Stinson Beach is widely considered to be the best beach in the Bay Area. There is reason enough to also dub it the best beach in Northern California. Bay Area residents are certainly fond of this three-mile-long stretch of sand, as is evidenced by the fact that so many of them flock to it on summer weekends. Sure, the relatively cold water might not be ideal for swimming, but lifeguards are on duty anyways from May to mid-September. The presence of lifeguards is partially due to the oft-strong riptides.
One of the best things about Stinson Beach is the scenery. The beach rests at the western foot of Mount Tamalpais, and the area coastline in general is a joy to admire. This is also a very clean beach, and unlike the neighboring beach in Bolinas, which is rocky, Stinson Beach is comprised of soft sand. If you’re not up for some swimming during your Stinson Beach visit, it can be rewarding enough to savor the views and do some beachcombing. Kayaking is just one more activity option, and the cold water doesn’t discourage surfers from riding the waves. Surf shops in the area have rentals should you need some surfing equipment. Other ideas for things to do in and around Stinson Beach include playing volleyball, hiking, and biking. There are numerous trails in the nearby hillsides and mountains.
You can get to Stinson Beach via Highway One. The beach lies just north of San Francisco in Marin County and is approximately a 35-minute drive from the Golden Gate Bridge. In addition to Mount Tamalpais and its surrounding state park, other area attractions include Muir Beach and Muir Woods National Monument. Adjoining Stinson Beach is the eponymous town of Stinson Beach, and it makes for a fine place to dine. There are numerous cafes that are found along Highway One. For those who are looking for accommodations close to the sand, there are various hotels in the area. Among them is The Sandpiper, which offers romantic rooms and cabins, not to mention easy beach access. Camping is also a possibility, with the area parks being a good place to search for sites. Access to Stinson Beach is free. It is open daily from 9 am to 10 pm.