San Francisco is a city that is full of amazing places for photography. However, when I am asked what my favorite spot is in the city, it is hard for me to not default to Marshall’s Beach. This small stretch of sand on the southwest side of the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most beautiful places in California with the massive rocks, waves crashing on the sand, and the staggering Golden Gate Bridge providing a backdrop to it all. If you want to check it out, here is all the information.
1 mile walk
250 feet of elevation gain
Do not leave anything valuable in your car as there are often break ins
Parking at Golden Gate Bridge Overlook
This information is from my visit in 2018
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Marshall’s Beach is a popular summer destination, but getting there might be a hassle due to limited parking. However, it is reachable via foot from the Golden Gate Bridge’s main welcome center or through the Bluffs and Batteries Trail.
The Trip to Marshall’s Beach on Foot
The aforesaid photo was taken at the Golden Gate Bridge Overlook. About 30 vehicles can be parked in the dirt lot, and on weeknights, it’s usually not too crowded. Again, automobile break-ins are common in this neighborhood, so keep your valuables inside.
You’ll be leaving the parking lot through the trail that begins in the southwest corner. A sign marks the beginning of the set of stairs that lead down to Marshall’s Beach, from which this path continues for another tenth of a mile.
As you make your way down the trail’s numerous flights of stairs, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of the coast. Keep in mind that the return trip is an uphill slog along the same stairs.
As you step out onto the sand, look to your right to take in a breathtaking panorama of the Golden Gate Bridge; this is the direction you’ll want to keep going in to reach Marshall’s Beach.
Since the whole place is so picturesque, I normally just go around and take pictures anywhere that strikes my fancy.
However, if you venture past the rocks, you’ll find an excellent vantage point for taking pictures of the bridge.
You’re free to stay as long as you like, but remember that you’ll have to retrace your steps to get to your vehicle. When I come here, I can always count on seeing at least a handful of other photographers.
Leave a comment below and tell me whether you believe that this location is one of the best places in the city to watch the sun go down.