Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The 10 Best Views of the Golden Gate Bridge

best views of the golden gate bridge

Nothing symbolizes San Francisco more than the Golden Gate Bridge. The iconic red bridge is a breathtaking sight no matter where you see it from, but some views are better than others. Have you wondered where to find the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge?

best views of the golden gate bridge welcome center

Having lived in San Francisco for almost 9 years, I have spent a lot of time scouting out the best locations to photograph the bridge. There are many places where you can see the bridge and like I said, there is never a bad view of it, but not all views are created equal. So, I now share with y'all favorite spots for the best views of Golden Gate Bridge!

best views of the golden gate bridge battery spencer
1. Battery Spencer
You know that postcard shot of the Golden Gate Bridge, with the panoramic view of the bridge with  San Francisco in the background? This is where you get that shot. Up in the Marin Headlands off Conzelman Road, Battery Spencer was one of the main protection points for San Francisco in the 19th century, and you can see the remains of the military site today, but what you are coming here for is that jaw-dropping view.

best views of the golden gate bridge battery spencer

There are always people here, but there is plenty of space for you to get that perfect shot. The bridge always looks larger-than-life to me here, and that to me makes it one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Keep in mind that it gets super windy and chilly up here, so bring a jacket - or just  suck it up suffer through the wind and freeze, which I've also done, cuz sometimes you've gotta look cute in photos.

best views of the golden gate bridge battery east
2. Battery East
Battery East is a trail in the Presidio that begins just underneath the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center. From here, there are spectacular views of the bridge, with beautiful greenery in the foreground.

best views of the golden gate bridge battery east

You can also see a perfectly situated view of the coastline and Fort Point from here as well. Another plus - it is much less crowded than the viewpoint at the Welcome Center, making this a much better spot that has one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge. This is a great place to take in the sunset.

3. Baker Beach
Ok, so the beaches in San Francisco suck in the sense that they are always cold (and covered in fog half the time), and you can never go in the water and have a "beach day" in the traditional sense. But come on, in what other place can you find a beach that has one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge? Yeah, didn't think so.

best views of the golden gate bridge bakery beach

PS - Baker Beach is a nude beach, so if you see some, uhhh, sausages, don't be alarmed. Also, Baker Beach is super pretty and super peaceful around sunrise, if you manage can to get out of bed for one.

best views of the golden gate bridge fort point
4. Fort Point
The beautiful brick Fort Point defended San Francisco from the Gold Rush into World World II, and offers a unique vantage point of the bridge because it seems like you are so close to it and it seems like you're almost underneath it.

best views of the golden gate bridge fort point
Keep in mind that the hours are kind of limited (it is only open Friday-Sunday 10am-5pm), but if you can, definitely stop by for a walk around through the gorgeous brick halls (the light is always perfect for photos), and up the spiral staircase for one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge. However, even if the fort is closed, you can still find a pretty awesome view right outside of it (although you don't get the unique perspective of being underneath and up close to it - but can't complain).

best views of the golden gate bridge coastal trail
5. Coastal Trail
One of my favorite urban hikes in San Francisco is the Coastal Trail, which takes you from the Golden Gate Bridge to Baker Beach. Just after you start the trail from the bridge, you will encounter a unique vertical perspective of it, with the towers stacked over each other.

best views of the golden gate bridge coastal trail
If you are using GPS to navigate, a good address to use is 1600 Langdon Ct. (you can also find parking there). There are also some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge further down the trail!

best views of the golden gate bridge marshall's beach
6. Marshall's Beach
Marshall's Beach is one of my absolute favorite places in San Francisco. You can't go wrong with that breathtaking coastline combined with the vibrant red orange of the bridge. If you continue on the Coastal Trail as mentioned above, you will spot a turn off for steps leading down to Marshall's Beach. Even if you don't go all the way down to the beach itself (the steps can be strenuous and the tide is often high), you can still enjoy one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the top of the steps.

best views of the golden gate bridge west bluff picnic area
7. West Bluff Picnic Area
I love this spot because of the grassy hills, along with the perfect view of that cute little house and the bridge. So perfect. I would advise coming here during the week, or early in the morning on weekends, because it is a picnic area and there are lots of people around on weekend afternoons. If you are there when there are no other people around, it is definitely a spot with one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

best views of the golden gate bridge fort baker
8. Fort Baker
I actually discovered Fort Baker while running a half marathon - such a beautiful part of the course! You will find everyone else clamoring for a perfect shot at the Vista Point. Instead, take the trail down the hill, which will lead you to Fort Baker. It is much less crowded, and the what you'll find is one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge, with those bluffs and a the hills of San Francisco in the background.

best views of the golden gate bridge crissy field
9. Crissy Field
I have a thing for frolicking in wide open green spaces so naturally I am drawn to Crissy Field because you get that with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. On a clear day, the bridge with the green grass is pretty magical (unfortunately, I happened to catch it on a hazy day when I took this photo, but it's still pretty beautiful). This is one of my favorite places to hang out on a sunny day. Run around, frolic, or lay out with a book and enjoy one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge!

best views of the golden gate bridge
10. On the bridge
I just have to see it up close and personal. Even if you don't walk the entire span of it, I highly recommend just walking to the first tower and admiring that iconic red orange up close. You also get pretty spectacular views of the rugged coastline and of the San Francisco skyline, just sayin'.

