8 of the best places to get photos with the Golden Gate Bridge

August 23, 2018

8 of the best places to get photos with the Golden Gate Bridge

UPDATED: 8 of the best places to get photos with the Golden Gate Bridge.

In this updated blog post I am sharing not just 3 but now 8 of the best places to get photos of or with the Golden Gate Bridge. I will be sharing how to find all 8 photo spots, where to park, the best time of day to get to them and photography examples of each location. I created fresh content for all eight best Golden Gate Bridge locations but some of the original photos from this blog post remain because even though I cringe at the edits it’s always fun to see the evolution of content creation.

These Golden Gate Bridge picture spots will have you travelling around San Francisco to appreciate it from eight spectacular locations at both north and south of the bridge but before I share them, let’s learn some facts about the Golden Gate Bridge.

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It might no longer be the tallest, or the longest but the Golden Gate Bridge is most definitely the most photographed bridge in the world. More than 10 million people come to visit Irving Morrow’s iconic structure each year and is it really any wonder why? With its 746ft tall towers, art deco style and unmistakable “International Orange” the Golden Gate Bridge is a triumph to be marvelled at.

Golden Gate Bridge was built over four years to connect San Francisco to Marin County which previously was reached by ferry boat. On May 28th 1937 the bridge was opened to traffic and as of January 2014, 2,025,883,491 vehicles have crossed the Golden Gate Bridge*.

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What’s truly magic about the Golden Gate Bridge is her relationship to the ever changing fog that rolls across the bay, sometimes concealing her entirely and often allowing only the very tops of her towers to peak through. No matter what time of year you visit you’re in for a treat.

I’ve picked these eight place to get photos with the Golden Gate Bridge because each one of these Golden Gate Bridge picture spots offers a completely different perspective of the bridge and none of the environments are the same. Of these eight Golden Gate Bridge photo spots Baker Beach offers views from far away, getting the whole bridge in the frame, Battery Spencer takes you up a mountain to look down on the bridge and the city and Fort Point and Moore Rd give you the opportunity to view the Golden Gate Bridge from underneath whilst looking out across the bay. The Welcome Center offers an educational experience, the Overlook lets you see the bridge towers head on and crossing the bridge gets you up close and personal with this masterpiece of engineering.

Here’s 8 of the best places to get photos with the Golden Gate Bridge:

1. Golden Gate Bridge photo spot: Baker Beach

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Baker Beach is a mile long public beach located Northwest of the city. It’s not safe for swimming due to large waves and rip currents but it’s popular for fishing and incredible views for pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s one of my favourite spots to take photos of and with the Golden Gate Bridge.

Baker Beach allows you to photograph the whole bridge from afar which can look pretty spectacular on both clear and foggy days.

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Postcards from Hawaii Travel & Lifestyle blog 8 OF THE BEST PLACES TO GET PHOTOS WITH THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, Golden Gate Bridge picture spot, Golden Gate Bridge photo spots, Golden Gate Bridge park, Baker Beach

You can easily do all 8 of these places to get photos with the Golden Gate Bridge over 2 days but if you’re going to do that, I suggest planning them all around Baker Beach as the best photo spot there is reliant on tide times. 

Check the tide times for Baker Beach in advance here. For anyone who is unsure of tide times, you want to arrive as close to low tide as possible, and avoid getting there around high tide. 

Parking at Baker Beach for photos of Golden Gate Bridge

There is a free beachfront car park/parking lot with an overflow at Baker Beach. Continue past the overflow and down to the beach front to get the closest spaces to the beach. Please don’t leave any belongings visible in your car, San Fran is notorious for car break-ins so lock it away or keep it on you. Be wary of visibly moving valuables to a safe space in your car as thieves may be watching.

How to get to Golden Gate Bridge photo spot on Baker Beach

If you’re facing the beach, the entrance to Baker Beach is in the right hand corner of the car park. Once you’re on the beach turn right and keep walking towards the Golden Gate Bridge until you reach the rocks that prevent you from going further, this will take about 15mins. As you’ve planned to be there around low tide, you will be able to walk around the left of the first set of rocks. Climb up the second set of rocks from the right hand side, you want to be standing along the third ridge on the far left. Please be careful and wear shoes with good grip and be sensible when climbing these rocks. They’re not very high, but you don’t want to slip.

