Green means the beach’s most recent test results met relevant water quality standards.
Red means the beach’s most recent test results failed to meet water quality standards.
Grey means water quality information for the beach is too old (more than 7 days old) to be considered current, or that info is unavailable, or unreliable.
When swimming season is over or when a beach's water quality data has not been updated frequently enough (weekly) it goes into historical status. This means that rather than displaying current data it displays the beach's average water quality for that year.
Green means the beach passed water quality tests 95% of the time or more.
Yellow means the beach passed water quality tests 60-95% of the time.
Red means the beach failed water quality tests 40% of the time or more.
We may manually set the status for a specific beach if we have concerns about the sampling protocol, if there is an emergency, if monitoring practices don't exist or have recently changed, or other reasons that render this site "special."
Green means the beach has historically excellent or pristine water quality, but there is no current data.
Red means the water at the site has water quality issues or there is an emergency.
Grey means there is no current water quality information, the beach is under construction, there has been an event that has rendered water quality information unreliable or unavailable.
See the beach description for more information regarding their special status.
Swim Guide wants to help you find the best beaches in San Fransisco for the month of August, 2017. We have put together a list of beaches Swim Guide recommends based on their consistent excellent water quality, and the beaches’ popularity with our users. We’ve also confirmed that these beaches are open this summer.
The beaches are split between the cleanest & most popular beaches, and then most popular. Because some of the beaches in this area do not always pass recreational water quality standards be sure to download the Swim Guide application. This phone app provides users with up to date water quality conditions for over 7000 beaches including those in the San Fransisco area.
The Cleanest & Most Popular Beaches in San Fransisco
Passed 98.7% of recreational water quality tests in 2017 China Beach is a small beach located west of Baker Beach on the north shore of the San Francisco Peninsula. Visitors can access the beach at the end of Seacliff Avenue. Visitors are discouraged from swimming and wading at China Beach due to the cold water and strong currents. However, the beach offers many recreational activities including surf fishing, surfing, and boardsailing.
Passed 85.7% of recreational water quality tests in 2017 Aquatic park is a San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Non-motorized boats and sail/auxiliary boats may anchor here overnight, with the correct permit. The cove is close to Fisherman’s Wharf and other famous San Francisco waterfront sights.
West point passed 88.4% and East 81.2% of recreational water quality tests in 2017 Crissy Fields offer visitors a lovely place to walk, cycle (there is a fully accessible trail) or swim! You can also enjoy swimming or windsurfing at this beach on the Bay. With views of the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge, it makes a great day destination. After you’ve enjoyed the sights of Crissy Field and surrounding area, grab a bit to eat at the Beach Hut Café. The park also boasts a multicultural urban environmental education center for youth. There are two sampling locations here (east and west).
Passed 84.2% of recreational water quality tests in 2017 Hyde Street Pier is in the middle of San Francisco’s most famous tourist area. Once used as a ferry dock, the pier is now home to a number of interesting historical ships. There is a lot you can learn here about San Francisco’s history. It is close to (but not as busy as) Fisherman’s Wharf and directly across from Alcatraz.
Lobos Creek passed 73.9% of recreational water quality tests in 2017 Lobos Creek is at the southern end of Baker Beach. It is the last free-flowing stream in San Francisco. Nearly half of the creek’s annual flow is diverted from the creek to provide drinking water to the Presidio area. “Lobos” is the spanish word for “wolf”.
East and West passed 78.7% of recreational water quality tests in 2017 This beach is popular among San Franciscans and offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and the Pacific Ocean. Baker Beach is a 1 mile or 1.6 km saltwater beach just south of the Golden Gate Point. This is where the Golden Gate Bridge connects with the peninsula. It is a historic site part of Presidio which was a military base formed due to the founding of San Francisco by the Spanish in 1812. Although this beach was acquired by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1977, the Battery Chamberlin (disappearing gun installations built in 1904) are still intact. Baker Beach is suggested to be unsafe for swimming due to large waves, undertow and rip currents of the Pacific Ocean, but does offer wonderful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Serpentine cliffs. Serpentine produces low-calcium and high-magnesium soil thus allowing for rare species of plants to develop in the area. Visitors are allowed to fish and there is a picnic area with tables, grills and restroom facilities. The northernmost end of Baker Beach is frequented by those sunbathers who would like the clothing-optional choice. Just a 10 minute drive across the Golden Gate Bridge is Fort Baker, a wonderful historic district which was an army post until the mid- 1990s. Fort Baker is a great place to spend the day viewing historic structures and landscapes.
Passed 83.1% of recreational water quality tests in 2017 This windy part of Candlestick Point State Recreation Area is popular with windsurfers. The Recreation Area also offers great views of San Francisco Bay, walking paths, and places to fish.