Situated in the Marin Headlands just two miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Rodeo Beach is an easy urban-escape from San Francisco. The cliff-enclosed dark sand beach is a favorite among families, hikers, surfers, and – on those rare hot days – even sunbathers.
While the parking lot may fill up on summer weekends, this beach usually maintains a peaceful feel and is a quiet alternative to the hordes of people at the popular Stinson Beach to the north.
The hiking trails on either side of the cove offer spectacular panoramic views of the ocean below and the hills to the east. The southern trail leads to Point Bonita Lighthouse, an active lighthouse positioned on a narrow spit of land overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Built in 1877, the lighthouse is accessed by a narrow tunnel and bridge over the water and is open to the public Saturdays, Sundays, & Mondays 12:30pm to 3:30pm
The beach has restrooms and showers, but there is no food nearby, so take advantage of one of the beachside grills or roast some marshmallows around a bonfire.
On the way back into the San Francisco, pull off at Conzelman Road just before the crossing the bridge. Past the crumbling military lookout, you will find an unrivaled view of the Golden Gate.
Getting there: From San Francisco, take 101 north, exit at Alexander Ave. Take a left at Bunker Road. Follow it down the hill until you see Rodeo Lagoon on your left.
- • There is no lifeguard station at this beach
- • Surfing: Variable, best in summer
- • Restrooms and showers can be found at the north end of the beach
- • Dogs are allowed at Rodeo Beach, under voice control
- • Bonfires and barbequing are allowed
- • There are picnic tables, but no food nearby