Ocean Beach is the widest and longest expanse of sand on San Francisco’s shores, extending from the Cliff House to Fort Funston along the Pacific Ocean. At one time, a vast sand-dune wilderness (now the city’s Sunset and Richmond Districts) separated Ocean Beach from the rest of San Francisco. Later, the Cliff House, and the now-gone Sutro Baths and Playland at the Beach amusement park, helped make Ocean Beach a fashionable resort on the outskirts of town. Today, Ocean Beach is as popular for seaside drives, brisk jogs, and sunset walks as it was the early 1900s, when seaside visitors took in the fresh briny air along the esplanade that tops the seawall.
The beach is nearly always enveloped in San Francisco’s characteristic fog throughout the late spring and summer, with average temperatures in the 50s. The water is notorious for its strong currents and fierce waves, making it popular, but dangerous, among serious surfers. The waves are quite cold, due to a process known as “upwelling,” in which frigid water from below the ocean surface rises up to replace the surface water that surges away from the beach. The rapid rip currents and cold water make the ocean dangerous for casual swimmers or even for those who simply want to set foot in it, and many swimmers have been swept away and drowned as a result. Lives have been lost here. For your own safety, obey the posted regulations and stay out of the water.
Ocean Beach is a great place to sit or stroll, fly kites, and fish the surf. Occasionally, it’s warm enough to lie in the sun. Watch for the small, shy snowy plover, a threatened species that rests here in the winter; and which is being strictly monitored and protected by the National Park Service.
Please note that all text are from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy website.
This was taken on a spring day with temps at mid 80s, a perfect day to enjoy Ocean Beach. Personally, the way I enjoy the beach is drive to Chinatown pick up some food and drive to Ocean Beach. Park the car and on cold blustery days eat food inside car while watching the waves splashing on the beach.
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