There is so much of natural beauty around San Francisco that it feels almost criminal to not explore it. 7*7, the online magazine on everything San Francisco and the Bay area is a repository of information and has the latest article on escapes from the city, one of which is a secluded black sands beach in Sausalito, a charming coastal town in Marin Headlands, north of the city. We left in the morning, stopped by Sausalito to get sandwiches from Sausalito Gourmet Delicatessen (they have a beautiful little outdoor garden seating area but no pets allowed there, boo!) and then headed off to find the beach. This Marin Headlands black sands beach is super close to the city and makes for an excellent day trip from San Francisco. Finding the beach and hiking to it can be a bit challenging, so read details below on how we found our way to this secluded black sands beach near San Francisco.
Want more pet friendly hiking ideas? Read my guides to pet friendly hiking trails leading to waterfalls
Hiking to Black Sands Beach Sausalito
The black sands beach at Sausalito is indeed very secluded and hidden from prying eyes (thank goodness for that since heaven knows how crowded SF and Marin beaches are) since its off a dirt trail which comprises a good, steep hike of 0.3 miles. The best way to find this hidden beach near San Francisco is mentioned here. Dress in layers while hiking to the beach since it might get cold there. Wear proper footwear and do not lug anything heavy (although an empty beach is very tempting to carry a picnic hamper to have a good time) since the black sands beach hike can be a bit daunting for beginners. The beach is not dog-friendly but we missed the sign (we were a wee bit excited to discover the entrance in one go!) and found out later, so I do NOT recommend taking your pooch there although if you Google “black sands beach San Francisco“, you will find several reviewers stating that they have seen dogs at the beach simply because it is so empty and desolate that the few there do not seem to mind. Plus, the black sands beach, Sausalito is not an ecologically fragile area, so I am guessing the reason pets are not allowed on the hiking trail is because it is so steep and the beach area is a high surf zone. Babu was on a leash almost all the time and we sat very close to the stairs leading to the beach in one corner so that he wouldn’t disturb anybody. This beach is also nudist friendly due to its secluded nature, so if you want to avoid the clothing optional memo, do not venture towards the ends where they are resting/nesting in the rocks/alcove.
After hiking through flights of super steep stairs and rickety wooden planks, we finally descended on this beautiful beach. Lush black sand greeted us, along with tranquil waves and beautiful vistas of the ocean and rocks, with a silhouette of Point Bonita lighthouse in the distance. The best part of this black sands beach in Marin Headlands was the desolation-there was hardly a soul around. We sat close to the stairs leading down to the beach and Babu, the beach bum, sat pretty tight next to us most of the time or was under strict parental supervision when he ventured afar. I highly recommend this black sands beach near San Francisco as a secluded place for picnics since we had a nice , quiet lunch there.
The hike back from black sands beach was pretty uneventful. As we walked back up, we saw a steady stream of people hiking down (perhaps the secret is no longer safe and this beach too will get super crowded in future), most of them pretty excited to see Babu huffing and puffing up the trail. We drove through downtown Sausalito, simply to find it incredibly crowded and then headed back to the city. Read our other dog friendly adventures in Sausalito here.
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