A serene beach set among old-growth redwoods, Muir Beach has quiet little shoreline, scenic overlooks and a quaint English inn. It’s a remote slice of Northern California’s coast that has everything your family needs for a restful vacation.
Atmosphere: Those that find their way to Muir Beach are usually San Franciscans looking to escape, Highway 1 travelers or residents of the 150-person town. It’s also a place for scientists to explore and restore the coastal environment without the usual traffic.
Parking and Entrance: Drive down a small country road to the free unpaved parking lot. Parking is not allowed on the road in, so you may need to wait for a spot if they’re all full on a sunny day. Walk across the newly constructed bridge and take the path around a creek habitat to the beach. The sandy path is thick and not stroller-friendly.
Nice Walks and Views: Leave the baby down on the sand with Dad and walk along the overlook for a great view of the forested hillside town.
Activities for Toddlers: There are plenty of sticks and rocks on the beach to entertain your toddler without him having to set foot in the cold water.
Bathrooms: There is a row of Porta Potties back by the parking lot. There are no showers or bathrooms on the beach.
Perks for Parents: The relatively remote location of Muir Beach means you’ll be worlds away from city life, but a still only a windy 30-minute drive from San Francisco and wide-open Ocean Beach. There are short hiking trails and some say, a clothing-optional area.
Where to Stay with Kids: Live like a local in your own secluded hillside lodge if you book a vacation rental in Muir Beach through VRBO. The Magical Cottage at Muir Beach sleeps 4, has twin beds in a loft for older children and a full kitchen. (130 Sunset Way)
Baby-friendly Restaurants: Put baby in a proper wooden high chair for her first bangers and mash at the Pelican Inn, a 16th century English inn and restaurant with old-fashioned touches throughout. Toddlers can run around on the lawn outside if not in a sitting mood. (short drive from beach; 10 Pacific Way)
What Else to Do: Schedule your trip around a Family Day at Slide Ranch, where your child can learn how to milk a goat or watch the shearing of the sheep. (A few miles north of Muir Beach; 2025 Shoreline Hwy.)