Best Kid-Friendly Beaches Near Sacramento
April 23, 2024

Get started on your family beach day trip this summer and take a road trip to one of the best kid-friendly beaches near Sacramento!

Summer heat can be ferocious. With temperatures climbing up during the long summer, the best way to cool off is by going to the beach. Kids can enjoy the sunshine, swim in the calm ocean waters, and play outdoors building sandcastles while you relax in the endless stretch of sand that will greet you with some fresh air from the Pacific. So, start planning a family summer getaway and find the best kid-friendly beaches near Sacramento!

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Although Sacramento is situated inland and a bit distant from the coast, driving more than an hour to the beach is a perfect family escape to cool off during the hot summer days. You’ll find sheltered spots away from the crowds or a long stretch of fine sand and cool waters with many fun, family-friendly activities. Everyone can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, surfing, building sandcastle, and having a great time together.

You’re in luck for those who want to get out of town for a road trip to the beach. We’ve handpicked the nearest destination for families to spend a whole day of fun summer under the sun, play in the sand, and enjoy swimming at the beach this summer. Whether your kids are up for water adventure, collecting seashells, exploring tide pools, or frolicking in the sand, this list has everything you need for a perfect family summer vacation!

Best Kid-Friendly Beaches Near Sacramento

Best kid-friendly beaches near Sacramento - Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach

Sloat Blvd. and Great Hwy., San Francisco, CA 94132
Phone Number: (415) 561-3000

Ocean Beach is almost always covered in fog during summer mornings if you’re looking for a reprieve from Sacramento’s heat. These cold summer beach days are the perfect excuse to make a campfire in the fire rings located on the 3.5-mile-long beach. The western portion of Golden Gate Park is just across Highway 1 from the beach, which you can explore before or after you play in the sand.

It’s also a wide beach, especially compared to all the other kid-friendly beaches near Sacramento. The widest part of Ocean Beach is at the north end. Like all the beaches along the coast in San Francisco, Ocean Beach is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Great for strolling and flying kites, but the water is frigid, and the currents hazardous for all but the most experienced surfers.

Pacifica State Beach

5000 CA-1, Pacifica, CA 94044
Phone Number: (650) 738-7381

Pacifica State Beach, also known as Linda Mar Beach, is nestled in the small coastal city of Pacifica in San Mateo County. This gorgeous beach spans approximately 0.75 miles and lies along the Pacific Coast Highway, offering a relaxing, scenic drive for those journeying to its sandy shores. Its picturesque location on the Pacific coast, encircled by rolling hills and residential neighborhoods, gives Pacifica State Beach a unique charm.

It’s a great surfing spot for surfers of all skill levels. The paddle out is leisurely, and the break is wind-protected, so beginners should find surfing comfortable, while veterans will enjoy the clear, relaxing waters. Finally, it’s worth noting that Pacific Beach has a Taco Bell directly on the beach. While it’s maybe not fine dining, it sure is convenient — and your kids will love it!

Fort Funston Beach

206 Fort Funston Rd., San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone Number: (415) 561-4700

Are you looking for the closest beach to Sacramento where you can take a friendly, relaxed, long walk with your furry friend? Fort Funston Beach might be the place for you. This extremely dog-friendly beach will allow your dog off-leash to run and enjoy the sand while you want the beautiful ocean views. It’s also well-known for hiking trails, which are friendly for dogs and horses.

Fort Funston is one of the nation’s hotbeds for hang gliding with its 200-foot cliffs where these aerial acrobats catch the updrafts coming off the Pacific Ocean. This long strip of beach is best enjoyed toward the end of summer and the early fall when the chance of a foggy day is lower. Fort Funston is a former harbor defense installation that has become an iconic tourist destination.

Tennessee Valley Beach

Tennessee Valley Rd., Mill Valley, CA 94941
Phone Number: (415) 561-4700

Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Tennessee Valley Beach is a broad dark sand beach reached via a 1.7-mile fairly level hike starting from the Tennessee Valley trailhead’s parking lot. The trail leading to the beach is popular with beachgoers and hikers that enjoy the walk with views of the wildflowers and wildlife along the way.

Early mornings on the beach are often foggy and chilly, so get there early if you want a refreshingly cool early morning walk by the beach. If you plan to stay for a picnic, bring your food, water, and blanket, as there are no services in the area. It is an easy drive and rarely gets too busy if you’re looking for a quiet escape.

Black Sands Beach

Conzelman Rd., Sausalito, CA 94965
Phone Number: (415) 561-4700

Black Sands Beach in the Golden Gate Recreation Area is one of the best kid-friendly beaches near Sacramento if you’re looking for a relatively secluded and uncrowded beach to escape the crowds and the heat. Once you’re down on the beach, spread out your picnic blanket, relax, and explore the shoreline, where you’ll also see Sutro Tower and Baker Beach in San Francisco.

With stellar views and surreal black sands, this beach will urge you to snap many photographs. Moreover, it gives you ample opportunities for hiking and picnicking. Again, this isn’t a place for swimming with its icy waters and rough waves, but it’s perfect for walking and exploring. The hike down is made easier with many wooden steps to help ease the steep grade.

