Ocean Beach
About
At the edge of the Pacific, beachcomb, build sand castles or bonfires, but don't swim. The tumultuous waters can be too rough to handle.
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles424 reviews
Excellent
175
Very good
163
Average
70
Poor
11
Terrible
5

Jenny A
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Friends
It's usually windy and cold and there are homeless people and off-leash dogs. Other times, it's deserted. Either way, do not go into the water, even only to your ankles. The rip currents here are some of the worst in the nation and the waves will pull a person out to the ocean. Surfers can handle the rip currents but the non-surfer would be petrified. People die on this coastline almost every year yet the city finally put up a danger sign in 2021. So many lives could have been saved if they'd put up a danger sign sooner!
Written August 22, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brian
South San Francisco, CA3 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
You may be tempted to head out to this massive beach on the western edge of San Francisco. Don't do it. Especially during the summer, it's often cold, windy, foggy and dirty from last night's bonfires. There are much cleaner and more scenic beaches in the protected coves of China Beach and Baker Beach.
Written March 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Arun K
Nagpur District, India3,374 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022 • Couples
Ocean Beach is on west coast of San Francisco bordering the pacific ocean, adjacent to Golden Gate National Recreational area.
It is huge sandy beach ideal for sunny days. It is pleasant spending time on beach even in summer, as you don’t feel the heat in the awesome windy atmosphere.
A unique place for spending whole day with family, doggy for beach sports & picnic.
Written August 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kittygal 🇺🇦 🌻
Los Angeles, CA8,793 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021 • Solo
I lived a few blocks away during my grad school days and often walked the beach during study breaks. I'd gaze out at the seagoing ships and dream of distant shores.

Every trip, I come back here for a walk. The Safeway I shopped at is still there. So are the windmills, the weather-beaten concrete steps and the vast expanse of the Pacific. It hasn't changed much, and that's good. This area will always be my second home.
Written April 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ElvisAndrus
Arlington, TX918 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
We were at the opposite end of the park for a month and out this way for a stroll. A big beach with big waves. What I like to is walk along a beach just letting the noise and motion enter me. The sand was a little mucky both days so I used the walkway. Worked for my needs.
Written May 23, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rachel & Andy
393 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Couples
Visited 12/06/2023.

A lovely beach, it was nice to enjoy the sea breeze and the sand between your toes. We had walked Golden Gate Park to get there, so it was refreshing and enjoyable with the sunshine.

They even had a couple of old fashioned windmills to admire and enjoy as well.

Nice to sit and enjoy.
Written May 25, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TemptingTravel
Treasure Island, FL157 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We recently traveled with my Sister and Brother-in Law to San Francsico, his first time for a lot of things, he is 71. One of the things that I had hoped to surprise him with was horseback riding on the beach. We contacted Mar Vista Stable that was mentioned on Trip Advisor and they were able to accomodate us within a 30 minute timeframe. It was an overcast day which really added to the ride. The stables are that...horse stables, your not getting bells and whistles. Just a beautiful trail ride, that at time will take your breath away. Mar Vista was cash only so we came with money in hand. We signed our contracts and were very quickly on our horses. They asked about skill level and experience. Mar Vista sits high on a bluff over looking the ocean and for a while, we thought it was an ocean view ride, instead of a beach ride, regardless the view was breathtaking. Eventually we started down some paths to the ocean. Really not for the faint of heart, but these horses have done this a million times and are very sure footed. It is a long gradual path to the beach. Our guides watched everyone carefully to assure our safety (by the way, it was only the four of us which was very nice) The guides were polite but very cautious. Once on the beach we were free to roam. We were able to go in the water if we chose although not all the horses liked to do it. We wondered around the beach for a while and then headed back up. It was money well spent. I would recommend it to anyone visiting San Fransisco. It is definately a different perspective. If you go, please comment back on Trip advisor or another posting blog. These people go primarily by word of mouth. The rates are very reasonable for the care and adventure you receive. Don't forget to tip the guides that keep you safe on those steep trails. Have fun!
Written October 2, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Passport27557
petaluma, CA1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I think its a great place to hang out, especially when you catch it on a good day. The beach stretches forever and there is always enough space to run around and have your own party. One of the best parts is that they allow bonfires which is becoming rare, but having a bonfire at the beach rocks because at night even though its cold you can sit by a bonfire and have a blast. Everyone should check out Ocean Beach, you wont regret it!
Written October 15, 2002
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Holdtheair
Waikiki, HI2,251 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2014 • Family
I guess this beach has that “Your either going to love it” or “hate it theme,” depending on who you ask. For those who grew up near this beach had one opinion and those of us who drove down had another. He’s my take.

