The Best Views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco is my favorite city to visit in the entire world and I try to go back at least once a year. Last year, I was lucky and visited twice in May with my little sister Lauren and in November with Dan for a friend’s wedding (see here). Residents of San Francisco always tell me how cold and dreary the city can be, but it is literally always perfectly crisp and sunny for me (knock on wood)!
Usually, I wander over to the Marina District to catch a view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field. I love watching all of the dog walkers let the dogs loose to play on the beach. This time, though, I really wanted to actually cross the Golden Gate Bridge and see it from the Marin Headlands near Sausalito. I also wanted to visit Kirby Cove where people promised I would find a rope swing for that iconic Instagram post.
So on our first day in the city, my sister and I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, onto the winding roads of the Marin Headlands where we promptly missed our exit and found ourselves singing the Full House theme song for the second time as we crossed the bridge back toward the city. Oops! On our third trip across the bridge that day, we made sure to focus and find that pesky exit for Conzelman Road which led us to our destination.
As we drove up along the Marin Headlands, we quickly realized we were not going to find a parking spot in the turnouts for Battery Spencer or the Golden Gate View Point. Instead, we climbed higher until the cars thinned out and we found a parking spot along the road. There was a very nice path along the road to follow as we hiked back down to viewpoint. The views from the road were gorgeous, giving us an amazing glimpse of the beautiful Kirby Cove from above and finally of that red iconic bridge around the bend.
On our walk we could see the path that led down to Kirby Cove and were totally intimidated by how long it would take us to hike down and then eventually back up. If we had more time, I would totally hike it, but as we passed the entrance to the trail we noticed a car leaving. There is a gate that guards the path, but it can be moved manually. So after taking pictures from the view point, we hiked back up to our car and ventured down the gravel road toward Kirby Cove. I’m so glad that the gate is there because I think this deterred too many people from driving down.
When we arrived we only saw a small family camping in the campgrounds, so we had the beach to ourselves! The only disappointment was that the famous swing had been torn down (or broken, can you imagine? haha). We found the remnants of the swing (just some rope and branches) hanging below a tree. I tried to engineer my own swing with the remaining rope with little success. In any case, forget the gram and turn around because you’re standing on a secluded beach with the most amazing view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge!
As we drove back up the gravel road after our little adventure, we encountered one tiny problem. Because the gate was closed, people thought it was okay to park in front of it (smh). We were luckily still able to open the gate, but we had to off road a bit to get around the parked cars. I was freaking out as my little sister revved the engine to hop the curb that separated the road from a seriously steep cliff! Adventure at your own risk, kids!
Check back soon for my full San Francisco guide including my favorite hotels to stay in and where to eat! I’ve had this content laying around for so long now and I can’t wait to share it with you!