Vestiges of Ocean Beach

historic postcard showing long, crowded beach with amusement park buildings in the background
Historic postcard showing view of Ocean Beach from the Cliff House (postcard circa 1916)



Ocean Beach, the five mile long stretch of shoreline south of the Cliff House, has been a destination for San Franciscans and visitors since the 1850s. Ocean Beach became even more popular with the advent of public transportation and new roads provided an easy way from downtown over the vast sand dunes that once covered the Richmond and Sunset districts.

The Great Highway, now a standard four-lane city street, runs the length of Ocean Beach. Over the years, various establishments lined the Great Highway, providing food, entertainment, lodging, and public safety for visitors to Ocean Beach. Many of these famous enterprises, including Chutes at the Beach, Playland at the Beach, the Seal Rock House, Ocean Beach Pavilion, Cycler’s Rest, and Topsy’s Roost, were removed and replaced by large residential complexes.

Although the built landscape has changed over the years, Ocean Beach still offers the same surfing, swimming, bicycling, and spectacular ocean views that have attracted visitors for nearly two centuries.


To learn about other Lands End vestiges and stories, please visit the main Vestiges of Lands End page.

To learn more about visiting this part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, please visit the Lands End Plan Your Visit page.

To learn more about the park's rich history, please visit the History & Culture page.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022


(415) 561-4700

Contact Us