay Area including Baker Beach and Point Reyes. If you want to explore Northern California beaches during your trip, you might want to rent a car. A rental car will give you the freedom to explore this coast without any restrictions.
Baker Beach is beloved for its beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Here you can work on your tan and gaze up at one of San Francisco’s best known attractions at the same time. Visitors should beware that the surf can sometimes be dangerous at Baker Beach, so be sure to take extra precaution when swimming. Another reason both locals and visitors love Baker Beach is because it has an area for nude sunbathing. The entire beach, however, isn’t designated a nude beach, so be sure to look for signs before you strip down.
Another option along the Northern California coast is Point Reyes National Seashore. The expanses of beach here are part of a rocky headland that juts out into the water. Besides the opportunity to sunbathe in the golden sand, this is also a great place for hiking and photographing local flora and fauna. A popular time to visit Point Reyes is during the winter, when it is possible to migrating gray whales and elephant seals. If you have always dreamed of seeing these incredible creatures in their natural environment, Point Reyes is one of the most beautiful places to have this experience.
Beyond the immediate San Francisco Bay area, another choice for beaches in Northern California is Glass Beach. This beach got its nickname as a result of all the colorful sea glass that is found on the shores. The story of the sea glass has a bit of a strange beginning. In the early twentieth century, plenty of garbage, including glass, was thrown into the ocean nearby. While serious clean-up efforts have been completed, the beautiful sea glass can still be found at Glass Beach. Whether you hit the beaches of Northern California for a hike during the off season or want to work on your tan during the warm months, these beaches will show you that there’s more to the coast of California than the famous southern section.