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To get to the Golden Gate Bridge photo spot where I was for these images, you want to walk between the rocks. Just be careful not to damage any of the marine life attached to the rocks on either side. Once you’re through to the other side it is here that you’ll be able to stand in the sand with an unobstructed view of the bridge. This is my personal favourite place to take photos with the Golden Gate Bridge on my list.

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FYI the far end of the beach, near the rocks, is the nudist section so be respectful of the people’s choice to go au naturel as you make your way to the rocks.

2. Golden Gate Bridge photo spot: Fort Point

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Fort Point was built between 1853 and 1861 with the means to protect and defend San Francisco Bay. It has survived the Gold Rush, earthquakes, Civil War and World War II and even escaped demolition in 1930 before the original plans to build the Golden Gate Bridge changed to build around the fort rather than in place of it. These days this ideal spot for taking photos of the Golden Gate Bridge is a museum which is only open Friday – Sunday 10:00am-5:00pm.

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Parking at Fort Point for photos of Golden Gate Bridge

There are free parking spaces all along the waterfront leading up to Fort Point. For the best angles of Golden Gate Bridge aim to park in the second from last section of parking spaces. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t, it just saves you from having to walk there. 

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How to get to Golden Gate Bridge photo spot at Fort Point

To get the this amazing and super easy location to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge, all you have to do is step over the chain railing that’s in front of the parking bays to the edge of the promenade and you’ve got the perfect spot anywhere along there, depending on how much of the bridge you want in. The closer you get to Fort Point the less you will capture as you are underneath it, but if you want the whole bridge in, position yourself in front of the parking spaces I just mentioned.

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Postcards from Hawaii Travel & Lifestyle blog 8 OF THE BEST PLACES TO GET PHOTOS WITH THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, Golden Gate Bridge picture spot, Golden Gate Bridge photo spots, Golden Gate Bridge park, Fort Point

Oh boy, these old edits are really quite something, aren’t they?

3. Golden Gate Bridge photo spot: Battery Spencer

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Just like Fort Point, Battery Spencer was another area of defence for San Francisco bay and harbour. Though the buildings are in poor shape as they were scrapped for anything that could contribute to World War II, you can still walk around them and see where the 12” guns would have been manned. 

Battery Spencer is the most breathtaking Golden Gate Bridge picture spot on this list. From up here you can gaze down at the bridge with the San Francisco city skyline as a backdrop.

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Parking at Battery Spencer for photos of Golden Gate Bridge​

Parking at Battery Spencer for views of the Golden Gate Bridge is free but limited. The best parking is right outside the park entrance but it’s hard to tell if there will be empty spaces at the top as you’re going up, so I suggest parking when you see a space then walk up to the park entrance from there.

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How to get to Golden Gate Bridge photo spot at Battery Spencer

From the entrance of Battery Park walk up the path until it opens out at the edge of the cliff. There’s no one monitoring the area so it is possible to get photos on the other side of the rope, but of course this is at your own risk.

PFH Top Tip: It’s incredibly windy up there so make sure you don’t wear anything that can blow away and maybe tie your hair up if you don’t want it looking unruly in photos.

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4. Golden Gate Bridge photo spot: Golden Gate Overlook

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This top location for taking photos of or with the Golden Gate Bridge is called the “Golden Gate Overlook” which makes finding it without a guide like this list of best places to take photos with the Golden Gate Bridge pretty difficult. It took us quite a while to find the place between the trees so I could share it with you but once we did, it didn’t disappoint. 

Before making my third trip to San Francisco so that I could update this list of best Golden Gate photo spots, my favourite place to take photos of the bridge was from Baker Beach but it is now tied with the Golden Gate Overlook.

What the Golden Gate Overlook has over the others on this list is that you can photograph the bridge from head on, lining up the towers behind one another to look straight through them.

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When photographed with a lens that offers you a narrow field of view or shallow depth of field, the Golden Gate Overlook has the potential to elevate your content to a cinematic and so beautifully dramatic level. When I shared the difference between taking photos at the Golden Gate Overlook on our Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS zoom lens at 25mm and 233mm on my Instagram Stories I had a lot of people in disbelief that it was the same place.

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Not long before publishing this update I saw a viral Reel that claimed to show you an iPhone hack that delivers this shallow depth of field result on your phone but then uses photographs taken with a professional camera as the end result. They did put a disclaimer in the caption but it does concern me how misleading it is, so I wanted to be super transparent about our exact camera equipment and focal length for how we achieved these photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge. If you want cinematic results like this then you can’t expect to achieve the same quality with a phone camera.

We visited the Golden Gate Overlook for photos twice to take these photos and both times we went between 8-10am in July and we were the only people there. Don’t bank on it always being this quiet though so I do recommend going early on a weekday if you want a clear shot without the pressure of onlookers or other photographers and content creators.

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Parking for photos at the Golden Gate Overlook

The closest parking lot to the Golden Gate Overlook is Langdon Court Parking and it’s right next to this Golden Gate Bridge photo spot. 

Parking at Langdon Court Parking is free.

The address for parking at this Golden Gate picture spot here is Langdon Ct, San Francisco, CA 94129, United States.

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How to get to Golden Gate Overlook photo spot

From Langdon Court parking lot, walk though the trees towards the bridge to the steps located in the middle of a concrete circle wall.

5. Golden Gate Bridge photo spot: Moore Road

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Postcards from Hawaii Travel & Lifestyle blog 8 OF THE BEST PLACES TO GET PHOTOS WITH THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, Gabriella Wisdom, Golden Gate Bridge picture spot, Golden Gate Bridge photo spots, Golden Gate Bridge park, San Francisco, Moore Road

Like Battery Spencer, number 3 on this list, Moore Road allows you to view the Golden Gate Bridge from the north end of the bridge. Moore Rd takes you to the other side of the bridge though and gives you the opportunity to view and photograph it from below rather than over the top.

Moore Rd is a much quieter spot than all the others so you don’t need to arrive early to this best place to take photos of the Golden Gate Bridge in order to avoid crowds.

There’s a little concrete platform that juts out at the water’s edge that creates an ideal spot to stand for photos of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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How to get to Golden Gate Bridge photo spot on Moore Road and where to park

Moore Road is located in Sausalito at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Take exit 442 and make a left onto Alexander Ave until it turns into Conzelman Rd. Keep left when Conzelman Rd forks and take it until it joins Moore Rd. Make a right onto Moore Rd and when you’re there you can park up onto the side of the road where it’s wide enough to let other cars pass you.

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6. Golden Gate Bridge photo spot: Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center

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The Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center is more than just a best photo location for the bridge. Here is where you’ll find an exhibition on the history of the bridge, a gift shop selling GGB themed memorabilia, the Round House which holds Equator Coffees coffee shop, true size replicas and artefacts from the bridge’s construction and it’s where you can start your walk across the bridge. See more below in 7 and 8 about crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Visit Equator Coffees in the Round House for the opportunity to sip coffee with a pretty incredible view of the Golden Gate Bridge. I really admire that someone made the decision to put a coffee roaster like Equator Coffees in the Round House. They could have just sold over priced drip coffee like so many popular tourist locations but someone made the right call to serve high quality coffee and it really does elevate the experience.

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Pretty much everywhere around the Welcome Center offers great views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center is open daily from 9am – 6pm except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

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Parking at Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center for photos of Golden Gate Bridge

There is a parking lot at the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center but there are limited spaces. There are only 26 general, 6 bus and 3 accessible spaces available so try to arrive early if you’re visiting during peak times of the year.

Parking is charged at 25¢ per 15mins and there’s a 2 hour limit.

Heads up, Golden Gate Bridge parking lots are closed on weekends and holidays between 11am – 5pm. Keep up to date with the parking lot closures here.

Alternative parking that’s free for visiting the Welcome Center or to walk on the Golden Gate Bridge is Fort Point. Park in one of the bays on the waterfront and take the path up the slope to the Golden Gate Bridge Visitor Center. It’s a steep but short walk to the top and will save you from having to rush to get everything done in the 2 hour time limit for parking at the Welcome Center.

