Gay Beaches in San Francisco and The Bay Area of Northern California

San Francisco has been recognized for decades as the epicenter of gay lifestyles, and San Francisco beaches are no exception.  Yes, straight people frequent the beach and live in San Francisco, too, but if you are not tolerant to men hugging in public or women kissing, then by golly, you may want to consider going somewhere else. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender visitors to the city where Tony Bennett left his heart may also find that things just seem more romantic in this cool, fog-shrouded destination.

The fog is a fact of life, and adds mystique to living on the bay. Gay tourists fall for its charms easily enough. And the friendly environment could easily make you want to pack up and move to the city, just on a whim. Stranger things have happened. But if you're just visiting and are happy enough to return to your job and home somewhere else, you at least owe yourself a visit to San Francisco.  Gay beaches are best visited when the weather is warm. In San Francisco, sunbathing is a sport you can look for participating in on warm, sunny days in July through September. Occasionally the temperatures reach the 80's and the water might be tolerable for a dip. Do check with locals about the swimming conditions, however. Some beaches have strong currents and are quite dangerous, so don't assume that all beaches are the same when it comes to San Francisco.


The vibe for gays is not cutesy. Gay lifestyle is what it is...a part of life. You don't have to hide who you are either. While there's no need to be all over your mate in a public display, you can share hugs, put your arms around each other and walk holding hands if you like. San Francisco is one of the most liberal cities in the U.S. for tolerance of gays.  San Francisco has beautiful beaches that are slightly overlooked, and though they are nice, gays visiting the city find the beaches somewhat low on the list, thanks to the fact that there's so much going on to draw you in many directions. San Francisco is like coming home if you're gay or live alternate lifestyles. Not only are there clubs, theater and concerts to entertain your senses and sensibility, there's are annual events geared to the gay audience.


Up Your Alley and Bay of Pigs in July offer two days and nights of partying in conjunction with Folsom Street Fair ( in September.  Erotic artists are invited to submit their work for a special exhibition display area, just part of the fun.  The Bay of Pigs event hours go from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., so this is for the night crowd.


In addition, Carnaval San Francisco Festival and Grand Parade, Caribbean celebration; San Francisco International GLBT Film Festival; Gay San Francisco Pride;  Folsom Street Fair billed as the world's largest leather event, and a huge Cow Palace Naughty Halloween event each October are part of the gay celebrations ideal for a vacation or weekend getaway.


If any of this sounds a bit over the top, well, "you ain't seen nothin' yet" till you take a trip to San Francisco.


Where to stay if you are gay: San Francisco is a city of many hotel options. With a homogenous tolerance for gay lifestyle, you're good to go at nearly any hotel in the city by the bay. But if you absolutely feel the need to shop gay and support your brethren, Galleria Park Hotel in the Financial District at Union Square is the hip center of cool. Completely renovated in 2007 with finer linens and bedding, this is great for straights, as well. While few of the hotels advertise being gay-green, Handlery Union Square Hotel is also considered friendly to the cause.


Hotel Adagia, a 1927 landmark that's undergone a renovation, this 16 floor hotel has charm galore. Hotel Tomo isn't quite as luxurious as other spots, but it is affordable. It's also close to the Union Square activities and attractions.



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