11 Best Beaches in Northern California

  • UPDATED Oct 17, 2018
Here is a comprehensive list of 11 best beaches in Northern California for your delightful beach escapade.

1. Marshall's Beach: Most popular beach in NorCal!


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If you want to experience the grandeur of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, then pick this one as your vacay destination. This secluded beach in Northern California is also one of the major beaches, here. The beach witnesses a huge turnout of nudists, every year. This one is just the right kind of place to enjoy the sight of crashing waves and a quick read!
Recommended Itinerary for San FranciscoSan Francisco Itinerary 1 Day  

2. Gray Whale Cove: Because climbing down here will give you all the feels!

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Perfect for a calm and serene beach escapade, Gray Whale Cove in San Mateo County will tease you with some stunning visuals. The trekking down to the beach through a steep path is fun and has a tinge of thrill. You can also witness the sight of gigantic gray whales from the shore. Sunbathing is one of the must try activities, here. The best time to visit this beach is between mid-April and mid-May.

3. Glass Beach: Truly, a natural wonder in California!

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Once a garbage dump, the ocean turned the cards and transformed the dumped waste from nearby factories into smooth, colourful and round glasses which are usually ornament worthy.
Even though the stone collection is discouraged on this particular beach, still tourists from all over America thrive here to experience the extravagance.

4. Heart’s Desire Beach: Pleasant beach for swimming

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It's a fact! The mesmerising locales and a beautiful ocean are what make this place, desirable for every beach lover. On your visit here, you’ll get plenty of opportunities here to embrace the nature. A family friendly beach, Heart’s Desire Beach in Tomales Bay State Park is the perfect place to go out on a picnic with your family. You can go hiking, kayaking or swimming and have a gala time. But make sure, you don’t take your dogs along with you as they are not allowed here. There is a parking space available here, which makes your trip to this beach, easier.
You may also readHow to Plan a Beach Trip 

5. Fort Funston Beach: A pet friendly beach!

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This particular beach will be loved by every possible dog lover. The reason being the famous dog park. You can climb all your way down to the beach from the fort and take strolls along with your pet dogs. As the water here has a strong current, hence swimming is not advisable. Also, make sure you remain as safe as possible on foggy days because there are many cliffs in this area.

6. Rodeo Beach: Surf your way!

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This sandy beach in Golden Gate Recreation Area is known for an amazing surfing experience. The pebbly sand makes it a favourite among the surfers. Enjoying the warm sun rays is also one of the major things to do, when at Rodeo Beach. The beach has free parking, free entry, wheelchair accessible  washrooms and dogs are also allowed. Swimming here can be a little tricky because of strong currents. 

7. Black Sands Beach: Heaven lies downstairs!

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Black Sands Beach in Conzelman Rd Sausalito is one of the famous beaches in Northern California and every year, thousands of tourists thrive here. The stairs heading down to the beach makes it easily applicable to tourist of every age group. In addition, this place also attracts nudists in huge numbers, hence think before taking your children along with you.

8. Baker Beach: A favourite for the clothing optional crowd

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The secluded nature of this picturesque beach is the reason why it is visited by nudists in large numbers. Finding a parking space here is difficult sometimes. The entry fee is free of cost and dogs are also allowed only when they are leashed. Don’t worry about all these restrictions because the vibrant atmosphere of this beach will make it all worth it!

9. Centreville Beach: For every bird watcher!

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Centreville Beach in Humboldt County is the place you should head to if you love bird watching. A perfect combination of farmlands, wetlands, and sloughs, Centreville Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Northern California. The beach assures some stunning visuals and is every photographer’s delight. It also has free parking and no entry fees. The activities to do here are birdwatching, bonfire, beach combing and beach driving.

10. College Cove Beach: For that upload worthy picture!

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Sunsets at College Cove Beach in Trinidad is just stunning! And they’re truly, worth some brilliant pictures. Hence, charge your DSLR cameras and enjoy some photography, on your visit here. In addition to photography, other fun activities to do here are hiking and sunbathing. Dogs are allowed but only when they are leashed. This one is a clothing optional beach, hence plan accordingly.

11. Point St George Beach: Go back in time!

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Point St George Beach in Crescent City is one of the most popular beaches in Northern California. The beach gives you the panoramic view of the Siskiyou Mountains. Other activities to do here are tide pooling, whale watching, and fishing.
Read the list. Do your homework. Chalk out the dates. Shop for necessary things. And make the most of this beach vacay!
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