It’s a bucket-list favorite for throngs of visitors to San Francisco, and with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge celebrating its 75th year, crossing this big orange beauty by bike is a span-tastic way to celebrate. And here’s something many travelers don’t know: One of the Bay’s most-accessible secluded beaches lies just northwest of the bridge, making for a terrific detour to a sandy haven called Kirby Cove. Here’s how to make it happen: Bring your own bike or rent your wheels (and grab a map) from Blazing Saddles or Sports Basement Presidio (both located near the waterfront). Breeze along the bike path that runs through the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge. After you’ve pedaled across (refreshed and salt-lunged) hang a left to reach Conzelman Road. Here, you’ll have to switch to a low gear to climb for a few minutes (or just walk your bike up). Keep an eye out for a locked gate on the left; it blocks the fire road to Kirby Cove, and throws off most tourists. Bike past it and make your way down to the beach with ease. On hot days the eucalyptus and cypress trees keep things cool. At the bottom, claim a picnic table and enjoy a packed lunch. Or unwind on the ample cove’s coarse sand where the Golden Gate Bridge looks close enough to touch, and the crowds at Baker Beach are a distant sight. The waves here tend to be gentle, but wade in with caution—there’s no lifeguard on duty. Keep an eye out for playful sea lions bobbing close to shore. Kirby’s calling!
TIP: Ride back towards the Golden Gate Bridge and follow the rest of the bike rental crowd north into Sausalito, where you can catch the ferry back to Fisherman’s Wharf, making for a great day on the Bay.
The entry gate to the 1-mile fire road to Kirby Cove is off of Conzelman Rd., near pullouts for Battery Spencer. Here’s a map to Kirby Cove. No dogs. Bike Rentals: Blazing Saddles, 2715 Hyde St., San Francisco; (415) 202-8888. Sports Basement Presidio, 610 Old Mason St., San Francisco; (415) 437-0100.