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10 Best Beaches near Sacramento – Top Choices 10 Mins to 2 Hours Away

We picked the best beaches near Sacramento to cool off in with options that are within the city, around Lake Tahoe, or on the Pacific Ocean to satisfy everyone’s tastes.

Sacramento is truly blessed to be located close by so many major outdoor attractions, so finding a top beachfront nearby is not so difficult. For this reason, Sacramento also ranks as one of the best cities to live in California. But, the number of choices can be overwhelming, so this list will help you to focus your decision for your next beach adventure.

We also made sure to limit the distance of our choices of beaches near Sacramento to about a 2 hour drive or less from downtown Sacramento so that they are all easy to access for just a day-trip.

One final note – we ranked these beaches in order of their distance from Sacramento and not on their quality. You can be confident that they all offer top-notch experiences with great sand and clean water.

10 Closest Beaches near Sacramento in 2022

10. Commons Beach, North Lake Tahoe

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Miles from Sacramento: 113 miles
Driving Time from Sacramento: 2 hours
Location: Check on Google Maps

Part beach and part picnic area, the Tahoe City Commons Beach offers more than just a day on the sand. There is also a well-sized barbecue area that gives you the ability to bring more than just sandwiches for your day out.

Commons Beach is right in downtown Tahoe City, making the beach accessible to a variety of shops as well as eateries for when you don’t feel like bringing your own food.

The annual Concert at Commons Beach series runs between June and early September, and the free access to it makes this truly one of the best beaches near Sacramento.

9. Pope Beach, South Lake Tahoe

Miles from Sacramento: 103 miles
Driving Time from Sacramento: 2 hours
Location: Check on Google Maps

Despite being on Lake Tahoe rather than the Pacific Ocean, Pope Beach at South Lake Tahoe is one of the more traditional beaches near Sacramento.

The sands of Pope Beach are warm and light, and the three-quarter mile sandy stretch is sandwiched between the clear, turquoise waters on one side and the tall pine trees of Tahoe on the other.

If you are planning on visiting Pope Beach, remember that there is a $10 fee for entry and dogs are not allowed. Also note that if you are planning on having a barbecue, charcoal grills are not allowed either.

8. Montara State Beach, Montara

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Miles from Sacramento: 106 miles
Driving Time from Sacramento: 2 hours
Location: Check on Google Maps

Montara State Beach is the first of the beaches near Sacramento on this list located in the Bay Area.

It offers a host of activities away from the water in addition to the beach itself.

The Santa Cruz Mountains stretch into Montara State Beach, with Montara Mountain the focal point of this coastal mountain town.

The sandy part of the beach is very wide, and the waters are popular among surfers, windsurfers, and fishermen.

7. Pacifica State Beach, Pacifica

Miles from Sacramento: 102 miles
Driving Time from Sacramento: 2 hours
Location: Check on Google Maps

Pacifica State Beach – or, as it’s known to locals, Linda Mar Beach – is one of the most popular surfing destinations in San Mateo County. It is also about 20 minutes south of San Francisco.

Pacifica State Beach is one of the wider and more spacious of the beaches near Sacramento, making it a good destination for visitors who want to avoid a crowd.

There is even a Taco Bell that is conveniently located right on the beach, but if you cross the road, the Linda Mar Shopping Center is a stone’s throw away, offering a variety of outlets to eat or shop at.

6. Ocean Beach, San Francisco

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Miles from Sacramento: 97 miles
Driving Time from Sacramento: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

Another prime surfing destination is Ocean Beach in San Francisco. It also holds the distinction of being one of the few beaches near Sacramento where you are not recommended to swim due to the strong currents and heavy surf.

Other than simply enjoying the scenery, there is a lot to do around Ocean Beach, with it lying adjacent to the gorgeous Golden Gate Park.

The south end of Ocean Beach also sits adjacent to the famed San Francisco Zoo, where you can see over 2,000 animals.

If neither of those options appeal to you, Ocean Beach effectively separates the city of San Francisco from the Pacific Ocean, so you can find plenty of shops to browse or places to grab a bite from just across the road.

5. Rodeo Beach, Marin County

Miles from Sacramento: 97 miles
Driving Time from Sacramento: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

With its coarse pebbles, Rodeo Beach may have some of the less hospitable sands of the beaches near Sacramento, but it is nonetheless a popular destination for many other reasons.

The lagoon at Rodeo Beach is one of its most striking attractions since it is not always connected to the ocean, being separated by the sand bar that makes up some of the beach.

Beach goers with an interest in history can visit the adjacent Fort Cronkhite, which itself hosts the Marine Mammal Center, the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, and the Headlands Center for the Arts, among others.

4. Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach, Alameda

Miles from Sacramento: 85 miles
Driving Time from Sacramento: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda boasts a stunning view of San Francisco across the bay and is the closest of the beaches near Sacramento that are outside of the Greater Sacramento area.

Although entry to the beach is free, parking is not, and there is also a fee of $2 for bringing dogs onto the park. Note that even with the fee, dogs are not allowed on the beach itself.

Because of the bay’s geography, the water at Crown Beach is both shallow and warm, making it ideal for less confident or younger swimmers. There are also changing rooms available, but just note that there are no lifeguards.

3. Granite Bay Main Beach, Granite Bay

Miles from Sacramento: 25 miles
Driving Time from Sacramento: 40 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

A popular summer destination for locals, Granite Bay Main Beach is located on the west side of Folsom Lake, accessible through Douglas Boulevard just 25 miles east of Sacramento.

Entry is not free, but there is plenty of parking around the lake, and the lake is a great destination for both swimming and boating.

Because of the size of the park that the beach is in, there is also a wide variety of activities to enjoy, including overnight camping, picnicking, and even horseback riding.

2. Paradise Beach, Sacramento

Miles from Sacramento: 5 miles
Driving Time from Sacramento: 15 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

Paradise Beach is located on the inside of a bend of the American River, just north of California State University in Sacramento. Although the sandy part of the beach isn’t huge, the water is good for swimming and fishing.

Adjacent to Paradise Beach is Glenn Hall Park, which also offers a whole host of amenities, including parking, a baseball field, a soccer field, and tennis courts, among others.

The Glenn Hall Pool, which is part of the aforementioned park and sits right alongside Paradise Beach, offers a place to swim in a more controlled environment and even can provide swimming lessons.

1. Sand Cove Park, Sacramento

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Miles from Sacramento: 5 miles
Driving Time from Sacramento: 10 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

Sand Cove Park is located on the north shore of the Sacramento River, directly to the east of I-80 and accessible via Garden Highway. It is also one of the closest beaches to downtown Sacramento.

While this is one of the smallest beaches near Sacramento, it is popular among the locals and tends to get quite crowded during the summer months. Arriving as early in the day as possible is advised to ensure a parking spot.

The nature park is bigger than the sandy part of the beach, making it ideal for picnics or get-togethers with large groups of friends or families.

Best Beaches near Sacramento – Summary

We hope that this list of the best and closest beaches near Sacramento has given you some insights on where you can relax by the water at any moment’s notice.

It is even nice to see that Sacramento itself has some sandy areas by the river that can provide you with the joys of the beachlife during those hot summer days.

It is also good to know that you can venture off in either direction away from the city and find excellent beaches to the east in Lake Tahoe or to the west on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.