Looking for a shady, quiet spot near water to relax around the SF Bay
September 23, 2011 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Any SF Bay Area'ers know a good place to hang out by a little creek or by the ocean in the shade all day and just relax, have a picnic, nap or read? Maybe play some music at a low volume?

We have an awesome hammock that I would love to employ, and the slightest bit of privacy would be such a welcome thing, too..

We're just trying to get away from the concrete for a few days and decompress. I would love to hear the sounds of moving water and nosh on a sandwich without having to hike more than a mile or two to get there.

Surely there's some place like that around here somewhere?

Thanks in advance!!
posted by missy_b to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's a slight trek but I went hiking at Tomales Point a while back and there was a nice little beach on the east side of the point (in the bay)...there were even some kind of ray (manta? sting? I don't know my rays but hey were pretty big) we could see out in the water, which was neat. It was private and quiet...

This is the address for the trailhead...you may be able to look around a little more and find the exact trail that leads down to the beach...

Tomales Pt. Trailhead
Pierce Point Rd, Inverness, California 94937
posted by lovableiago at 10:49 AM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

China Beach. Sometimes it is fairly crowded, and sometimes it's not.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:54 AM on September 23, 2011

Where in the bay are you? There's lots of great creek/beach spots around here.
South, wilder ranch on highway one is awesome.
posted by JimmyJames at 10:55 AM on September 23, 2011

Best answer: I love Point Pinole for exactly this. It's very remote feeling but easy to get to, warm with a little breeze (the East Bay + water equation), lots of hideouts to find under trees on cliffs looking over the Bay. There are some areas in the park that tend to have families with BBQs and such, but it's big and easy to find completely quiet, private decompression spots.
posted by quarterframer at 11:16 AM on September 23, 2011

There are a million attractive beaches both north in Marin County and south through San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties.

You might like four mile beach, which is four miles north of Santa Cruz on highway 1. It looks like this, and is never crowded. You will probably need to bring your own shade. The parking lot is just dirt and can be a little hard t spot if you don't know what you're looking for. From there it's a five minute walk down a path to the beach, which is usually pretty empty, especially if you walk south (the north end has a fairly popular surfing spot, so surfers sometimes hang out there).

Depending on where in the bay area you are, it might seem like a long drive to get there.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:34 AM on September 23, 2011

Best answer: Definitely Pt. Pinole. There are all sorts of bucolic nooks to hang out in. You'll have to schlep your hammock in a ways, though, and sometimes the bugs come out at sunset (as do an amazing quantity of birds and then bats.)
posted by small_ruminant at 12:24 PM on September 23, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the great suggestions!! Since we want to pretty much be there all day, and I don't have one of those cool shade thingeys, I think we definitely need a tree/water combo.. Besides, we love the ocean, but really love creeks.. I can't even say exactly why..

JimmyJames I'm in San Francisco, but we're gonna' try and get a hotel/motel somewhere overnight.

quarterframer, would we be able to hang a hammock up with a view of the ocean there? That would really be just about the best thing ever.

(And totally looking up pt pinole. How far is said schlep, you think? (Bad ankle..)

Thanks again!
posted by missy_b at 1:17 PM on September 23, 2011

From San Francisco, I'd go to Marin County. There are a lot of places to just pull over and go down to the creek past the Samuel P Taylor park. Hanging out along Lagunitas Creek just BEFORE Cataract Falls is really nice, too.

Cataract Falls on the Bolinas/Fairfax road is a lovely hike but there are always people and it's steep, so hanging out in a hamock is harder. Right before it, though, (east side of the bridge going over the dam) is a nice little walk along a good creek and flat spots. There's also a lake right on the other side of the road that has a good bat poplulation if you wait til dark. I'm not sure which lake it is, but maybe Alpine.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:30 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Re: Pt. Pinole: maybe too long for a bad ankle if you want to get away from people. Mostly clear, wide trails, though, and very easy to bicycle.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:31 PM on September 23, 2011

Response by poster: OK thanks! Is there a place on Lagunitas Creek that you can't hear traffic?
posted by missy_b at 2:33 PM on September 23, 2011

Hmm. Not that I can think of that doesn't involve a humongus hike, but for a lot of those creeks, you're well below the road, so between that and hearing the water go by, it isn't too invasive.

The area near Cataract Falls might be better just because it's such a long drive that there isn't as much traffic.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:17 PM on September 23, 2011

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