A hidden gem in the shadow of the Golden Gate

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Just west of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin is one of the Bay's most-accessible secluded beaches, Kirby Cove. The gate blocking the 1-mile fire road to the cove throws off the tourists; but hike or bike past it and make your way down to the beach with ease. On hot days the eucalyptus and cypress trees keep things cool. At the bottom, claim a picnic table and barbecue some burgers. Or unwind on the ample cove's coarse sand where the Golden Gate Bridge looks close enough to touch and the crowds at Baker Beach are a distant sight. The waves here tend to be gentle, but wade in with caution-there's no lifeguard on duty. Keep an eye out for playful sea lions bobbing close to shore. Kirby's calling!

TIP: Kirby Cove has four premiere and popular campsites. There's no water or wood, so you'll need to bring both, and the Park Service will give you a code to unlock the gate and drive a vehicle down. Reservations are essential.

The entry gate to the 1-mile fire road to Kirby Cove is off of Conzelman Road, near pullouts for Battery Spencer. A major project to upgrade roads throughout the Marin Headlands is under way. Traffic delays and detours are possible. No dogs.

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