Freedom of Beach

Black Sands Beach Upper Fishermans in the Marin Headlands

Black Sands Beach Upper Fishermans Marin Headlands

Nearly a mile of slate and black sand, expansive views of San Francisco, and just minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands’ Black Sands Beach (also known as Upper Fisherman’s) is roughly the size of Baker Beach—with only a fraction of the crowds. Get there in the morning or late day (the parking lot is small and fills up fast) and begin the 10-minute march down 253 wooden steps and some singletrack.

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Spread a blanket behind one of the several rock outcroppings (a great windbreak on gusty days). Enjoy views across the water to San Francisco’s Lands End, Baker Beach, and Sea Cliff. Looking west, the historic Point Bonita Lighthouse stretches out into the Pacific. The water is a refreshing 58 degrees when the afternoon heats up, but wade in with caution—the currents can be dangerous here; you may be better off staying on land, spying the seals and watching sailboats. Heads-up: Some folks here like to frolic bare-style, making the place a setting for many natural wonders. Tan lines be damned!

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The small parking lot for Black Sands Beach (aka Upper Fisherman’s Trail) is off of Conzelman Rd. in the Marin Headlands (map). No dogs at the beach.

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