Stinson Beach is our favorite, FAVORITE beach in the Bay Area with kids. In the Summers you'll find us there practically every weekend. I almost hesitate to tell you about it because the parking situation stresses me out, but I'm nice, so here are my best tips:
Leave early. The parking lot is big, but it fills up really fast on nice days. We try and leave the Berkeley Area by 10am and usually find a spot in the lot.
Check the wind report. If it's 10mph or less you're golden. We've gone when it's more, and having sand blasted at your face is just not fun.
Likewise, check the weather. We find anywhere in the 70s to be nice. Surprisingly it does get hot – like too hot to walk on the sand hot – so be careful.
Plan for lunch. We always pick up tacos from The Siren Canteen – you can eat there, but we always take it to go and enjoy it back on the beach. The views are great at this little place, and we almost always go back at the end of the day to share a huge ice cream cone – they are the best. There's also a little corner store where we like to pick up drinks and treats, and a burger stand with traditional American fare. Clearly we go to the beach just for the food.
Getting there – take the Richmond Bridge to 101S and then the Muir Woods/Stinson Beach Exit. The road is long and windy and known to cause car sickness, but don't give up early and stop at Muir Beach along the way. Once you see the Stinson shoreline dotted with colorful umbrellas from above – you'll know you've made it.
See you there!
[All photos by Anna Azimi; all rights reserved]