Stinson Beach is part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area. Stinson Beach is about a 30-minute drive on California’s Highway 1 from the Golden Gate Bridge. During the summer thousands of people escape San Francisco and head toward Stinson Beach for a day in the sun.
The surrounding hills offer hiking and biking trails with sweeping views of the beach and coastline. The beach is 3.5 miles long with an adjacent 51-acre park. Nearby you will find Bolinas Lagoon Preserve, a 1,100 acres of a tidal estuary, Mount Tamalpais State Park, and Muir Woods.
Stinson Beach is a scenic day trip from San Francisco or a stopping off point for your journey north along Highway one. Spring and early fall are the best times to visit to avoid crowds. If you do visit during the summer get an early start on your day trip.
On the edge of Stinson Beach is Audubon Canyon Ranch a 1,600-acre nature preserve. The center welcomes visitors several times a year and offers guided nature walks of the preserve.
Dining Stinson Beach
There is a nice little downtown area that looks like it’s right out of the 1960s. Dining options include the Breakers, Sand Dollar restaurant, Surfer’s Grill burger joint, and the extremely popular Parkside Cafe and snack bar.
Lodging in town is limited to a couple of places including Stinson Beach Motel and the Sandpiper Motel. The sleepily little town also has a market, art gallery, and a real estate office. The rest of Stinson consists of homes and the gated community of Seadrift just north of town.
Before You Go
The beach is open to year-round. The main entrance gate opens at 9:00 a.m. and closes at about sunset. Please check the posted closing time when you enter.
Lifeguards are on duty late-May through mid- September. Swimming is not advised at other times of the year. At peak season, parking lots are full by 10 am
Dog are allowed on the county beach (north) but not on the National Park Service section of Stinson beach.
Arrive early to avoid crowds and secure your favorite spot on the beach. Winters are cool and often foggy, but you can have the beach to yourself. Stinson Beach is about 24 miles from downtown San Francisco.