Best Golden Gate Bridge Proposal Locations
So you’ve decided to pop the question, and you want the Golden Gate Bridge as the backdrop for that big moment when you get engaged. Perhaps you’re visiting San Francisco and want one of the most iconic SF landmarks in your photos, or perhaps you’ve lived here all your life — and what better to symbolize that than the most “San Francisco” of all San Francisco things?
Well… you can’t really propose on the bridge and get a good view of it, so where are the best Golden Gate Bridge proposal locations? Annie and I have had the honor to photograph 400+ surprise proposals in the San Francisco Bay Area, with about half of those around the GGB, so we’re very familiar with the pros and cons of each location.
But before I begin, one big word of advice: fog. San Francisco is famous for its fog, which we affectionately (or maybe not-so-affectionately) call Karl the Fog. Karl visits most often during the summer months of July and August (aka Fogust), but he usually sticks to the seas during other seasons. On foggy days, the Golden Gate Bridge is particularly affected since it’s the inlet to the Bay, and the fog can be so thick that the bridge isn’t visible at all. Importantly, when it’s foggy, it does not matter which location you pick — the GGB will be covered from any vantage point (with one exception, which I’ll get to below). If you hire us to photograph your proposal during the summer months, we’ll talk through it with you and will have a fallback plan in place, but if you go it alone, be sure to keep an eye on the weather.
Without further ado, here are our top picks!
Top 10 spots for a Golden Gate Bridge proposal
1. Batteries to Bluffs Trail
This location is great for engagement photos, since you can take photos all along the trail and then end up on the beach down below for some fun beach shots. It’s also perfect for a proposal since the trail is usually quite empty, allowing you a nice, quiet place to enjoy a relaxing hike and a special moment together. Parking can be rough, so in non-covid times, it’s best to catch a ride and get dropped off at the trailhead. Note also that cell coverage is often spotty, so don’t rely on being able to communicate once you’re there.
2. Slackers Hill
Slackers Hill is the tallest of the hills immediately north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and as a result it has a sweeping view of the Bay Area, including the City of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and everything around it (even the Bay Bridge and Oakland). At sunrise or sunset, this view really can’t be beat. And best of all, it’s very secluded and quiet. It’s usually completely empty when we go up here.
Its many pros do come with one big con though — “Slackers Hill” was probably named by the same jokesters who named Greenland Greenland; it’s definitely not for slackers. The hike isn’t long by any means, taking about 15-20 mins to go the half-mile to the top, but it’s quite steep and very tiring. I brought my sister here once and she remarked to me (halfway up the hill, panting between words), “If my boyfriend brought me here to propose, I would tell him no and make him do it again somewhere else.” So don’t choose this spot unless you both enjoy hiking, and definitely wear comfortable shoes.
Oh, and this hill is the exception to the rule that fog blocks every vantage point equally — though you still usually can’t escape the fog here, in some rare instances, Slackers Hill can be higher than the fog, creating a really cool view from up above. Check out Austin & Jessi’s proposal for an example.
3. Kirby Cove
As the name suggests, Kirby Cove is nestled into the bottom of some hills/mountains along the Marin Headlands. It’s relatively empty/quiet compared to other nearby beaches with a bridge view, but does require about a 15-minute walk down from the main road. One important thing to note here is that due to its location, there are chunks of the day (depending on the time of year) when it’s half-shaded, and those times are best avoided for photos.
4. Battery Spencer
If you’re looking for a very easy-to-reach (no hiking) spot with an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge, then Battery Spencer is your friend. As you’re driving north on the bridge (leaving San Francisco), you’ll see Battery Spencer atop the cliffs on your left-hand side. Because of its height and proximity to the bridge, it provides a unique, up-close angle that’s definitely at least worth a visit if you’ve never been.
The main downsides are the crowds and that pesky railing. On a good day, this spot can be pretty crowded, so it’s not as private as some other places. You’ll see that Kyle (pictured above) stepped past the railing; I generally prefer having the railing behind so it doesn’t block you in the photos, but either way I find it a tad distracting. Still, its view and ease of access make this an ever-popular choice.
5. Crissy Field
Crissy Field is an open space full of people walking, jogging, biking, picnicking, and doing pretty much anything else you can do outdoors. Though it’s not empty by any means, the large space means it rarely feels crowded. It’s right on the waters of the SF Bay, has a small sandy beach, and provides a great view of the bridge. Parking here is easy and convenient, and it’s a great place to enjoy an afternoon breeze together.
6. Marshall’s Beach Lookout
There are a few spots near Marshall’s Beach with a good Golden Gate Bridge backdrop. This one is only a few minutes’ walk from the nearest parking lot. You get a nice, clear view of the bridge at an almost head-on angle, which is a little different than the other spots. Because these lookouts are easily accessible, there are likely to be other people in the area also enjoying the view; on the other hand, turnover is high (people don’t tend to stick around here for a long time), so you might want to time your walk so that you get there when there’s an opening in the crowd.
7. Baker Beach
Baker Beach is one of our most popular proposal locations, and it’s easy to see why: it’s a pretty photogenic beach, conveniently located within San Francisco, and is the most easily-accessible of any major beach, with its parking lot located less than a one minute walk from the sand.
One bit of heads-up: Baker Beach does have nudists, and you’re likely to see a few if it’s a warm day. They typically hang out (literally) on the north end, the end closest to the GGB and farthest from the parking lot, so if you don’t walk too far you’ll probably miss them. Click into Erroll & Erikamarie’s proposal photos above to see a nudist photobombing their mini-engagement session after she said yes.
We’ve done proposals here under all kinds of skies, but I chose a lightly foggy one for this page because I’ve already shown you too many clear/sunny skies, and I don’t want to give the false impression that San Francisco is always sunny. But hey, a good Baker Beach sunset proposal, or even a mid-day picnic, is pretty nice too.
8. Marshall’s Beach
Marshall’s Beach is Baker Beach’s slightly lesser-known cousin. It’s adjacent to and immediately north of Baker Beach, so it’s closer to the bridge and the bridge will appear bigger, but otherwise the view is similar. One of the biggest differences is that it takes about 10-15 minutes to hike from the main road down to the beach (it’s an easy hike though); as a result, Marshall’s Beach is also much, much emptier and more private.
Two things to note: during high tide, the beach is inaccessible as it’ll be mostly submerged except the rocky area; and like with Baker Beach, you may encounter nudists here.
9. The Lookout Above Battery Spencer
I don’t actually know if this place has a name, so I’m going to name it The Lookout Above Battery Spencer since that’s what it is. If you walk up the road about 3 minutes from Battery Spencer, the next lookout offers a similar-ish view but usually has fewer people. Step past the rope barrier and walk down the hill a bit (careful, it’s steep), and you’ll be rewarded with the nice view seen in the photo above of Mike & Linda.
10. Land’s End Labyrinth
The Land’s End Labyrinth is an interesting maze of concentric circles tucked away near the Land’s End Trail. It’s not usually thought of as a typical Golden Gate Bridge point, but it does have a pretty good view, and the labyrinth adds some points for being interesting.
The Labyrinth is about a 10-minute hike from the nearest parking area, and the path is not immediately obvious, so make sure you’re familiar with the trail and/or have the path marked on your GPS app of choice. You should wear comfortable shoes, though the hike is mostly an easy one.
Looking for more ideas?
The list of locations on this page only include ones with a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge. You might also want to check out my favorite non-GGB San Francisco proposal spots.