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Baker Beach The Past and The Present

Posted by tomistech on October 5, 2020

We all often wonder about a great spot for an afternoon walk or sunset hours, to have unique experience in San Francisco. While the list of opportunities is endless, from Dolores Park to beautiful Embarcadero or Golden Gate Park. Here is the unique Baker Beach which is a must visit for those who have never experienced it. In this article, while we discover the history of Baker Beach, we will also find out about the reasons why it is the most popular beach in San Francisco. 

Top 5 Most Interesting Facts About Baker Beach

  1. Used to be a Military Base
  2. History of Shark Attacks
  3. Birthplace of Burning Man
  4. Popular View of the Golden Gate Bridge
  5. Gorgeous Sunset Views

left side of the image is the baker beach national park entrance and the right image is of the baker beach with the golden gate bridge in the background

1. Used to be a Military Base

Back in the 1890s, what we now know as the Presidio was part of a military base. Although there was a military base located at the Presidio, people in the neighborhood or on boats began to gather and have bonfires at Baker Beach. One day, one of the bonfires (said to have been started by a careless fisherman camp) led to a fire that burned the shrubs on the Baker Beach cliffs. Due to this fire and others, in 1997, Baker Beach became part of the national park system and beach fires are no longer permitted. 

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Baker Beach, 1890. Photo credit: opensfhistory.org

2. History of Shark Attacks

Swimming is also not permitted in Baker Beach due to several shark attacks in history. According to a published report, in 1959, Albert Kogler who was a student at the San Francisco State College was attacked by a shark. Here is the story: It was a warm and sunny day, Kogler and his friend O'neill decided to go to Baker Beach and swim to enjoy the beautiful weather in the Bay. They arrived at Baker Beach around 5 pm and entered the water after putting a blanket on the sand. After spending 15 minutes in the water, they realized that there was a shark between them.

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Later O’neill heard that he was screaming, and called for help. She asked him is the shark still there? He didn’t answer but called ‘’Help me’’. Then she swam back to him and start pulling him to the shore. Spectators who heard the screams were ready at the shore and they threw a fishing line to them so that they were able to pull them to the shore. Unfortunately, after he was hospitalized, Kogler could not be saved. Today, swimming isn’t permitted at Baker Beach.

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Click here to view the complete report. 

3. Birthplace of Burning Man

On the other hand, this unique beach is home to many gatherings in history, it was the birthplace of Burning Man. The first Burning Man event took place at Baker Beach in 1986 with the 8’ tall first figure of the Burning Man.

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Burning Man, 2018, Black Rock City, United States.

4. Popular View of the Golden Gate Bridge

Today, many visitors come to Baker Beach for different reasons, but it might just become your new favorite place! It’s where you go to watch the sunset against the stunning Golden Gate Bridge, eat a picnic lunch, or just enjoy the sound of water crashing against the shore. If you’re looking for a quiet place to relax and get away from it all, then Baker Beach is where you’ll find peace.

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5. Gorgeous Sunset Views

Get a view unlike any other by taking the 0.5 mile walk down to Baker Beach. The gorgeous sunset views from Baker Beach will take your breath away. The most iconic landmark in California is in your frame of vision – Golden Gate Bridge - and you can soak in the sunset while listening to the crashing waves against the classic SF bay rocks. Come here for your picture-perfect views and a short walk to get there just before sundown.


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