California Coast: Stinson Beach Access

Stinson Beach and its 3.5 miles of sandy oceanfront are very popular during summer. Part of the beach is maintained by the National Park Service, which provides volleyball equipment free of charge, runs a snack bar (open in summer) through a concessionaire, and staffs several lifeguard towers between late May and mid-September. A beach wheelchair is available if you call ahead.

The park entrance is to the left off Highway 1, not far from the stop-sign intersection in the little town of Stinson Beach. Picnic tables and barbecue grills on a level grass area are between the first and second parking lots. Near the changing rooms by the central parking lot, a beach access mat extends a short distance onto the beach (in place Memorial Day to Labor Day, depending on conditions).

Across the entrance road from the central parking lot, a short path and bridge over a creek (a steep lip and cracked asphalt can make this difficult to negotiate) lead to a nearby snack bar and restaurant, and, one block east, to the town’s shops, restaurants, galleries, and small grocery store. There are no sidewalks and many of the businesses have steps.

Accessibility Details
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Beach Wheelchair: Yes
Reserve at least five days in advance by calling the accessibility program manager at 415-561-4958 or emailing via the NPS website. If you haven’t made a reservation and a lifeguard is on duty, he or she may be able to retrieve it.
Accessible Parking: Yes
The park has three paved lots that all have designated accessible spaces; the southernmost, gravel-surfaced lot has no accessible spaces
Accessible Restroom: Yes
Accessible restrooms and changing rooms are by the northernmost and central parking lots; the turnaround space may be tight in the stalls near the central lot because of a bench inside the stall.
Accessible Picnic Tables: Yes
The picnic area near the central parking lot has a few roll-under tables; all are set on grass a short distance from the paved walkway; the ground is firm when dry.

Other Things of Interest
If you’re planning to drive to Stinson Beach, consider taking the Panoramic Highway as an alternative to Highway 1. This is an exhilarating ride: The road climbs and winds along the side of Mount Tamalpais, through rolling meadows and forest, then descends steeply into Stinson Beach. The views are so breathtaking it’s hard to keep your eyes on the road.

Additional Information
Hours: Entrance gates open at 9 am and close at various times depending on the season; check the sign posted at the parking lot entrance.
Fees: None
Dogs: Dogs are allowed on leash in the parking lot, picnic areas, and on the county beach (north of the northernmost parking lot); they are not allowed on the National Park Service section of the beach.
Public Transportation: West Marin Stagecoach – Golden Gate Transit


Bonnie Lewkowicz Bonnie Lewkowicz (59 Posts)

I has worked for more than 30 years advocating for, and educating about access to outdoor recreation and tourism for people with disabilities. I hold a degree in Recreation Therapy and was a travel agent specializing in accessible travel for many years. In this capacity, and now as Associate Director at Wheelchair Traveling, I consult with the travel industry about accessibility, conducts disability awareness trainings and writes about travel and outdoor recreation. I also authored a book titled, A Wheelchair Rider's Guide: San Francisco Bay and the Nearby Coast, about accessible trails and has produced several access guides to San Francisco. My most current project is a website of accessible trails along the entire California Coast (www.wheelingcalscoast.org). My extensive experience as a wheelchair rider combined with her professional experience has provided me with in-depth knowledge about inclusive tourism and outdoor recreation.


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