We’re now into August, and while it’s not always hot in San Francisco, people still enjoy embracing the spirit of summer. As well as luxury real estate, San Francisco sports a huge variety of swimming spots. It’s on the ocean, so there’s hardly a shortage of beaches (if you’re brave enough to take a dip in the cold Pacific). We’ve put together a list of the very best places to swim in San Francisco, to help you enjoy the summer living.
With absolutely stellar views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Baker Beach, in the North end of the city, is first on our list. It’s a half-mile long, and at the base of a range of spectacular cliffs. Baker Beach got its start as part of a 160 acre property owned by John Baker in the mid 19th century, called Golden Gate Milk Ranch. Baker died in 1863, and his widow lost ownership of the property, but Baker’s grandson, Fairfax Henry Wheelan, sued to have the title returned to the family, and so the beach retains the name.
From 1986 to 1990, Baker Beach hosted Burning Man, but, due to local ordinances limiting the size of campfires on the beach, the art festival was relocated after, in 1990, the statue was prevented from being set ablaze. The northernmost section of the beach is considered “clothing optional,” so do take heed before making a family outing.
Ok, this is kind of a sneaky one. Marshall’s Beach is another name for the northernmost section of Baker Beach. It does get mentioned independently, and the locals do have a preference in the nomenclature, so just keep in mind the dual title, and you shouldn’t have any problems.
On the west coast of San Francisco, Ocean Beach, adjacent to Golden Gate Park, sits beside the Great Highway. Administered by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area, it’s always in good repair and a magnificent spot to cool off. In fact, sitting so close to the Pacific, it’s often foggy in the summer, and the water (due to a process called Upwelling) tends to be colder than you might expect. It’s a favorite spot for surfers and other watersports enthusiasts.
During the tenure of the Sutro Baths the area was famed as a resort, but it took on a much more casual character through the 1970s. Occasionally, the wreckage of a three-masted clipper ship, the King Philip, is still visible in the sands just offshore.
Aquatic Park’s beach at the foot of Polk Street is one of the cleanest beaches in the State. The beach emerges into a lagoon with a view of the mountains that glow at sunset, and it doesn’t get the same crisp winds off the ocean that other beaches sometimes endure. For many locals in the area, a daily swim at Aquatic Park begins or ends their day. It’s got Victoria Park just to the south, as well, so you can get there on the Hyde Street cable car.
Grey Whale Cove
This beach, just beside the Devil’s Slide, is a little ways to the south of the city proper, but it’s still more than close enough for an easy outing, just twenty miles away or so. The cove is blocked on three sides by step cliffs, lending it an isolation and a coziness that’s hard to find at most beaches. Also clothing-optional, Grey Whale Cove has been a favorite swimming spot for those in the know for decades. Hiking trails connect it to Montara Mountain and McNee Ranch State Park, as well, so pack a picnic lunch and get ready to spend the day.
We’ve covered all the major beaches, but pools are a whole different story. Our favorite is Hamilton, mostly for the two (yep, two) amazing waterslides. Open every day but Sunday, it’s on Geary Boulevard, in the North East of the city.
Mission Community Pool
In Mission Dolores, the pool, refurbished in 2013, is another local favorite and definitely one of the best places to swim in San Francisco. It’s the only city-operated outdoor pool in San Francisco, and has been so ever since it was built in 1926. It’s a very large pool, offering recreational and lane-swimming, and some truly astonishing murals adorning its outer walls.
San Francisco Real Estate with Danielle Lazier + Associates
There seems to be a good swimming spot in just about every San Francisco neighborhood. If you’re in the market for your piece of San Francisco real estate, or you’d just like to chat about your preferred secret swimming hole, give Danielle Lazier + Associates a call! Our team of San Francisco experts are ready to handle your next major real estate deal, and we know all the best spots in the city.