Visit This Underrated Northern California Beach For A Fun Coastal Vacation

Escape the California crowds with a fun-filled trip to Stinson Beach, a scenic coastal area which is ideal for everyone, from families to adventure seekers. Described by Tripsavvy as one of the "best beaches in Northern California," it is beautifully sandwiched between nature reserves and state parks. According to the National Park Service, Stinson Beach is one of the best swimming beaches in California when lifeguards are present, which is typically from the first week of July through Labor Day, and there is much fun to be had here.

This stretch of white sandy beach is ideally situated between Mount Tamalpais State Park and the Bolinas Lagoon Nature Preserve. California is known for its beautiful beach towns and while Stinson Beach may be small, there is plenty to do here. As it is located near San Francisco, it is a good opportunity to see the Golden Gate Bridge at the same time. For all of these reasons, Stinson Beach is the perfect NorCal destination for hiking, surfing, or relaxing in this sunny state.

What to do at Stinson Beach

The best thing to do at Stinson Beach of course, is to play on the beach — grab your friends and play a game of volleyball at one of several volleyball nets lining the beach, or grab a surfboard and go surfing — just be sure to check the weather conditions before you get in. The beautiful views make it a great place for a picnic and there is always room to sunbathe. Kids will love beachcombing as the natural environment makes it an ideal place for finding treasures. Keep in mind that parking spaces are limited.

For hikers, there are plenty of hiking opportunities at the nearby Red Rock Beach and the Steep Ravine Beach as well as numerous trailheads that will take you into the hills behind. Some of the trails are also good for mountain biking. Stinson joins Upton Beach which is a Marin County Park offering opportunities to windsurf, kayak, and boogie board. Whatever fun you like to have at the seaside, Stinson Beach has it all and when the day is done, you can grab dinner with a sea view. If you stay overnight, you can watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean without having to worry about the journey home.

Where to stay on Stinson Beach

Even though Stinson Beach is only attached to a small town, there are some great options to stay around it that offer something for every type of traveler. The top-rated accommodation on Stinson Beach according to Tripadvisor is the Sandpiper Lodging at the Beach, which is popular due to its access to the beach and trails. It provides cottages which are ideal for families but also for couples on a romantic vacation who are looking for some privacy.

On the other side of the Bolinas Lagoon Nature Preserve is the town of Bolinas, which has gorgeous views of Stinson Beach. Here you can stay at Smiley's Saloon, Hotel & Kitchen which has 4.5 stars on Google Reviews due to its great food, friendly service, and live music nights. Nature lovers can stay in Mount Tamalpais State Park which is behind the beach, with access to even more incredible hiking trails with views of the sea. There are nine cabins available by reservation and in the summer, the seven campsites can only be reserved on a lottery basis. What the Stinson Beach area lacks in quantity of accommodations, it makes up for with the quality of the locations and the views that you'll find staying here.