Watch CBS News

Family Beach Day Around The Bay Area

California is known for its beaches but its Southern California that gets the credit for the most beautiful spots beside the Pacific Ocean. Families who visit or live in the bay may easily snag a summer beach experience without traveling all the way down to places like San Diego to get their share of sand and surf. These are some of the best family oriented beaches in the Bay Area.
Surfer catches a wave at Ocean Beach, San Francisco (AP) Surfer catches a wave at Ocean Beach, San Francisco (AP)
Ocean Beach
Point Lobos Avenue, Great Highway
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 561-4323

Ocean Beach boasts 3.5 miles of sand near the Golden Gate Park. Known for its white sand and distance from the hustle and bustle of the city, Ocean Beach has cold water, but offers ample fun during the summer months. If you are looking to enjoy the ocean when it is sunny, go in the fall after Labor Day and before Thanksgiving. If the urge play in the water overcomes you, please note that the waves here are meant for experienced surfers and not recommended for swimmers. Despite the foggy San Francisco weather, Ocean Beach is the perfect contrast between city life and the romance of the seaside.

Related: Upscale and Unique Campsites Around the Bay Area

Eye On The Bay: Daytrip, Bolinas

Bolinas Beach
Ocean Parkway and Evergreen Road
Bolinas, CA 94924

Just north of San Francisco and across the Golden Gate, Bolinas Beach is both dog friendly and kid friendly. An excellent location for those who want to surf, paddle board and enjoy the surfing culture of California outside San Francisco, it's also a popular pet-friendly destination for pet parents eager to share their love of the ocean with their dogs. Pooches must be on a leash, and surfers abound so it's best not to let the pups loose in the water.

Montara State Beach in San Mateo County
Montara State Beach in San Mateo County. (CBS)

Montara State Beach
Highway 1 at 2nd Street
Montara, CA

A short 10-mile drive from San Francisco, this public beach provides a beachfront community complete with shops and hotels for extended stays. Surfing and fishing opportunities abound, and its away from the sounds of the urban areas. The beach is even open for nighttime relaxation, however bonfires are not allowed. Bring layers as the temperature change quite a bit, even in summer. Montara State Beach is a convenient drive from downtown Pacifica or Half Moon Bay, making it an ideal coastal getaway.

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Beach
California and North Lake
Moss Beach, CA 94062

Two miles away from Montara, and full of natural marine wildlife splashing in the Pacific Ocean, Fitzgerald is an ideal spot for budding marine biologists. Marine animals are all protected here, so behave as conservationists and nature-oriented interest groups work to preserve these invaluable habitats. School field trips are common here as the scenery and marine life offer plenty of real-world learning experiences for children to understand the ocean and nature. Spend a memorable day observing the tide pools and marine life right in  Northern California, then hit the shops and cafes.

Related: Your Guide to the Bay Area's Best Beaches

Poplar Beach
152 Poplar St.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Poplar Beach is notable for its easy parking, animal friendly environment and stunning coastal views. Poplar Beach tends to draw in horseback riders and dog lovers alike. The cliffs at Poplar Beach offer multiple benches and allow visitors to admire the picturesque views from perfect vantage points. Spanning in about three miles, this particular beach also attracts fitness junkies for seaside runs and beach volleyball.

Rheba Estante is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. Her work can be found on

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.