Sausalito Beach Guide and Beaches in the Marin Headlands
Sausalito and the surrounding Marin Headlands have a variety of beaches. Some Sausalito beach locations cater to a local audience, others to visitors from outside of town.
Schoonmaker Beach — No, it’s not the place to meet that special someone in a little bikini on a hot summer day. Well, unless you’re six years old, in which case it’s perfect! Our small shallow-water Bay beach is a great play destination for the kids, as well as a great put-in spot for kayaks. (Photo above.) If you do visit, please help us keep this neighborhood gem clean; every so often a visiting group leaves part of the beach looking like a disaster area. (Nevada Valley and Marinship North.)
Swede’s Beach — The spot where European ships first stopped for water and the village of Sausalito was born, Swede’s Beach is unfortunately now also the outflow point for the local sewage pumping plant. Some folks play in the clear, legally-pumped fully-processed stream water (the same kind used to irrigate many large landscape areas in California) with their kids and dogs. One of our editors once lived next door to the pumping station, and elected not to engage in water sports there, but we know people who say they’ve been doing so for 25 years without a problem. (Old Town.)
Rodeo Beach — Located at the outer mouth of the Golden Gate, Rodeo Beach was for many years part of a series of military installations that guarded the Bay. Today it is a broad pebbled and brown-sand beach in the GGNRA, guarding its own lagoon, with beautiful views of San Francisco and the coast. Recent improvements have made it easier and safer to drive here on Conzelman Road. Unlike Schoonmaker, Rodeo Beach has real waves–surfable waves–rolling in from the Pacific, and care needs to be taken with riptides. Also serves as a trailhead for the nearby GGNRA trails.
Muir Beach — A beautifukl beach with a village of the same name above it on a hill, the beach in Muir Beach is part of the GGNRA. Although it’s located 9 miles (15 km) west of Sausalito on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, Muir Beach gets its mail via Sausalito and shares thwe 94965 Zip Code. We have a detailed page about the park and the community here.
Black Sand Beach — North of Rodeo Beach in the GGNRA, this is a clothing-optional beach that requires a hike from the parking lot. Usually, but not always, the diverse nude visitors are at the south end of the beach in different interest groups, and the north end is for a general audience. Going downhill is a lot easier than the trek back up the steep steps, which require some care. On weekdays when the weather doesn’t scream “beach” there may not be very many people here.
There are many other choices farther north on the Marin coast, from Muir Beach just north of us up to the popular Stinson Beach and the Point Reyes National Seashore. We think this article from Marin Mommies gives a great overview.