California. When you hear the word California, you probably imagine long sandy beaches with palm trees and clear sky. Cities like Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco are located right next to the coastline, but San Francisco is one of those, where swimming in the Pacific ocean is not recommended. People travel here for recreation, but not with the swimsuit on. Even though, San Francisco has few beaches, where people spend their weekends and hanging out with friends, but what do have these places to offer, when swimming in the ocean is not the main activity here?
The first thing you have to know is, that the climate of San Francisco is different than the climate in the other parts of California. Mostly, the weather is windy, humid and cold, even during summer months. Usually, from the morning till the noon, the city is hidden in heavy fog, what, for example, the visitors of the Golden Gate Bridge makes angry, since the bridge is hidden in the fog and this fog is so heavy, that you don’t see the top of the bridge at all.
Why is the climate colder than in the other parts of California? San Francisco is surrounded with Pacific ocean from Western side and San Francisco Bay from North East, what makes the weather very humid and windy. The average temperature is only 20 degrees Celsius in the August, what is not good for any kind of recreation related with water. Hotels here don’t have outdoor swimming pools and even if you don’t mind cold wind while swimming, the Pacific’s waves could take you to the ocean easily. Waves are tall, strong and cold. Once they hit you, it’s pretty hard to escape from them, since their power will take you with them, as they’re coming back. As a good demonstration of this power is Alcatraz island prison. There were so many prisoners who drowned in these waves and cold currents on their way to freedom. It was practically impossible to escape from Alcatraz, since the currents could easily bring you to the open ocean.
Even tough, San Francisco has few beaches full of people, since in the afternoon the sun can get pretty warm. The main activity what people do here isn’t swimming. Some of them try water, so did I but it’s cold.
#1 BAKER BEACH
Baker beach is probably the most favorite beach of San Francisco. It is public beach located on the peninsula of San Francisco, long only 800 meters, starting right under the Golden Gate Bridge. The part under the bridge is known as nude beach as well. At the top of the hill, next to the bridge is Battery Chamberlain, what is the part of military base from 1904. This base is still to be found here, but I do not recommend you to come down there, it looks pretty dangerous and I wouldn’t be surprised if you would have found any drug addicts or homeless people.
Baker beach is popular for locals, you can come here and enjoy your afternoon under the sunshine. The weather will never be like typical beach weather, but people here don’t mind that. North part of this beach, called Marshall’s beach is the perfect spot for taking pictures with the Golden Gate Bridge, so if you don’t mind nudists, go there and take some stunning photos of you and the bridge. As you walk the beach, you will meet many runners, families with children, teenagers with balls and Frisbee and many fishermen. Swimming in the ocean is not recommended, as in 1959, there was 18 years old boy, Albert Kogler, attacked by great white shark. This was the only shark attack recorded in this area.
#2 MARSHAL’S BEACH
Marshall’s beach is actually the north part of Baker beach, with nudists. On the map of San Francisco, the beach is highlighted as public park area, what is actually true. Right behind the beach, there is high cliff with few sidewalks and lot of stairs which are easy to climb. I did it in flip flops, since the surface is mostly sandy. As you are climbing and descending the cliff, there are many places from where are amazing views on Pacific ocean and perfect spots for panorama pictures. Marshall’s beach is accessible from Baker beach or from the road at the top of the cliff.
#3 OCEAN BEACH
Ocean beach is located on the western side of San Francisco and is accessible from Golden Gate park or other western parts of the city, since it lies along the coastline. It is very easy accessible, since the Great Highway runs alongside the beach. This beach is part of The Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This place is favorited by surfers, since this beach lies right next to the Pacific ocean. The waves are even higher than on the Baker beach, therefore many surfers have died here. In 1998 seven people lost their lives here. The last accident recorded here happened in January 2006.
#4 AQUATIC BEACH
Aquatic beach is located in urban area, right next to the ports, near Fisherman’s Wharf. It is the part of Aquatic park. This beach is not that cold, since its hidden in partial leeward and sun shines here all day log, except mornings because of the fog. This beach is the worst! It is accessible easily from town by walking, so many people come here. This beach is sandy and full of trash with view at the port. This beach was the biggest disappointment for me, I can not imagine to bring a towel here and spend the afternoon. This beach is crowded with visitors walking by and I find it pretty unconformable staying here.
San Francisco isn’t the place where you go to stay at the beach. There are beaches around the town, but mostly for locals to hang out. The most visited beaches are Marshall’s beach of the Golden Gate Bridge views and Aquatic beach because of good accessibility. If you’re and you have seen everything around the town, spending half of the day lying at the beach sunbathing or playing some games may be fun. But as I said, San Francisco isn’t the „beach town“.
Milan Bardun 2014 – because it is better to travel, than to arrive