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San Rafael Beaches

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San Rafael, CA: Beaches

San Rafael has several great sandy beaches near the city. The weather in the North Bay Area of San Francisco can be on the cool side most of the year, so it is a treat to head to the beach on a nice sunny day. Take an invigorating dip in the cold water, build sandcastles or take a book and a picnic to enjoy in the outdoors.

McNear's Beach

A sheltered cove along the shores of San Pablo Bay on the south shore of China Beach State Park and beautiful surroundings makes this 55-acre regional park a popular local beach. McNear’s Beach is especially popular for fishers who try their lines for sturgeon, striped bass, shark, perch, bat ray, halibut, and crab. The beach itself is narrow but offers a fun, safe place for beach activities and easy carry-in boat access for kayaks and canoes. The pier and parking are accessible. Facilities at the beach include a swimming pool, snack bar, sand volleyball courts, several group picnic areas, expansive turf areas, and tennis courts. The pool and the snack bar operate during the summer season only. There is a fee for parking and use of the pool. Directions: From Highway 101 in San Rafael, take the Central San Rafael exit east on 2nd Street. 2nd Street merges with 3rd Street, which turns into Point San Pedro Road. Follow Point Sand Pedro Road, turn right at Cantera Way, and follow to the large parking lot at the end.

201 Cantera Way
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 499-6387

China Camp State Park

China Camp State Park hugs the shore of the San Pablo Bay. As you approach the park you get beautiful views of the waterfront.  The park has an extensive intertidal salt marsh, meadow, and oak habitats.  The wildlife in the park includes deer, squirrels, coyote, fox, bats, and birds. 

In the 1880s, the park site was a Chinese shrimp-fishing village. Nearly 500 people originally from Canton, China, lived and worked in the village. In its prime the village had three general stores, a supply store and a barber shop. The shrimp farmers were fisherman by trade in Canton. Most of the shrimp they netted were dried and shipped to China and Chinese communities throughout the US.  You can find out more about the history of the park at the museum at China Camp Village.

The park may be closed due to budget cuts, please check before you make plans to visit.

490 Sea Cliff Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 561-4323

Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach is about a half-hour drive from San Rafael. It is close to attractions such as Muir Woods National Monument, Muir Beach, and Mount Tamalpais. It has a long shore line and is foggy most of the year.

Stinson Beach is a popular day trip for people in the San Francisco Bay Area and for tourists visiting northern California. Most visitors drive to Stinson Beach but there is a daily bus service from Marin City. With the cold water making water play only possible for a few weeks in a year, visitors come to Stinson Beach to hike on the network of hiking trails around Mount Tamalpais. The beach said to be one of the cleanest in the state, and sandy, unlike the rockier neighboring beach in the north coast.

1 Calle Del Sierra
Stinson Beach, CA 94970
(415) 868-1922

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