Ocean Beach

If you want big waves and even bigger skies, go west. San Francisco’s Sunset District shoreline has plenty of space to stretch out and enjoy the sunshine.

Ocean Beach crowns San Francisco’s westernmost border. With its long stretch of coastline, Ocean Beach feels a million miles from the crowds and city streets of San Francisco. If you snagged your date by saying you liked long walks along the beach, well, here’s your chance to come through with the goods.

Measuring at 3 miles (5 kilometers) of broad sandy shoreline, Ocean Beach is big. Kick off your shoes and get strolling to experience this stretch of wild Californian coast. If you happen to see another soul walking or jogging along the water’s edge, you’d almost have to communicate via smoke signal. Yes, Ocean Beach is that big.

Find a patch of sand to settle in and watch the seabirds alighting and fluttering on the rugged rocks offshore. If you’re visiting in winter, you might see fellow travelers: the tiny snow plover. These migratory seabirds turn up in the cooler months to comb the sands and chill out in the dunes. Seasoned surfers take on Ocean Beach’s epically unruly breaks in the fall and winter seasons.

Look north to see the unmistakable Cliff House, which clings to the rocky cliff top. When it comes to Ocean Beach views, this laid-back restaurant takes first place. Beyond the restaurant are the ruins of the Sutro Baths, which date back to the late 19th century. Golden Gate Park also abuts the beach, making for a nice grassy getaway if you feel like dusting the sand off your feet on sprawling walking trails.

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