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Kirby Cove: Across the Golden Gate Bridge

Make the mile-long hike through cypress and eucalyptus to sandy beaches and off-the-charts scenery.

Kirby Cove looking towards San Francisco. 

David H. Collier

With the famous span of the Golden Gate Bridge photobombing in the backdrop, Kirby Cove has long been Instagram ready. Not that you should count on clear cell phone reception when you reach this curl of coastline at the edge of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, some three miles north—as the seagull flies—of San Francisco. A visit here involves a mile-long hike through fragrant groves of cypress and eucalyptus down to a beach kissed by white waves. Snagging one of Kirby's five campsites requires reservations, but a day trip can be spontaneous. Shed your shoes, stroll the sands, and cast your gaze across the water to a city that looks close enough to touch, even as it lingers at a beautiful remove.

This article was first published in April 2019 and last updated in August 2020. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.