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One of the many advantages of calling the Bay Area home is its vast array of microclimates. Don’t like the weather where you are?  You can always travel a few miles to experience something completely different.

This is especially true in the summer, when sweltering inland temperatures may make the idea of outdoor activities less than appealing. So why not head to the beach? Remember to wear sunscreen and to stock a cooler with healthy snacks—and plenty of water—so you can end your adventure with a nutritious picnic on the sand.

North Bay

Muir Beach Hike: Take a big, relaxing breath as you gaze out over the stunning ocean views along a trail heading south from Muir Beach in Marin County. As you follow the Coastal Trail, enjoy the sound of the crashing surf below, and try to spot sea lions.

After climbing a series of wooden stairs on the Coastal Trail, you’ll experience an all-in-one panorama of the Pacific Ocean, the blue lagoon of Tennessee Valley, Bolinas and Point Reyes, and the San Francisco skyline. To the east you will see the rolling hills of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

How to: The Coastal Trail can be reached from the left side (as you’re facing the water) of the Muir Beach parking lot, near the restrooms. Walk across a footbridge over a marsh to the sign for the Coastal Trail, where you’ll take a wide fire road to the right. Keep to the right along the coast.

East Bay

Crown Memorial Beach Biking: Take a leisurely bike ride along San Francisco Bay at a spot that feels like a different world. Crown Memorial State Beach surprises with its vast, open skyscape and long, gentle curve of shoreline. Enjoy a swim after your bike ride. The water at Crown Memorial is shallow—and warm, unlike most Northern California beaches.

How to: Park at the beach lot and pedal southeast along the paved bike path. Follow the path for 2.5 miles along the shore, or head over the bicycle drawbridge to Bay Farm Island for more fresh air and fun.

Peninsula

Horseback Riding at Half Moon Bay: Ever dreamed of riding a horse on the beach? At Sea Horse Ranch in Half Moon Bay, your dream can easily become a reality. Explore a guided trail ride down the bluffs to long stretches of sand, where you can experience the sea air and unobstructed ocean views as you and your horse skirt the water’s edge.

How to: Morning rides are beautiful when the beach is deserted and the horses are well-rested. Be sure to make a reservation.

Beach and Water Smarts

Plan on having fun at the beach—and staying safe. Some tips:

  • Never swim alone or intoxicated. And even if you’re confident about your swimming skills, make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.
  • Have inexperienced swimmers wear life jackets in and around the water. Pay especially close attention to children and elderly people.
  • Check for depth and obstructions before diving, and always go in feet first the first time.
  • Avoid patches of plants, and leave animals alone. Water plants and animals may be dangerous.
  • Frequently reapply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above.

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If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately, call your doctor, or go to the emergency room/urgent care.