Hidden Perles

Hike in to Perles Beach on Angel Island

You’re gonna need a boat to get to one of the best beaches in the Bay Area. Fortunately, ferries leave on a regular schedule to the tranquil state park in the middle of the Bay, Angel Island. Most visitors stick to the Ayala Cove barbecue area near the docks. But venture just yonder and discover a beach less blanketed. Access Perles Beach via a 1.5-mile (one-way) walk or bike ride along Perimeter Road. It’s a south-facing slice of sun and sand that sees only a handful of people. Spread a picnic and soak in an impressive art deco backdrop: San Francisco and the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. Alcatraz seems within rock-skipping distance. There’s no signed trail down to the beach, just a worn path found by in-the-know folks. This Perles a real gem.

The Blue and Gold Fleet operates ferries to Angel Island from San Francisco and Oakland/Alameda. The Angel Island Ferry operates ferries from Tiburon. Rent bikes on the island ($13.50 per hour, $50.00 for a full day, including a helmet). To reach Perles Beach, walk or bicycle the Perimeter Road counterclockwise for 1.5 miles from Ayala Cove. When you reach the first view of San Francisco you’ll see stationary binoculars. Just down the road is a wooden fence, and just past the fence is an unsigned trail to Perles Beach. Walk down it a few minutes to the beach. No dogs.

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