California Idioms, Expressions, Vocabulary International Student Life San Francisco The Bay Area

San Francisco’s Best Beaches + California/Summer Beach Slang

August 23, 2017

San Francisco is known for its famous Golden Gate Bridge, but the waters underneath it are just as exciting. Are you studying English in the Bay Area? While you are here, be sure to visit San Francisco’s best beaches. Perhaps you can use some of this California and summer beach slang while you and your friends are hanging out!

San Francisco’s Best Beaches

San Francisco’s Best Beaches + California/Summer Beach Slang

Baker Beach

About Baker Beach: Baker Beach begins at Golden Gate Point, which is where the Golden Gate Bridge connects to the land of the San Francisco peninsula. The beach has an interesting history: it is a part of the Presidio, which was a military base for Spain (and then for the U.S.) from 1812 to 1997. The beach was the original location of the famous festival, Burning Man, from 1986 to 1990. Today, the beach is a part of the large Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes parks, beaches, and hiking trails.

What to do: Bring your own food to have a BBQ (there are some public grills), picnic, hike along the coast and see some of the military bunkers, enjoy the water and waves, and take photos with the Pacific Ocean and the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge in the background!

San Francisco’s Best Beaches + California/Summer Beach Slang

China Beach

About China Beach: China Beach is known as the “hidden gem” of San Francisco. The beach is in the Sea Cliff neighborhood and provides the most beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the beach. The beach is named for the Chinese fishermen who camped on the beach during the Gold Rush and provided fish for the city.

What to do: Picnic, fish, enjoy the waves, listen to music (there are often musicians playing the guitar), look for starfish that are visible when the tide is low, and enjoy this quieter, more isolated beach.

San Francisco’s Best Beaches + California/Summer Beach Slang

Mile Rock Beach at Lands End

About Mile Rock Beach: Mile Rock Beach is a part of the Lands End Trail that goes along the coast. A trip to this beach can be a part of a longer day of hiking along the Lands End Trail, which takes visitors past many sights. Be sure to bring comfortable shoes: there are 100 steps to get to the beach!

What to do: Hike the Lands End Trail and enjoy the stunning views from the cliffs, picnic at Lands End Point, walk the stone labyrinth, watch the Bay’s humpback whales jumping out of the water during the summer months, and look for shipwrecks when the tide is low.

San Francisco’s Best Beaches + California/Summer Beach Slang

Ocean Beach

About Ocean Beach: Ocean Beach is next to Golden Gate Park and is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The beach is famous for its strong waves, which makes it a popular location for surfing.

What to do: Watch the surfers, have a beach bonfire with friends, visit the Cliff House for a delicious meal with a view, and explore the remains of the once-famous Sutro Baths and learn about its history and importance to San Francisco.

San Francisco’s Best Beaches + California/Summer Beach Slang

California/Summer Beach Slang

Before you go to the beach, make sure you know these slang words. You will sound like a local while you enjoy some of the locals’ favorite beach locations!

Beach bum

Definition: A person who goes to the beach and is lazy. (“Bum” is slang for “lazy person” in California.)

Example: Let’s be beach bums on Saturday.

Catching rays

Definition: To sunbathe; to become tan.

Example: You look tan. Did you catch some rays this weekend?

Chill/chill out

Definition: To relax.

Example: I’m chilling out at Ocean Beach. Would you like to join me?

Lounging around

Definition: To relax.

Example: We were lounging around on the beach, and suddenly a seagull tried to steal our food!

Soak up (the sun)

Definition: To sunbathe; to become tan.

Example: I am trying to soak up some sun before the winter comes.

Sun lover/sun worshiper

Definition: A person who loves to sunbathe.

Example: I didn’t think I was a sun lover . . . but then I moved to California!


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