You know what some people think is a bit of a cliché? Watching the sunset. You know what’s also a beautiful and inexpensive way to spend time with someone you love? You guessed it — watching the sunset. Here are five of the most beautiful beaches to catch the day’s last rays around the Bay.
If Pfeiffer Beach looks familiar, odds are you’ve seen snapshots of it all over Instagram by someone taking a road trip down Highway 1. That someone could be you. Even with all the social media attention, this photogenic beach is one of Big Sur’s best-kept secrets thanks to its somewhat unmarked location. About a mile south of Big Sur Station, turn onto a back road and wind two miles toward the coastline. As the sun sets, notice how the light illuminates the purple streaks in the sand. Learn more.
Insider Tip: During the winter, the sun sets directly behind the iconic rock archway in the water. Make sure to bring your camera.
If you’re looking for lots of space for you and a special someone to watch the sunset alone, this beach is a great contender. Also known as Devil’s Slide, Grey Whale Beach is a sheltered cove backed by cliffs, making it incredibly picturesque and, more often than not, fairly secluded. The beach is between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay and only takes 30 minutes to reach by car. This time of year, keep an eye out for the migrating grey whales passing by. Learn more.
Insider Tip: This is a nude beach. Consider yourself warned.
You don’t need to leave the city to find spot to watch the sunset other than Ocean Beach. Head to Land’s End for a short hike with some spectacular views. After starting off on the trail just up the hill from Sutro Baths, look for signs pointing you toward the Mile Rock Beach viewpoint. Walk the 100 or so steps down — this keeps the crowds out — to arrive at the beach, where you can hop from rock to rock in the low tide or take a seat and watch the sun set behind the rock formations. Learn more.
Insider Tip: Before or after your hike, grab a drink at the Cliff House for a classic SF evening.
Located off of the Batteries to Bluff Trail in the Presidio, Marshall’s Beach is much quieter than it’s better-known neighbor, Baker Beach. Come here solo or as a pair to watch the sun set and, while you’re at it, take in what some people call the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Learn more.
Insider Tip: Care to check out the wider sands of Baker Beach? Easy — just hop back on the Batteries to Bluffs trail, head south, and look for the signs.
Head north over the Golden Gate Bridge and ten minutes into Marin to find your way to Rodeo Beach. This beach can get crowded during weekend days but usually the numbers of people there begin to thin out when the air gets chilly. Arrive in the evening with your layers and you’ll have lots of sand to yourself. Learn more.
Insider Tip: Want to turn it into an afternoon? Head to Rodeo Beach a few hours before sunset and bring your surfboard.