One of the best-kept secrets in San Francisco was once accessed only by brave souls willing to scramble down bluffs through poison oak and pricklers. Today, Marshall’s Beach is easily reached by the eco-friendly Batteries to Bluffs Trail courtesy of Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Wooden stairs and dirt paths wind down to the most private beach in town. Bring a picnic and dine on views spanning the Golden Gate, from Land’s End in San Francisco to Marin’s Point Bonita Lighthouse. The views are so good you might just be inspired to strip down to your knickers. Yep, like many secret beaches, Marshall’s Beach is favored by the clothing-optional crowd. Enjoy the sunset (or full moon).
Park at one of two entrances on Lincoln Blvd. in the Presidio. One is just south of Fort Scott, on the west side of the road near the “Coyote Crossing” sign, and the other is about .5 mile south down Lincoln Blvd. with a small “Batteries to Bluffs” sign on the west side of the road (map). At either entrance, follow the Batteries to Bluffs Trail toward Marshall’s Beach. It’s .3 mile (one-way) to the beach. You can also make a loop (approximately 1.2 miles) by using the California Coastal Trail to bring you back to your starting point. No dogs.