As far as beaches go, it’s not my preferred, like the ones in Hawaii where you can catch me “almost every year!” The Pacific Ocean to me is “freezing” compared to the warm waters of Hawaii. With that being said, growing up a Bay Area Native, this beach isn’t bad and I’ve visited this place on numerous occasions over the years. Besides, this is the only beach, this side of San Francisco…

There are other beaches, like “Baker Beach” on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, but if you don’t want the aggravation of fighting the traffic and crowds, this isn’t that bad a spot to be! Parking here isn’t bad unless you come on a nice weekend or during those special events, then expect to park somewhere else, because most of the choice spots across the beach are usually taken by early morning.

I’ve walked this beach during those warm summer months and enjoyed the cool ocean breeze and looking over at the “Dutch Windmill or Sutro Baths” located on John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park. If you’re more adventurous, the zoo is also located down the road and worth the walk if you’re used to walking extended distance! My idea of walking is called, “driving.”

There are numerous different species of wildlife that are regulars at this beach such as, seals, crows, sea gulls, pelicans, and others. On a “clear day,” you can actually see the Farallon Islands which sits 30 miles out into the Pacific.

I remember walking Ocean Beach and seeing trash and other debris but it has improved (in my opinion) over the years with volunteers like myself who have spent a weekend or two to help clean it up. Of course there will always be stuff washing up.

I’ve fished from this beach during “striper season” and off the rocks just below the Cliff House Restaurant. On other days, I have just sat and enjoyed the seals frolicking at the nearby rocks or just listened to the waves crashing along the shoreline. I have watched sunsets from the beach and nothing parallels the view!

During the fall months, it gets down right cold here but it’s still nice for the occasional walk, but with “long pants and a big jacket!” I enjoyed watching the “fog” roll into the bay from the sea which always reminded me of a “tidal wave!” The fog here along the San Francisco coast and for that matter in San Francisco itself, is pretty much a staple in these parts!

In the 30’s, this beach was packed with people who came out to “bask in the sun” like penguins along with their “Model T Ford’s.” Nestled on this beach used to be the home of “Playland,” which was a permanent carnival that drew thousands of visitors each week. This carnival which was built decades ago was located just down from the where the Cliff House stands today.

Like I stated earlier, I never swam at this beach because to me it’s always windy and cold with the sand slapping your face. Of course, there are the “die hards” and tourists who venture down and take the plunge but I always chuckle when they come out with “purple lips” because the water is cold! In my opinion, I would do like the surfers do, and wear a “wetsuit” because the water here is so freezing! I don’t recall ever seeing someone out on their board without a wetsuit…?

Over the years there have been some rescues of swimmers who ventured out too far and were taken out by the “rip-tides” but overall it’s just a pleasant place to stop and walk along the beach or just drive by towards to your next destination.

Parking here during the week has never been a problem for me but during the weekends, it has gotten pretty crowded, especially during the hot summer months! I have attached a few photos of what this place looked like back in the 30’s & 40’s and you can see the old play land!

Some of the carnival pieces have been moved after the place was demolished to a museum on Fisherman’s Wharf, the Museum, “Musée Mécanique,” which is located on Pier 45. For those of you who remembered “Playland” and the iconic “Singing fat lady” she has also been restored and now resides here!

The carnival which was a symbol during our generation has been replaced by a “large parking lot for lack of a better word” along with townhouses. In the pictures, you can also see that back in that “era,” everyone wore black and looked like a bunch of seals getting some sun on the beach.
Written July 15, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

danakate
Washington DC, DC88 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I had a couple of hours free after a conference, and I was dying to see the ocean, and Ocean Beach couldn't have been a better experience! It's wide and long with all types of people enjoying themselves. Several huge rocks and outcroppings in the water make beautiful backdrops for the sunset. There's one restaurant - Cliff House at the top of the hill - and they have great decks you can watch from (open to public). Across the street are huge, lush cliffs. Definitely captures the feel of northern California - unlike any beach I'd ever seen on the Gulf or on the east coast. The #38 bus runs right across SF from Union Square to the beach - just don't take it during rush hours - ugh. It's a bout a 30 minute ride but worth it. Cab would be about $25 so that's an option too. Go! Enjoy!
Written October 27, 2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Ocean Beach - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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