If you are looking for the best ocean beaches near Sacramento to drive to on your next day trip, you’re in luck! I have gathered all the best beaches closest to Sacramento.
While Sacramento is located in California’s Central Valley, it is not that far from the coast.
The closest beaches to Sacramento are 95 miles away in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can leave Sacramento and drive to the beach in less than 1.5-hours.
Sacramento can get very hot during the summer, but have you have tried cooling off along the coast instead?
During the summer, many people from Sacramento and the valley head over to the coast to explore nature and enjoy the amazing coastline views.
To help you choose your perfect beach destination, I have gathered the top-rated beaches that are within a 2.5-hour drive. Here are my picks for the best ocean beaches near Sacramento.
Ocean Beaches Near Sacramento, CA
Many of these beaches are located in San Francisco, since the Bay is only about 1.5-hours away from Sacramento.
If you are going to drive that far, you might even want to drive a bit farther to see some other beaches along the coast.
In addition to the best Bay Area beaches you will also find the top-rated beaches to the neighboring counties of Marin, Sonoma, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz.
1. Baker Beach
Photo by Andreas Strandman
Located under the Golden Gate Bridge you will find the closest beach to Sacramento on this list. The drive to Baker Beach from Sacramento is about 1-hour and 40-minutes depending on traffic.
The 1-mile long Beach is just steps from downtown San Francisco and is located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
It is one of the best beaches in San Francisco, a favorite of locals, and it has a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Plan on arriving early because parking fills up fast.
The large waves and undertow make the water unsafe for swimming. Baker Beach is a popular spot for picnics, photography, and walks along the sand. At low tide there are also tide pools.
Two popular hikes at Baker Beach include the 2.2-mile Batteries to Bluffs Trail and the 4-mile Lands End Coastal Trail.
2. Stinson Beach
Stinson Beach is found on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. This beach is known as one of Northern California’s best kept secrets!
You can drive to this beach in a little under 2-hours from Sacramento. Stinson Beach is known for its stunning white-sand, beautiful views, and hiking trails.
It is located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the Point Reyes National Seashore.
Make sure you plan to arrive early because parking is limited. There is a lifeguard on duty from May to Mid-September as this beach is a great spot for surfing and swimming.
You can also rent boards, wetsuits, kayaks or bikes from the nearby Stinson Beach Surf and Kayak for the day. The Stinson Beach area includes restrooms, a snack bar, and picnic tables.
3. Ocean Beach
Another one of the best beaches near Sacramento to visit is Ocean Beach. This beach is also under a 2-hour drive from Sacramento.
Ocean Beach is located next to Golden Gate Park and is within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
This beach is much wider than other beaches in the Bay Area and the sandy beach is 3.5-miles long.
It is a great place to spend the day but not a safe spot for swimming due to rip currents. This beach is mostly flat and sandy, but does also have some small sand dunes.
Most people go here to walk and just enjoy the views. Plus it’s next to the city and so you can easily walk from the beach to Golden Gate Park and even to the San Francisco Zoo.
There are also 16 fire pits so you can enjoy a bonfire right on the beach. Keep in mind that fires are only permitted March through October.
Ocean Beach is a great beach not too far from Sacramento where you can enjoy the views, walk the sandy beach, watch the surfers, and even have a bonfire.
4. Muir Beach
Muir Beach in Marin County is a favorite among the locals. This beach and lagoon is tucked back in a quiet cove and is only about a 1-hour and 45-minute drive from Sacramento.
If you want to see the best views of this stunning beach, then you will want to check out Muir Beach Overlook. This is also a gorgeous spot to watch the sunset!
There are some great trails that have breathtaking views of the ocean and coastline. A few of the popular trails include the Bay Ridge Trail and the Dias Ridge Trail.
The beach is also less than 10 minutes from Muir Woods National Monument. You can visit one of the most amazing beaches on the north coast and then see the towering trees of Muir Woods on the same day.
5. Rodeo Beach
Rodeo Beach is unique because instead of just sand it has small colored pebbles covering the beach. It is a great beach in the Bay Area that is only a 1-hour and 40-minute drive from Sacramento.
This beach is located in Marin County and is within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It is a popular spot for beach combing and surfing.
Rodeo Beach borders the bluffs and the Rodeo Lagoon. While this beach is unsafe for swimming, it is a great spot for hiking and bird watching.
It also might be a good idea to bring lunch as there are no nearby restaurants or places to eat. You could even have a picnic on the beach!
6. Goat Rock State Beach
Boat Rock State Beach is located in Sonoma County just off Highway 1. The drive from Sacramento to Goat Rock Beach is about 2.5 hours.
The rocks, cliffside, and the views at this sandy beach are some of the most beautiful that you will find in all of California. Just make sure that you are careful near the water because this beach has large and dangerous sneaker waves.
Despite being one of the most dangerous beaches in Sonoma County, this beach has pristine views. It is also home to a colony of harbor seals that hang out near the beach.
Goat Rock Beach has restrooms and picnic tables and some of the best hiking trails. If you visit from December through April, keep an eye out for whales as they are often spotted here during male migration season.
You could also experience a nice coastal hike along the beach bluffs on the 0.8-mile Kortum Trail. It is even more beautiful in the spring and summer when you can see wildflowers and California Golden Poppies.
7. Wrights Beach
The next time that you want to get out of the city or take a trip to the coast to cool off in the summer, I hope that these beaches help you choose the best beach to visit near you.