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San Francisco Beach Activities

Caution: Before setting out, always check with rangers that conditions are safe for your planned activitites.

Hang Gliding

Fort Funston is one of the best and most popular coastal hang gliding destinations in Northern California. Consistent winds and a great lift have kept experienced hang glider pilots coming back again and again to soar above the Pacific's coastal bluffs.

Many experienced flyers rate March and October as the best months. There is a wheelchair accessible viewing deck near the launch area. Parking is available in the lot off Skyline Boulevard.

hang glider at the beach, CA

To Be Able to Fly at Fort Funston

Hang gliding at Fort Funston is managed by the Fellow Feathers Hang Gliding Club. In order to be able to fly at Fort Funston you must complete several steps:

After completing the above steps, you will be issued a sticker to display on your helmet.

Hang Gliding Flights and Lessons

Hang gliding shops in San Francisco that offer instruction and/or tandem flights:

Fort Funston

The 200-foot tall bluffs at Fort Funston are great for hang gliding and also for a number of other outdoor activities. A network of trails provides great places for hiking and horseback riding (see below). For those who decide to hike down to Burton Beach, be prepared for a steep descent and an arduous return hike. The waves are dangerous and rip currents create a serious hazard.

For those who stay up on the bluffs, there are paved loop trails which are wheelchair accessible. The dune field at Fort Funston is the largest on the peninsula.

Fort Funston Nursery

The Fort Funston Nursery has been growing native plants since 1980. Many of the plants go to places such as Lands End, Mori Point, and Sweeney Ridge. About 25,000 plants are grown in the nursery every year. Volunteers are always welcome.

Hiking the Beach

From Fort Funston you can access Burton Beach and then from there head south along Thornton Beach 2½ miles to Mussel Rock. This hike can only be made at low tide and should only be attempted by those experienced at reading tide table. At high tide waves smother the beach and crash against the base of the cliffs.

Mussel Rock marks the place where the San Andreas Fault diverges from the mainland and angles off into the ocean. A small beach is located at Mussel Rock and a trail leads up to a parking lot located off Westline Drive. Hang gliders can often be seen in the area.

Mar Vista Stables

Mar Vista Stables offers 1, 1½, and 2 hour guided horseback tours along the Pacific Ocean near Thornton and Burton beaches.

2152 Skyline Boulevard, Daly City, CA.
(650) 991-4224
Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Saturday and Sunday 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Mar Vista Stables


Anglers will find a variety of fish at Burton and Ocean beaches, including halibut, striped bass, perch, and cobia. Many locals check for sand crabs along the beach and know that perch will be in the area. Rising tide is a good time to go after them. The southern end of Ocean Beach has some structures that create places where fish are often hiding.

Dungeness Crab

Dungeness crab season draws a lot of activity at Baker Beach and its neighbors since they are outside San Francisco Bay. The season opened November 2, 2013, and continues through July 30, 2014. The limit for crabs is 10 and the minimum size is 5¾ inches. Many crab fishermen use snares, small bait cages attached by line to a fishing pole. Loops attached to the snares tighten around a crab's leg. As long as the angler keeps the line taut as they reel it in they are likely to land their prey.

Nearby Activities and Events

California Palace of the
Legion of Honor

4000 years of art on display
Great views of the Golden Gate and the city
Located in Lincoln Park at 34th Ave. and Clement St.
Legion of Honor

Golden Gate Park

Located east of Ocean Beach at John F. Kennedy Drive
Visit grazing Buffalo, De Young Museum, Strawberry Hill,
California Academy of Sciences,
Carousel, Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park

San Francisco Zoo

Located next to Ocean Beach at Sloat Blvd.
Open every day
San Francisco Zoo

Fort Point

Located at the south anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge on Marine Drive.
Built during the Civil War to defend the harbor.
Cannon loading demonstrations, wonderful views of the bay and the bridge
Fort Point

The Presidio

Former military post converted to national park, located immediately south of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Historic buildings, hiking and biking trails.
Lodging, restaurants, golf playgrounds, Crissy Field.
The Presidio

Books of Local Interest

Ocean Safety

California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly." Learn more about ocean safety at
CA State Parks: Ocean Safety

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Every effort is made to provide accurate and up to date information, but we cannot be responsible for errors or for changes that may have occurred since publication. Always confirm information with the service provider and check for any recent changes that may have been made. Also, check with lifeguards that conditions at the beach are safe for your planned activities.

The information provided on this website is done so without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.