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Posts Tagged ‘Golden Gate National Recreation Area’

Serenity, Sand and (yes) Sharks of Stinson Beach, Northern California

Posted by Jody on September 25, 2012

Stinson Beach, Northern California

I’ve seen Stinson Beach, California on many a “Best Shelling Beaches” list. Truth be told, though, I’ve never found a take-home seashell or sand dollar on this beautiful stretch of Northern California coastline.  No kidding!

Peaceful Stinson Beach on a gorgeous winter’s day.

Greg and I don’t go to Stinson Beach for its renowned (rumored?) beachcombing. We love heading to this beautiful beach for the quiet serenity of a long winter’s walk on a seemingly endless shoreline. I’m not sure if we’ve ever even been to Stinson Beach during the summer months, and that’s OK. Although there are lifeguard towers evident on the beach, with an average summer water temperature of 58°F, year-round rip current warnings and a shark attack history, we never plan to do much more than get some sand between our toes!

Left side of Stinson Beach safety sign

Right side of Stinson Beach safety sign

Even though this very thorough warning sign is posted prominently at the entrance to the beach, the Golden Gate National Recreation Site page states: “Swimming is only recommended from late May to mid-September when lifeguards are on duty.” All righty then…

The following Q & A comes from a wonderful White Shark Information webpage supported by the California Department of Fish and Game. In it you can find answers to many questions about white sharks (aka: great white sharks, or if you’re a surfer: the men in the grey suits).  The site covers everything from what white sharks typically eat to how to tell white sharks from other species of sharks and their role in the marine ecosystem. It’s definitely worth a look!

Q: How can people avoid white shark attacks?

There is only one foolproof method for avoiding a white shark attack: stay out of the ocean. If this is not an option, try to avoid places known for white sharks, such as the Farallon Islands, Ao Nuevo, and Bird Rock near Point Reyes. Another suggestion is to avoid swimming in areas where marine mammals are congregating. Don’t swim in or near areas frequented by sea lions, harbor seals, and elephant seals, etc. or near their rookeries.

Wearing a wetsuit and fins, or lying on a surfboard, creates the silhouette of a seal from below. Shark attacks are often believed to be cases of mistaken identity, with surfing or swimming humans mistaken for seals or sea lions. Times of reduced sunlight, such as foggy mornings or dusk, are ideal times to be mistaken for a seal.

View of Stinson Beach, California from the Pacific Coast Highway

Stinson Beach is located about 20 twisty miles north of San Francisco. Open every day of the year, Stinson Beach has rest rooms and shower facilities, picnic areas, and BBQ grills. Whale-watching is big here January through March. A snack bar is open during summer months and kayak and boogie board rentals are also available then. Keep in mind that Fido is not allowed on the beach area maintained by the National Park Service, but is welcome (on leash) in the parking lot area, picnic grounds and on the county section of the beach known as Upton’s Beach.

“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.” ~Bruce (Great White Shark),  Finding Nemo

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Posted in Beach Safety Tips, Northern California Beaches, Sharks, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Location, location, location! ~Baker Beach, San Francisco

Posted by Jody on July 27, 2012

Vacationers flock to San Francisco, California in droves.  According to what I’ve read, somewhere near 16,000,000 people visit The City by the Bay every year! The iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, the ever popular cable cars, and Chinatown are just a few of the top destinations for tourists and locals, alike.

Beach enthusiasts can add Baker Beach to their San Francisco must-do list.  It’s a wonderful, wide, sandy urban beach, lined with uber-expensive homes and surrounded by million dollar views!

Although there are warning signs about the dangers of swimming or wading along this strand, there were a surprising number folks in the water on our last outing. The day Greg and I visited, the sand was dotted with happy families strolling, picnicking, and fishing.  You’ll find a picnic area with tables, grills, and restrooms at the east end of the parking lot.

Be forewarned (or be free), the far north end of Baker Beach is popular with clothing-optional sunbathers.

Grab a fresh round of San Francisco sourdough and then toast your buns at Baker Beach!

~~~

Posted in Friday Finds, Northern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Doggie Heaven! Muir Beach, California

Posted by Jody on January 30, 2012

Muir Beach, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California (©Jody Diehl)

Muir Beach is just a quick and very curvy drive north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This beach is Doggie Heaven, and it’s one gorgeous setting. Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Beach currently allows “voice control” dog  walking.  Granted, dogs don’t really walk here!  They run!  Back and forth, and then back again across this lovely  stretch of sand.

Muir Beach, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California

I would venture to say that the day we visited Muir Beach, there were more dogs on the beach than people.  We counted maybe eight dogs and one really brave surfer.  The water here is not suited for swimming and there are no lifeguards stationed at Muir Beach. According to Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, “Swimming is not recommended along most of the parks’ ocean coastline. Pacific currents are dangerous and the water is very cold. Even at beaches and in secluded coves, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for incoming tides and rogue waves. Drownings occur every year.” Sunbathing is a popular pastime, though. I’ve heard tell that clothing-optional sunbathers prefer the northernmost end of Muir Beach. (Sorry, no photo.)

As for Muir Beach Overlook, just up the road, ParkConservancy.org reports, “Muir Beach Overlook is one of the many spots along the parks’ coast where whale lovers can watch these giant marine mammals swim by during their winter migrations. The Gulf of the Farallones sweeps between the overlook and the Farallon Islands, an ocean region full of dolphins, porpoises, seals, and whales. These sea creatures are under federal protection in the form of the 948-square-nautical-mile Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.”

If you’ll be bringing Rover to the beach, you might also want to check out Cesar’s Tips for Your Dog’s Day at the Beach.

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Posted in Northern California Beaches, Whales and Dolphins | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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