1. This is not Baywatch California.
While the Bay Area is home to epic beaches, we are hundreds of miles from the golden sands of Socal and your bikini is probably not going to work its way out of your luggage unless you are staying in place with a heated indoor pool. The Northern California coastline is foggy, windy and often downright cold as hell, even in the middle of summer. But please don’t let that stop you from going.
The truth is that for raw natural splendor, places like Montara State beach near Half Moon Bay and Muir Beach in Marin County are among the most beautiful stretches of rugged coastline in the entire West Coast. Even right in the city of San Francisco, Baker Beach, with its panoramic backdrop of the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge, is postcard quality. Nearby Land’s End – where dramatic cliffs tower over the raging Pacific Ocean – might just be the most gorgeous piece of urban wilderness in the entire country. So, ditch the bikini and hit the beach with a blanket and a bottle of wine instead. Except for September. In September, you can go fully nude.