The primary attraction at Stinson Beach is the tiny town’s namesake: a broad, sandy stretch of coastline that’s unusually (for Northern California) congenial to visitors. Though it’s as plagued by fog as anywhere else in the Bay Area, on rare clear days Stinson Beach is the favorite destination for San Franciscans seeking some surf and sunshine.
Beachcombers can tread the sands of the beach while sunbathers plant themselves and their towels and beach chairs and catch the all-too-rare rays.
Out in the water, surfers brave the chill of the Pacific to surf and kayak-surf the waves that roll in to pound the beaches. A plethora of local surf shops can hook you up with rental equipment if you didn’t bring your own.
So what’s the catch to this idyllic recreation spot? As with so many other things in and near metropolitan California areas, it’s the traffic. You’ll learn quickly what the problem is if you try to drive into Stinson Beach on a sunny summer weekend day.
With only one lane each way, and a couple of intersections with stop signs, backups that stretch for miles are all too common. Your best bet is to drive in on a weekday, or in the evening when everyone else is leaving the beach.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition