Tennessee Beach is located on the west side of the Marin Headlands in San Francisco’s Marin County. It is named after the SS Tennessee, a ship which ran aground here in 1853 while trying to enter Golden Gate Bay. Though all 500 passengers on board escaped, its iron carcass can still be seen during the lowest tides of the month.
Only twenty minutes by road from downtown San Francisco, the beach is surrounded by a U of high rocks and land that is lush with vegetation, particularly during the spring. It is comprised of dark sand the colour of demerara sugar, and though wide, it is also relatively short.
Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Tennessee Beach can only be accessed via a two-mile walking path from the Tennessee Valley trailhead. Although the beach used to be home to a natural rock arch, this collapsed in storms during the winter of 2012, demonstrating the power of the waves along this stretch of California’s Pacific coast.
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