Want to know where the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge are? I’ve got you covered – here are 14 of the most epic Golden Gate Bridge photo spots that you need to check out!
Nothing symbolizes San Francisco more than the Golden Gate Bridge. The iconic red bridge is a breathtaking sight no matter where you see it from, but some views are better than others. Have you wondered where to find the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge?
Having lived in San Francisco for over 10 years, I have spent a lot of time scouting out the best Golden Gate Bridge photo spots. There are many places where you can see the bridge and like I said, there is never a bad view of it…but not all views are created equal. So, I now share with y’all my favorite spots for the best views of Golden Gate Bridge!
The Best Views of the Golden Gate Bridge
1. Battery Spencer
You know that postcard shot of the Golden Gate Bridge, with the panoramic view of the bridge with San Francisco in the background? The one that they use for all those computer screensavers?
Well, if you ever wondered exactly where they got that shot, Battery Spencer is the spot. Up in the Marin Headlands off Conzelman Road, Battery Spencer was one of the main protection points for San Francisco in the 19th century, and you can see the remains of the military site today, but what you are coming here for is that jaw-dropping view.
There are always people here, but there is plenty of space for you to get that perfect shot. The bridge always looks larger-than-life to me here, and that to me makes it one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Keep in mind that it gets super windy and chilly up here, so bring a jacket – or just suck it up suffer through the wind and freeze, which I’ve also done, because it’s one of the best Golden Gate Bridge photo spots and well, a girl’s gotta look cute in photos.
It is definitely known as one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset – if you actually get one, since it is not uncommon for the fog to roll in in the late afternoon, especially during the summer. It may get freezing cold here in the winter (remember that wind I talked about earlier?), but it tends to be a lot less foggy in the winter than in the summer.
You can sometimes even get an epic shot in the fog, if you’re lucky – sometimes the top of the bridge peeks up from the fog, which makes for a super cool shot! I haven’t been lucky to see this happen though, just seen it in photos from other people.
You may have to battle crowds, but if you’re patient, you will definitely be able to snap an epic shot at one of the absolute best Golden Gate Bridge photo spots.
Want to avoid the crowds? It’s an excellent place to watch the sunrise, although I’ve never been to Battery Spencer in the morning (this girl loves her sleep too much).
2. Battery East
Battery East is a trail in the Presidio that begins just underneath the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center. From here, there are spectacular views of the bridge, with beautiful greenery in the foreground, making it one of the most awesome Golden Gate Bridge photo spots.
You can also see a perfectly situated view of the coastline and Fort Point from here as well. Another plus – it is much less crowded than the viewpoint at the Welcome Center, making this a much better spot that has one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge. This is a great place to take in the sunset.
3. Baker Beach
Ok, so the beaches in San Francisco suck in the sense that they are always cold (and covered in fog half the time), and you can never go in the water and have a “beach day” in the traditional sense. But come on, in what other place can you find a beach that has one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge? Yeah, didn’t think so.
PS – Baker Beach is a nude beach, so if you see some, uhhh, sausages, don’t be alarmed. Also, Baker Beach is super pretty and super peaceful around sunrise, if you manage can to get out of bed for one.
4. Fort Point
The beautiful brick Fort Point defended San Francisco from the Gold Rush into World World II, and offers a unique vantage point of the bridge because it seems like you are so close to it and it seems like you’re almost underneath it.
Keep in mind that the hours are kind of limited (it is only open Friday-Sunday 10am-5pm), but if you can, definitely stop by for a walk around through the gorgeous brick halls (the light is always perfect for photos), and up the spiral staircase for one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
However, even if the fort itself is closed, you can still find one of the best Golden Gate Bridge photo spots just outside of it. Although you don’t get the unique perspective of being underneath it, you are still pretty up close and personal to it.
You might even get to see some surfers who are catching a wave right underneath the Golden Gate!
5. Torpedo Wharf
If you keep walking down the path leading from Fort Point heading towards Crissy Field, you will pass through Torpedo Wharf, which also has one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
This is a pretty common running path – every single race that I’ve run in San Francisco ends up passing through here, and I can’t help but stop to snap a photo every single time, since it is definitely one of the best Golden Gate Bridge photo spots.
The bridge looks picture perfect against the rocks, and the waves of the Pacific. The giant rusted chain fence adds for a nice touch as well. Careful though, the tide sometimes gets high, and if you aren’t paying attention, you might get soaked from one of those aforementioned waves!
A lot of people also like to drive their classic cars along this road, so if you get lucky, you might be able to photograph one of them against the bridge as an epic backdrop!
6. Coastal Trail
One of my favorite urban hikes in San Francisco is the Coastal Trail, which takes you from the Golden Gate Bridge to Baker Beach. While there are some epic Golden Gate Bridge photo spots along the entire trail, another one of my favorite views is from the little grassy hillside is just after you start the trail from the bridge.
This is one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge because it gives you a unique vertical perspective of it, with the towers stacked over each other. Plus the greenery adds a beautiful touch. It is truly one of my favorite places in the city!
7. Golden Gate Overlook
This has become a super popular Golden Gate Bridge photo spot on Instagram recently, and it is easy to see why – two trees that perfectly frame the towers of the bridge.
If you have seen a photo of this spot on Instagram but are wondering exactly where it is, I’m here to tell ya! If you are using GPS to navigate to this spot, a good address to use is 1600 Langdon Ct. (you can also find parking there).
There are also some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge further down the trail, so keep on going (I highly recommend you do the entire Coastal Trail hike – and even keep going to Lands’ End if you want even more gorgeous views).
8. Marshall’s Beach
Marshall’s Beach is one of my absolute favorite places in San Francisco – bonus points for it having one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge!