Rodeo Beach

Rodeo Beach

1049 Mitchell Rd., Sausalito, CA 94965
Phone Number: (415) 561-3000

This kid-friendly beach near Sacramento is unlike other beaches on the list, as it is a unique strip separating the Pacific Ocean and Rodeo Lagoon. With ample parking spaces, picnic tables, and beautiful trails, Rodeo Beach is great to visit when you’re looking for a place to have a relaxing day with family or friends. Instead of a classic sandy beach, you will find small multi-colored pebbles combining brown, red, green, and blue.

With strong currents, there may be better options for swimming than Rodeo Beach. But it’s packed with activities, especially for kids and the whole family. You can go skimboarding, hiking, kite flying, or bird watching. Kids often skip the waves to splash around in a pool of water right on the sand. The kids can play mountain climbing and seek out tide pools along the base of the cliffs that protect one side of the beach.

Muir Beach

200 Pacific Way, Muir Beach, CA 94965
Phone Number: (415) 561-3000

This quiet cove, beach, and lagoon tucked into the coastline three miles west of Muir Woods—is a favorite spot among locals. You can go up to the newly completed, multi-use Dias Ridge trail—a segment of the Bay Ridge Trail—on a ridgeline above Muir Beach. This new trail offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the Marin coastline. Or go east along the trail (uphill) to scenic Coyote Ridge or south along the spectacular Coastal Trail to Tennessee Cove.

One of the beach’s biggest draws is its tide pools, where you can explore for anemones, hermit crabs, and other sea creatures. Though Muir Beach is not a great swimming beach, plenty of other things keep your kids entertained, including using the fire pits, watching whales from the viewpoint, and playing in the sand. You may also savor the therapeutic sea air tinged with seaweed scents as you visit this beach.

Baker Beach

Bowley St. and Gibson Rd., San Francisco, CA 94129
Phone Number: (415) 561-3000

Baker Beach is popular among locals and tourists for having one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge. This stretch isn’t ideal for swimming with rip currents, undertows, and large waves. However, the beach dazzles with awe-inspiring views of the Lands End, the Marin Headlands, and the Golden Gate Bridge. You can fish or check out the shoreline along the beach and rocky shoreline.

There is plenty of fine clean sand, which is a perfect medium for sandcastles. A picnic area with tables, grills, and restroom facilities is tucked in the cypress grove at the east end of the parking lot. This is one of your best bets if you want a fantastic place to photograph the bridge. This beach gets crowded, especially when it’s warm and sunny, so arrive early to secure a parking spot.

Montara State Beach

2nd St. and Cabrillo Hwy., Montara, CA 94037
Phone Number: (650) 726-8819

This mile-long strip fascinates visitors with its natural beauty, a wonderfully beautiful beach located about 20 miles south of San Francisco and 8 miles north of Half Moon Bay on Highway 1. The beach is vast, expansive, and accessible from the road, though the steps can be steep. It is one of the cleanest kid-friendly beaches near Sacramento and a popular location for exploring tide pools, surfing, and fishing. Low hills bound the beach both to the north and south.

Behind the beach are stunning sculpted sandstone cliffs making this a very photogenic spot. Montara State Beach is part of the Montara State Marine Reserve. The beach also offers outstanding trails for active travelers for horseback riding, hiking, and biking. Restaurants and grocery stores are nearby, and overnight accommodations are at the Point Montara Lighthouse.

Stinson Beach

3514 Shoreline Hwy., Stinson Beach, CA 94970
Phone Number: (707) 878-3030

This 3.5-mile-long beach amazes visitors with its natural beauty and white sand, perfect for digging and building sandcastles. Being only a 35-minute trip from the Golden Gate Bridge, Stinson Beach is an easy option. It is the ideal place for a family outing to spend the day swimming in the surf and playing in the sand. Its shallow water’s edge is great for kids to play, but pay attention to rogue waves and potentially dangerous rip currents.

A lazy, lovely day at Stinson Beach makes for a memorable summer day that your kids will recall for years. Stinson Beach is the best beach for swimming in the Bay Area, with its gentle waves and lifeguards on duty. Moreover, it’s an excellent beach for picnicking, fishing, hiking, surfing, and volleyball. You and your kids will never forget the fantastic, flamboyant sunsets you can watch from Stinson Beach.

Stinson Beach

Best Kid-Friendly Beaches Near Sacramento

Sacramento may be in the middle of the California Central Valley, but it has multiple access to several highways leading to the coastal areas, whether you’re heading north or south. Several gorgeous beaches offer fun outdoor activities within an hour’s drive or more. Explore our list of the best kid-friendly beaches near Sacramento so that you can start planning for a road trip and make the best of your next family beach vacation!

Sacramento offers many opportunities for kids to enjoy and have fun all year round! Check out our list of resources, or browse through our things to do in Sacramento with kids. Still looking for more activities for kids in Sacramento? No problem! Check out our comprehensive listing of places to go in the region and our highly recommended outdoor blog posts.

And if you’re in for some significant savings, such as coupon codes or any special offers and promotions for your kids in your area, check out our Deals and Discount category.

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