The Bay’s Best Swimming Holes

October 20, 2020
If you’re looking for a way to cool down from this Bay Area heat, check out some of these nearby swimming holes. There are plenty of local gems to help you stay cool.

Before you head out, please remember to follow all safety protocols. Social distancing and face masks are a must. You should also double-check that the places you wish to visit are open since local regulations and advisories are constantly changing.





Aquatic Park Cove 

(Beach St & Hyde // Fisherman’s Wharf)

Right off the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, this protected cove is an open swim oasis located a hop, a skip, and a jump from the highly-touristy Fisherman’s Wharf. It does get crowded on weekends, so come early or be prepared to share the waters!


China Beach 

(490 Sea Cliff Ave // Seacliff)

Not to be confused with China Camp up north, this tiny secluded cove between Land’s End and Baker Beach, gives lucky beach-goers a nice view of Marin Headlands and Golden Gate Bridge without the crowds of the aforementioned local beach haunts. It’s sure as heck cold, but since it’s a protected cove, it’s a safer beach to swim at. 





Crown Beach 

(2351 Shore Line Dr. // Alameda) 

Don’t forget that this small town has a quite large beach available for your sunbathing and wading needs. This beach goes on for 2.5 miles and even has a parallel bicycle trail. In the 1880s, it was known as the “Coney Island of the West” because it served as an amusement center. While those attractions are long gone, it’s still a nice beach place to relax on. 


Encinal Beach 

(190 Central Ave // Alameda)

If you drive up just a bit more from Crown Beach, you’ll end up hitting this sort-of-hidden swimming hole. It’s a lot more secluded and the water is stiller. It acts as a boat ramp too!





McNears Beach Park 

(201 Cantera Ln // San Rafael)

Almost adjacent to the nearby China Camp Park, you can take a calm swim in the tranquil San Pablo Bay, or if you’re itching to swim in a pool instead, there’s an actual pool on the grounds you can use for an extra fee.


Heart’s Desire 

(1208 Pierce Point Road // Inverness)

Located in the heart of Tomales Bay State Park, you can easily spend the day at this spot. Because it is protected by the Inverness Ridge, it’s a wave-free zone making it the perfect swimming hole.

China Camp State Park 

(101 Peacock Gap Trail // San Rafael)

Head up north to this serene waterfront. China Camp State Park includes a salt marsh, meadow, and oak habitats. In the 1880s, this was a thriving shrimp-fishing village inhabited by the Chinese, hence its name. If you want to learn more, you can even check out their museum at the China Camp Village after your swim!





Coyote Point 

(1701 Coyote Point Dr // San Mateo)

Not only is there a beach promenade for water activities, but there’s also picnicking areas and a playground that’s perfect for the whole family. 


Oyster Point Park 

(95 Harbormaster Rd, #1 South // South San Francisco)

If swimming with the added company of planes taking off from SFO, then Oyster Point is your ideal location. It boasts a 2.5-acre sandy swimming beach in a small cove on a man-made peninsula. And if you’re looking to expand your adventures into the boating realm, this is a great harbor to launch ‘er off.


Parkside Aquatic Park 

(1595 Seal St. // San Mateo)

Another great swimming area in San Mateo comes Parkside Aquatic Park. They have a roped-off swim and beach area, plus other great facilities that’ll make you want to stay for hours.


Memorial Park 

(9500 Pescadero Rd // Loma Mar)

Like Eden above, this swimming hole is shaded by lovely redwoods trees to make for a lazy afternoon. It’s also a great spot to car-camp, take a hike, and best of all, go banana-slug watching. Since it’s often sparsely visited, you can soak up that precious alone-time with some local trees.


Grab those bikinis, trunks, sunglasses, sunblock, and face masks to have a great time but don’t forget to practice social distancing!