Thornton State Beach

  • Address:
    Thornton State Beach
    Daly City, CA 94015



Thornton State Beach is a remote beach below tall bluffs just south of San Francisco. The park is known for the hiking and equestrian trails on the bluff terraces high above the waterline. Erosion has eaten away at the cliffs creating access problems to the beach below. The state has therefore closed the park to the general public. Now this property is operated by Daly City as Thornton Beach Vista, an overlook platform with views out over the Pacific. All around the vista are signs saying the area is unsafe and not to go beyond the cordoned off pavement.

However, there is still a safe route down. If you step over the cords and walk north to the Mar Vista Stables there are wide trails for horseback riders to make it down to the beach (about 3/4-mile from the parking lot). Hikers can do the same! Thornton Beach is best at low tides as during higher tides the entire beach can be wet. If you walk north on the beach you’ll be at Phillip Burton Beach and eventually get to the access at Fort Funston. Walking south the beach stretches with no access or exit until Mussel Rock Park. Bring a coat if you plan a trip down here as it can be windy, foggy, and cold.

The Thornton Beach Vista parking lot is at the west end of John Daly Boulevard at Skyline Boulevard (Hwy 35). Parking spaces are limited so get here early if possible.