Tucked deep within the woods of San Francisco's Golden Gate Recreation Area, lies a unique natural wonder you'd never expect to find in this sunny state. You can visit an actual black sand beach in California. It's a total dream and the coastline stretches over 20 miles long.

You may have thought that black sand exists only on the volcanic shores of Hawaii or a far away beach in Iceland. But that's what makes this spot so special.

Black Sands Beach is only a short drive away from San Francisco and tbh, it's total road trip goals. Whether you're looking to plan a BFF getaway or a romantic trip with your special someone, this is one spot you won't want to miss.

Since these NorCal shores are a little chilly, make sure to dress cozy and bring your camera for some sweet snaps. Chances are, you'll want to take lots of pictures for your travel memories. 

We're convinced heaven looks a little something like this.

To get there, you'll need to enter the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and drive south past the Marin Headlands.

A $10 entry fee for adults will get you into the park. So, if you fall in love and want to come back again the next day, you definitely can. 

After you park, you'll take an easy half-mile walk along Upper Fisherman's Trail. It will take you through a winding dirt pathway onto the beach. 

From the moment you reach the trailhead, you'll hear the soothing sound of crashing waves and see glimpses of the shores in the distance. 

While it's open year-round, the best time to visit is during the spring and summer when temperatures are a little warmer. 

Wondering what makes the sandy shore black?

The color of the sand is caused by natural minerals, which are rich in iron and heavier than regular grains of sand. Since the dark sand weighs more, it stays on the beach even when lighter grains are washed out to sea.

If you've been looking for a secluded hideaway, you won't find anything quite like this. Those seeking a little R&R will be happy to know that if you rise early, you could get a private beach experience. 

What makes this place even more magical is the vibrant contrast between the tall forest trees, rich black sand, and bright blue water. 

Since the tide is strong and the water's cold, this isn't a swimming beach. But there are plenty of beautiful places to explore and take in the magnificent coastal views. 

Pro Tip: Since the sand is soft and smooth, you can bring a blanket and pack a picnic. It's the cutest idea for a romantic getaway with your special someone. 

Since Black Sands Beach stretches for nearly four miles of the twenty-mile coastline, you can even take a romantic sunset walk along the strands. 

If you love hidden coves and unique getaways, this is one adventure you'll truly have to see to believe.

Black Sands Beach

Price: $10 entry per adult

Location: Black Sands Beach, Sausalito, CA

Why You Should Go: You can explore 3.5 miles of black sand beaches in California.


Editor's Note: Some consider Black Sands Beach clothing optional. 

* This article has been updated.

* The left cover photo was used for illustrative purposes only. 

We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.