Picnic on a Black Sand Beach

San Francisco Black Sand Beach (Marin)

Added by Marcello Pantuliano

  • A secluded black sand beach just minutes outside of SF
  • A quieter alternative to other popular beaches in the area
  • Sweeping views of the Bay Area coastline and SF

Black Sand Beach is a beautiful, mile-long stretch of black sand just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. On a sunny day, it’s best to try and arrive in the morning, as the parking lot can fill up quickly. To get down to the beach, you’ll need to hike for about 10 minutes down 250 or so wooden steps. You’ll feel it in your legs on the return trip to the car, so keep that in mind when considering how elaborate you want to make your picnic (tip: don’t plan on taking a big cooler).

Once you’re down on the beach, spread out your picnic blanket, relax, and explore the shoreline. Because of the hike-in nature of this spot, it tends to be much less crowded than other beaches in the area. Please note, this is technically a “clothing optional” beach, but most of the nudists hang out on the south end. Regardless, be prepared to see a naked body or two.

This parking lot can be a bit tricky to find, but it's directly off of Conzelman Road, past Hawk Hill, and down the hill along the coast. There will be a dirt parking lot on your left. Look for Upper Fishermans trail signage.

Photos: Ryan Devenish; Robb

Pack List

  • Picnic supplies
  • Dress in layers (it can get breezy)
  • Sunblock
  • Camera
  • The ability to un-see things that shouldn’t be seen
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Chillin, Hiking

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Rating:

Features:

Adult Beverages
Bathrooms
Beach
Scenic
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

over 1 year ago

Easy hike with a great view of the bridge while on the beach.

over 1 year ago

almost 2 years ago

can anyone tell me if this is a dog friendly beach

almost 2 years ago

about 2 years ago

Perfect place for a mini hike & picnic!

about 2 years ago

More Adventures Nearby

Hike the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve Loop

San Francisco / Monte Bello Open Space Parking

This hike is best done in the late fall, winter, and spring so that the creek is running and the hills are green.

Hike Montgomery Woods State Nature Reserve Loop

San Francisco / Montgomery Woods SNR

This is a great find. We saw it on the map it was on the way from Mendocino to our next stop, Napa Valley. So glad we took the time to visit.

John Maurizi
3 Saves

Marin Headlands Trail Loop

San Francisco / Marin Headlands Trail via Coastal Trail

This trail starts at the Coastal Trail in Marin Headlands Park, where there's a small parking lot and outhouse bathroom off the circle when coming from Conzelman Road.

Jaime B
3 Saves