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Directions to San Francisco's nude gay beach

Marhshall's Beach, San Francisco's unofficial gay beach
Marhshall's Beach, San Francisco's unofficial gay beach
Ed Walsh

Directions to San Francisco's nude gay beach

With this unseasonable warm weather we're having this week, I got a request from a traveler from Canada about how to get to San Francisco’s nude gay beach.

The city’s unofficial gay beach next to its most famous landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge, but few tourists ever notice it’s there. That’s because they are almost always on the wider sidewalk on the eastern side of the bridge. The sidewalk on the west side is reserved for bicyclists.

The beach has a number of nicknames including Golden Gate Bridge Beach, Nasty Boys Beach and Bad Boys Beach but it is officially called Marshall’s Beach. It used to be difficult and sometimes a little treacherous to hike down to the beach. But four years ago, the federal government refurbished the area and built walking paths to the beach. That has been a bit of a mixed blessing because although the beach is still as gay and as nude as ever, more unsuspecting non-gays also end up at the beach.

The beach is a nude, clothing optional beach. By the way the predominately heterosexual nude beach in San Francisco is the north end of Baker Beach, just south of Marshall’s Beach

A smaller gay nude beach is Lands End Beach. It is between the Cliff House and China Beach. Click here for an article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian with detail directions on how to get there.

Directions to San Francisco’s gay beach

Click here for a slideshow of the beach that includes step by step directions.

Click here for a video on how to get to the gay beach.

The parking lot for the beach, which itself is very gay, is at the end of Langdon Court, off Lincoln Boulevard. Langdon is more like a driveway than a street. It dead-ends into the beach parking lot. The path down to the beach is on the western end of the parking lot. The path can be a little tricky to find for first timers, but follow the gay men or ask one for directions. You will have a lot of company on warm sunny days.

You can also walk to the beach from the Golden Gate Bridge. Walk on the sidewalk under the bridge to the western side of the bridge where the bridge workers’ parking lot is. The road that runs alongside that parking lot is called Merchant Road. Follow Merchant Road in the direction away from the bridge. It curves to the left onto Lincoln Boulevard. Make a right on Lincoln Boulevard to Langdon Court. Make a right on Langdon Court to the beach parking lot.

You will see a number of shelters built with rocks to shield sunbathers from the wind and also to provide for more privacy. The beach is on federal land, so US Park Police, not San Francisco Police, have jurisdiction over the property. Officers don’t routinely patrol the beach, but they do respond to complaints and will issue citations if they find anyone engaging in sexual activity there. The beach tends to get more cruisy the farther northeast, towards the Golden Gate Bridge, you go.

Hardly anyone swims at the beach. The water is usually too cold. But you will see some people quickly jump in the waves and jump out. The waves can be dangerous, so stay away when the surf is rough.