This scenic beach in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge teems with wildlife – both human and animal – all year round.
The rocky outcrops and golden sands of Baker Beach make this a favourite with walkers, wildlife enthusiasts and sun worshippers alike. The sheltered north end is a popular and much-frequented naturist spot, the barbecue pits and picnic tables are quickly snapped up by groups of families and friends, especially at weekends, and the shoreline is a magnet for fishing fans.
Situated in the southwest corner of the Presidio national park, Baker Beach is an ideal place to take a break from the region’s walking trails, or spend a whole day immersed in its natural beauty. Look out for flocks of brown pelicans as they take off from their cliff-top roosts and migrating sea birds searching for food along the shore. You might even catch a glimpse of a sleek dolphin or spot a friendly seal’s head bobbing above the surf.
One of Baker’s more unusual attractions is Battery Chamberlin, the site of a “disappearing” rifle gun of the type which would have been fired from the battery at the beginning of the 20th century – one of the few such weapons in the world still in operation today. Demonstrations take place on the first weekend of every month, and there is a small on-site exhibition about the harbour defences of San Francisco.
Baker Beach has a free car park close to the beach but demand for spaces is high, especially in peak season. Alternatively, you can catch a bus to the upper parking area. Access on foot is sometimes difficult, depending on weather and tide conditions; when the surf is high it’s not recommended to cross the rocks at the northern end. However, given a fair wind, the views of the Pacific Ocean and the Marin Headlands are well worth the effort.