Have you been to San Francisco? Where are your favorite views of the Golden Gate Bridge?
best views of the golden gate bridge


Samantha said...

wow! all these photos are so beautiful. These all seem to be really great places to view the bridge from. Which one for you is the best view? I'm definitely saving this post for when I take a trip to San Fransisco

Kristin Kohler said...

Bahaha sausages at Baker Beach! I had no idea there were ANY nude beaches in the States! It is crazy how amazingly big the bridge looks from all these vantage points. It's unreal!

stolenchild said...

Up close and personal gets my vote. I have a thing for bridges and reckon that all too often we only see them from afar.

Anna said...

How bizarre that there's a nudist beach so close to the Golden Gate Bridge! Your comment about sausages made me giggle :) I'm glad you didn't take any photos of those!

Olyboly said...

These pictures are life! The architecture is just amazing. I can sit all day and watch this bridge. Breathtaking

Taylor Johnson said...

I love the way you edit your photos, they are so beautiful. San Fransisco looks beautiful and looks like you had an amazing time!

Lucy Williams said...

Love your photos! I was just in San Fran in September and got some great photos of the bridge as it was a lovely clear sunny day. My favourite shot was from Battery Spencer.

Olivia said...

This is a great list! I like the coastal trail shot!!

Jacklyn Shields said...

Such BEAUTIFUL photos! I've only been to SF once and only for two days where it was unfortunately way too foggy to get any pretty photos :( but this is totally inspo to get back and get some of these iconic shots! Saving this post for later <3

valerie joy said...

They are all gorgeous. I particularly like the one in fort point and baker beach as I don't see it often on tourists photos. You gave me options when I travel there.😊


maninder said...

Love this! I wasn't aware of all the different locations to view the bridge. I am particularly a fan of the Baker beach one!

Jess Lu said...

Now I really wanna come visit you in SF!

chasing krista said...

all your photos just blow me away! these are simply stunning! your soft editing of the colors makes them so breezy and beautiful to look at! you inspire the photographer in me all the time!!

Kristine said...

This post is so useful for people who're heading there next! For the rest of us, we can simply admire your lovely photos for now =D

Michelle Joy said...

We totally didn't know that Baker Beach was nude until we were there and ... saw things, lol. No one seemed bothered though so we figured it must be allowed. Great memory haha!

Katalin said...

We loved taking pictures from Baker Beach! :) It was last November and super cold, it was totally deserted.

Julianne said...

As a San Francisco native who sadly no longer lives there, I loved your post!! I knew about some of these spots (we did a "Vertigo" movie tour when I was a teen and stopped at that Golden Gate Bridge viewing point). However, some of these are new to me, which is awesome. Love your pictures! :)

Daisy said...

This is beautiful! I do miss SF. But honestly, I couldn't get a decent picture when visiting since the wing was so strong :) Could barely hold my camera still-- guess I have to go back ;)

Christie said...

Great post!! I've always loved the view of the bridge from Marin so much more than SF since you can see SF in the background that way :) I haven't made it to Kirby Cove still, but I think that would be my favorite!! Great list!

Sierra said...

So many fantastic spots to view our SF beauty! This is such a great, detailed guide - definitely saving this for my trip home over the holidays. Hope to get a chance to meet up again too!

Emily Kammerlohr said...

This is perfect! Now I know where to get the best instas hahaha.

Adventuresfromwhereyouwanttobe said...

We took our photos from Battery Spencer on a tour. Next time we go back I am going to have to check out a few more locations.

Lena T said...

I wish I have seen this post before I went to San Francisco :D Pinning it for later.

Jessica Carpenter said...

Such awesome suggestions! This is an incredibly handy guide. Thanks for sharing all your insider tips. Interestingly, I have an overnight, 24 hour layover in San Fran this spring in the way back from Colombia. So I’m definitely saving this. Would you recommend just getting an Uber or taxi to these spots?

Janine said...

This is such a helpful guide. I've been to San Francisco a handful of times but never really knew where or how to capture the Golden Gate properly. I have a bunch of "out the window" shots but they aren't very impressive :S Now I know what to do next time I'm there!

Miranda Menelaws said...

Love this post! I've driven past San Francisco many times but never had the opportunity to actually visit and explore and see the Golden Gate. Can't wait to actually take some time and properly enjoy it :) Will definitely refer back to this.

Anita Sāne said...

Yes, I have been to San Francisco and to the Golden gate bridge. I walked it from one side to another. Your guide could be the great help to find the best view points. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Love this! I hope to visit San Fran again and wil have to use this as a reference to get some great photos :)

Agness of e Tramping said...

Excellent post to know all of the perfect spots to take an awesome picture, Caroline! Have you gone for a walk on the bridge?

Jordan said...

Clearly I needed a guide like this when I was in San Francisco because NONE of my photos look remotely like this!