Beaches Near San Francisco – Our best picks
Seal Cove Beach
Seal Cove (also called Cypress Cove) is a secluded beach in Moss Beach, CA just 523 feet away from our front door. Our guests access it using the staircase at top of the bluff which takes visitors down to the beach. The cove is within Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and is home to a great variety of marine life including seals. Behind the beach are trails that lead into a cypress forest and our inn.
Half Moon Bay State Beach
This four-mile stretch of beach kisses the Pacific at the western end of Kelly Street. The waters bring strong currents in from the north and swimming is not advised. We suggest instead that you enjoy the smooth sands for a morning jog or stroll in the same during the evening before heading back in to town for a coastal farm-to-table dinner.
At this roadside favorite for the surfer-savvy and sand-locked alike, parking is a lot like true love – if you find it, move fast and don’t let go! This jetty-side strip of sand will be deep underwater during a high tide, but when the old salt is a little further out to sea, it is polka-dotted with footprints. Bring some snacks and sit back to watch the surfers, skim boarders, and paddle boarders at play or rent your own and join in the fun! Our “As You Wish” concierge service can help with rentals.
Montara State Beach
Enclosed between dramatic cliffs, this two-mile beach features a cave-like area filled with come-and-go tide pools. Swimming is not recommended but feel free to sun yourself, play kickball and stroll to your heart’s content.
Gray Whale Cove State Beach
Named for the gray whales that have been known to make an appearance here, this 800-foot beach is situated off the rocky cliffs just before you reach Montara (driving north from the inn). Access is via a trail leading from the parking lot. Keep an eye out for poison oak if you stop to smell the flowers on your way down – wild blue Douglas iris, golden-yellow buttercups, and bright pink hollyhocks are all abundant in the spring!
At the far end of Poplar Street (just south of Kelly Avenue), you’ll find a long, sandy beach hidden away with plentiful parking. This destination is a favorite of dog owners and perfect for a game of catch or a run in the sand!
Pescadero State Beach
With an entire mile of shoreline, this popular destination boasts sandy coves, rocky cliffs, tide pools, fishing spots and picnic facilities. Just across the highway is Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve, a popular spot for bird watchers and other naturalists. The Reserve is a refuge for blue heron, kites, deer, raccoons, foxes and skunks.