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Baker Beach The Past and The Present

Posted by GrayLineofSanFrancisco 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. 

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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. Baker Beach is 0.5-mile-long, located in the northwest of San Francisco offering a great sunset view, it is also one of the most popular beaches on the shore of Pacific Ocean. While it's sparsely populated during the day, it might get somewhat busy during sunset hours.

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Back in the 1890s, what we now know as the Presidio was part of a military base. Regardless of the fact that 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 reached and burned the shrubs on the cliffs of Baker Beach. 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

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.

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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.

Click here to view the complete report.

On the other hand, this unique beach 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.

Today, many visitors come to Baker Beach for different purposes such as yoga sessions, engagement events, strolls, or sunset sittings to experience the beauty of Baker Beach with the stunning Golden Gate Bridge.

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Any plans for the weekend? How about having a unique sunset experience at Baker Beach? Visit this stunning beach while you experience the glory of the Golden Gate Bridge, make sure to bring long sleeves as San Francisco cools off usually after 4 pm.

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