Camping at Kirby Cove in Marin County west of the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Reservation are required for camping overnight and typically book months in advance. If interested in a day hike, the beach, battery and park are open to the public.
Open April 1 - October 31
This popular campground in the Marin Headlands, with spectacular views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate. Enjoy a wooded setting, seclusion and protected campsites which were recently restored for all to enjoy. Campsites are available for use only by prior reservation but anyone can walk down the road to enjoy the vistas and picnic on the bluffs or beach. For reservations please call 1-877-444-6777 or go online: http://www.recreation.gov.
Look for the first set of bunkers as you drive up Conzelman Road called Battery Spencer. Here you'll find a locked gate that requires a passcode to enter the park with a car. Continue down a very windy, steep road for a mile to the parking area and campsites.
As you drive down the trail, you'll see Monterrey pine, Cypress and Blue Gum eucalyptus as well as Coastal Sage and colorful Lupine. All of this just 8 miles north of San Francisco.
The parking lot is very small - only 3 cars per campsite.
Princeton Tec Vizz Headlamp - Red (Google Affiliate Ad)
I got there around 4PM and ran into a filming crew trying to make 'fog' for their movie! If you know anything about San Francisco, this is typically not a problem. However, we've had the best (warm) summer here in SF with little fog. Camping under the Golden Gate Bridge in 70 degree weather at 8:00PM at night was epic.
Construction of the maritime artillery battery began in 1898 and was named Battery Kirby in honor of 1st Lieutenant Edmund Kirby. This battery was in service from 1898 to 1934 and was equipped with two 12-inch shell B.L.R. (breech loading rifle).
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the North West side of the Marin Headlands at Kirby Cove Beach. Gravelly Beach is not very friendly to bare feet, so take flip-flops. The wood on the beach is Pacific flotsam.
As the sunsets to the west, the south facing cove is in the shade from around 6:30 on. Bring warm clothing. This is not your typical San Francisco weather. We were very lucky to have a proper sunset with no wind and fog.
If possible, try to reserve campsite #1. It has the best views of the city and the bridge. The campgrounds are very well maintained and clean. You must bring your own drinking water.
Whenever I walk a beach I try to pick-up trash or marine debris that shouldn't be on the beach. In my 10 minute walk, this is what I collected along the shore. These things do wash up on the beach - pitch in and clean up while on your adventure please.
Setting sun on Battery Kirby - May 2013
Standing on the flotsam resting at Kirby Cove enjoying the sunset and the colors
Spooky tunnel from the battery to the beach. Tunnel draining Kirby Cove canyon creek through Battery Kirby
Raccoons, deer, coyotes and bobcats frequent the area
Firewood must be nail and chemical free and purchased locally. Do not gather your own firewood. It's not allowed
The beach is very rocky. Ouch!
Fun to be had on the swing at Kirby Cove
Golden Gate Bridge from the beach at Kirby Cove
Flotsam washed up on the shore on Kirby Cove
Happy Camping! Enjoy your adventure!