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How to get to Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center

The Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center is located in Presidio of San Francisco on the US Highway 101. The address is, Golden Gate Bridge, Coastal Trail, San Francisco, CA 94129, United States.

Golden Gate Transit bus routes 101, 130 and 150 all go from downtown San Francisco or Union Square and stop at the Golden Gate Bridge Visitor Center. Check the GGT bus schedules here. 

7. Golden Gate Bridge photo spot: On the Golden Gate Bridge - pedestrian or cyclist

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Unless you’re scared of heights (guilty) the most exciting way to experience the Golden Gate Bridge is on the Golden Gate Bridge. Every other Golden Gate picture spot on this list allows you to view the bridge from further away so you can get more of this magnificent landmark into your Golden Gate Bridge photo. 

Experiencing the Golden Gate Bridge up close allows you to truly appreciate what an incredible accomplishment of engineering it is, not to mention humbles you as you imagine how brave the people were/are who built and work on the bridge. 

Walking or cycling on the Golden Gate Bridge also gives you a beautiful vantage point to take photos looking back at downtown San Francisco. 

The walk across the Golden Gate Bridge one way is 1.7 miles long and will take approximately 30 minutes if you’re not stopping to take photos. 

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We used our 90mm Leica lens for photos of me with the Golden Gate Bridge and for photos of the city.

PFH Top Tip for visiting Golden Gate Bridge: even on a warm day in San Francisco it is still cold and windy up on the bridge. Don’t forget the Golden Gate Bridge is suspended 67m in the air so expect a strong wind and dress appropriately. Avoid anything that can blow away and bring a warm layer.

For an even more immersive experience of visiting the Golden Gate Bridge sign up for a FREE walking tour with San Francisco City Tours which sets off every Thursday and Sunday at 11am.

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Parking for photos on the Golden Gate Bridge

The best place to park to walk on the Golden Gate Bridge is the parking lot at the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center. There are only 26 general, 6 bus and 3 accessible spaces so try to arrive early.

Parking at the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center is 25¢ per 15mins and there’s a 2 hour limit.

Golden Gate Bridge parking lots are closed on weekends and holidays between 11am – 5pm. Keep up to date with the parking lot closures here.

See alternative and free parking advice for walking across the Golden Gate Bridge under Parking at Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center for photos of Golden Gate Bridge in the 6th best Golden Gate Bridge photo spot in this list.

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How to get onto the Golden Gate Bridge for photos

From the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center (see number six on this list to see how to get here) walk towards the bridge and take the sidewalk/pavement behind the Round House (Equator Coffees) that runs parallel to the road. This sidewalk/pavement leads directly onto the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Be mindful of cyclists – and other pedestrians – on the bridge when you take your photos with the Golden Gate Bridge. Even on a sunny afternoon we were able to wait for breaks in the crowd, try not to block people from getting past.

8. Golden Gate Bridge photo spot: On the Golden Gate Bridge - by vehicle

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As I was only with my fiancé who was driving I could only get a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge rather than with it, as this blog post title suggests. I wanted to include this extra point though as taking a photo as a passenger of the Golden Gate Bridge has the potential to be a unique photo. Also when I originally published this blog post it was very much during a time when travel bloggers believed they had to be in every photo in order to succeed.

Set yourself up to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge in the wing mirror for some great road trip content or B-roll for a Reel/TikTok.

How to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge for photos

If you are travelling southbound into San Francisco then there is a toll to pay. To reduce traffic Golden Gate Bridge no longer accepts toll fees on the bridge. To pay your toll you can either use FasTrak, a license plate account, pay a toll invoice or do a one-time payment. Payment can be taken online, over the phone or in person in select locations.

More information about the cost and how to pay the Golden Gate Bridge toll fee can be found here.

If you are driving north across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco then you don’t need to pay the toll to cross.

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There you have it, 8 of the best places to get photos with the Golden Gate Bridge.

If photos of or with iconic landmarks is something that thrills you then you may be interested in one of my other popular blog posts, Best locations to photograph Tower Bridge.

Do more on & for the planet, Gabriella

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