You can’t go wrong with that breathtaking coastline combined with the vibrant red orange of the bridge. If you continue on the Coastal Trail as mentioned above, you will spot a turn off for steps leading down to Marshall’s Beach.
Even if you don’t go all the way down to the beach itself (the steps can be strenuous and the tide is often high), you can still enjoy one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the top of the steps.
If you do make it down to the beach itself (which I highly recommend), make sure you keep walking towards the end of it, towards the bridge. You will reach a little cove and will have to scramble through some rocks, but once you get to the other side, you will come across some breathtaking views of the bridge and find a bunch of photographers camped out there. This is truly one of the most beautiful Golden Gate Bridge photo spots!
It is also another one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset.
9. West Bluff Picnic Area
I love this spot because of the grassy hills, along with the perfect view of that cute little house and the bridge. So perfect.
I would advise coming here during the week, or early in the morning on weekends, because it is a picnic area and there are lots of people around on weekend afternoons. If you are there when there are no other people around, it is definitely a spot with one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
If you are in the mood to have a picnic or a BBQ, this is definitely an awesome spot for one! Just be sure to bring a jacket because it does tend to get chilly sometimes. But you can never go wrong hanging out with good friends, enjoying some good food, and taking in one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
10. Fort Baker
I actually discovered Fort Baker while running a half marathon – such a beautiful part of the course!
You will find everyone else clamoring for a perfect shot at the Vista Point. Instead, take the trail down the hill, which will lead you to Fort Baker. It is much less crowded, and the what you’ll find is one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge, with those bluffs and a the hills of San Francisco in the background.
11. Crissy Field
I have a thing for frolicking in wide open green spaces so naturally I am drawn to Crissy Field because you get that with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. On a clear day, the bridge with the green grass is pretty magical (unfortunately, I happened to catch it on a hazy day when I took these photos, but it’s still pretty beautiful). You can also gaze at the bridge from the beach.
This is one of my favorite places to hang out on a sunny day. There is also a promenade trail that is a super nice walk with great views of the bridge – and also one of my favorite spots to go for a run (one of my favorite things about running races in San Francisco is that most of them go through this spot). Run around, frolic, or lay out with a book and enjoy one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge!
12. Hawk Hill
Hawk Hill is such a magical places to see the Golden Gate Bridge because you get to see it from above, and in a way, it’s almost like you’re standing above the bridge. It’s such a cool perspective.
Plus, you can’t go wrong with the contrast from the rolling green hills, the blue of the Pacific Ocean, and the urban landscape of the city of San Francisco off in the distance. It really makes the iconic reddish orange color of the bridge pop, making it one of the best Golden Gate Bridge photo spots.
Hawk Hill is within walking distance from Battery Spencer. If you really want to get your fix of some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge, start at Hawk Hill first, then walk down the hill to catch the sunset at Battery Spencer, then call an Uber back into the city.
13. Kirby Cove
Kirby Cove is a popular Golden Gate Bridge photo spot because there is sometimes a swing there, and if it’s there, you get a perfect shot of yourself swinging with the bridge in the background. Unfortunately, this gets taken down often, and I’ve never been there while the swing was still up – I have a bit of FOMO because I’ve never been able to get *the shot* here. However, it is still a beautiful places to see the bridge, with the cove and the beach, with the city in the background. It’s a perfect place to sit and hang out and enjoy the view. Even without the swing, I think it’s still one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
14. On the bridge
I mean…you just have to see it up close and personal. Even if you don’t walk the entire span of it, I highly recommend just walking to the first tower and admiring that iconic red orange up close. You also get pretty spectacular views of the rugged coastline and of the San Francisco skyline, just sayin’.
15. Land’s End
One of my favorite things about San Francisco is all the urban hiking that you can do in the city, and one of my favorites is Land’s End. It is seriously one of my favorite places in San Francisco, and another spot for one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge!
You are a bit further away from the bridge so it looks a bit tiny, but that might be one of the reasons I love it – you get to see the beautiful coastline as well as the headlands. It is such a gorgeous panoramic view!
If you happen to come during golden hour on a sunny day, you absolutely cannot beat the light here – it is truly magical. The golden light kisses the coastline and it is absolutely gorgeous.
It tends to be foggy on this side of town, but no worry – it adds a bit of mystery to the landscape, and I still think it’s beautiful in its own way on a foggy day.
Land’s End and the the Coastal Trail connect via the Seacliff neighborhood and I absolutely suggest doing them on the same day – altogether it is about 6 miles and definitely worth doing both!
Best Gear for Photographing the Best Views of the Golden Gate Bridge
Many of the photos in this post were shot with the Nikon D7000 (which has now been updated to the Nikon D7500). I shot on this trusty camera for years and it has accompanied me on many of my travels!
Recently, I decided to enter the world of mirrorless cameras and purchased the Sony a6000. I am loving it because it is soooo lightweight – so perfect for travel! Sony definitely makes the best mirrorless cameras, and the image quality is excellent.
The vast majority of my photos are shot with the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 (for Nikon, Sony). The 28-75mm range covers much of what I need while I’m traveling so I only need one lens. The f2.8 means that it works great in low light and gets amazing bokeh (or that blurred background). It is great for both landscape and portrait shots!
For phone photos:
I actually end up taking a lot of photos with my phone – I currently have the iPhone XR. It definitely shoots excellent images so you’d never know that they were shot on a phone! The newer iPhone 11 has an even better camera, so definitely look into it if you’re due for an upgrade and want to shoot better phone photos!
I love this lightweight tripod, which is cheap, easy to set up, and not super annoying to carry around. I also use this selfie stick tripod to help me take self-portraits on my phone! This is especially handing when trying to get self-portraits at places that don’t allow tripods.
Have you been to San Francisco? Where are your picks for the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge?