The Bay Area's Most Iconic Views


When you live in San Francisco, it can be easy to forget that you live in San Francisco. This week, let’s all try to pick up our heads and check out the beauty all around us — in coastal Marin, the hilly East Bay Hikes, and the sunsets behind everyone’s favorite International Orange bridge. Here are the best views in the Bay.

Drive Through the Cypress Tree Tunnel in Pt. Reyes

Drive 45 miles north of San Francisco to the Point Reyes National Seashore and you’ll find more than just oysters and Cowgirl Creamery cheese (not that you shouldn’t partake in those as well). Take a drive through this row of giant Monterey Cypress trees and watch the golden California light slanting through. Not sure where to find it? Google Map “KPH Radio Station” near Inverness and you’ll be led through the greenery. Learn more.

Insider Tip: The best light is in the very early morning. Bring your camera and snap away.

Camp on Angel Island

From Native American fishing and hunting grounds to a controversial immigration station to cattle ranch, Angel Island has gone through its fair share of iterations. These days, it’s the perfect spot to take the ferry over for a day of hiking — or overnight camping — to take in 360-degree views of the Bay and San Francisco all lit up at night. Hike, picnic, and explore Angel Island 740 acres during the day and take your pick of campsites at night (just remember to reserve ahead of time). Learn more

Insider Tip: There is one kayak-accessible campsite on Angel Island. Snap it up on Reserve America.

Take in Marin’s Epic Coastal Views

One of the most romantic spots in the Bay, the Muir Beach Overlook, just one mile north of Muir Beach, is a perfect spot to take in the sunset. You’ll have an amazing view of much of the coastline, not to mention (on a clear day) you can see everything from Sutro Tower to Mount Tam to the Farallon Islands. As usual, bring extra layers for the wind and chill once the sun goes down. Learn more

Insider Tip: Pack a pair of binoculars — you might still see some migrating grey whales heading south.

Watch the Sunset on Marshall’s Beach

If you’re looking for some of the best views of Golden Gate Bridge, look no farther than Marshall’s Beach. The small spit of sand is just northeast of the often-crowded Baker Beach and, tucked up next to cliffs, feeling quieter and more removed. Follow directions for the Batteries to Bluffs Trail and climb the 400 feet down the wooden stairs to get to the beach. Learn more.

Insider Tip: Due to its seclusion and privacy, Marshall Beach is an unofficial nude beach. Consider yourself warned.

Hike Above the Clouds on Mt. Tam

Head over the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin to Mt. Tam, where you can drive up to the East routes and the East Peak for some amazing sunset views. Combine the Verna Dunshee loop and the Plankwalk for a short, 1.2-mile stroll up to Mt. Tam’s highest peak at 2,570 feet. Learn more.

Insider Tip: Pack a blanket or two, some extra layers, and a beer. Kick back. Take in the views. 

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