Having been born and raised in the Bay Area, I have had years to scope out the best locations for family photos in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. While some locations are worth a bit of adventure or a long drive to get to, some are right in your backyard and you might not even know it! Wondering where these might be, or where you’re going to find the time to go location scouting with your busy schedule? Look no further, I am going to take you through a list of my personal favorite locations for family photos in the SF Bay Area, from the city to the peninsula… starting with my favorite beach location in San Francisco!
First up… A lovely coast spot in the city
I LOVE Crissy Field East Beach in San Francisco for family photos. First of all, it is very easily accessible from the parking lot – no cliffs or crazy trails required. This also means that you don’t have to worry as much about your kids getting sandy or cold, because it is a short easy walk back to the warm car and clean clothes. It even has public restrooms with running water. Second, it has a wonderful variety of backdrops ranging from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz, clusters of trees and rocks, as well as the ever-loved simple beach view of sand and ocean behind you.
Next up… A beautiful spot in Palo Alto
Remember when I said some locations would be right in your backyard? This is one of those spots, with beautiful rolling hills and changing foliage throughout the year, right in the heart of the Silicon Valley in Palo Alto.
Arastradero Preserve is hands down my favorite location to shoot that I always recommend to my families. With plenty of space for kids to run around (and dogs), this beautiful bay area location is the perfect spot to capture those playful, candid moments with your family.
Book your session at Arastradero Preserve!
Another hidden gem… in San Jose!
Almost every time I bring a family here they never knew that it existed! And, the kids always love it. At Alviso Marina, there are boardwalks as well as dirt paths that go through the marshes and lots of different birds to see in the area. And of course the number one thing we photographers look for in a family photoshoot location – variety of backgrounds!
And now… a quaint redwood grove in Los Altos
Los Altos Redwood Grove is an excellent spot to choose for your family photos especially if you have young children. It is just a short walk down a path from parking, and the entire grove is relatively small. Despite its size however, there are many different spots to take photos offering a variety of backgrounds! There is a wooden boardwalk that winds within the grove as well as a short paved trail along the outside.
Last but not least… An iconic San Francisco location
Sutro Baths is an iconic location in San Francisco with good reason. Starting at the parking lot, you follow a trail down to the baths by the beach at the bottom. There are many places to stop along the trail with stunning views of the coast and greenery. If you decide to walk on the baths, make sure to be careful and help your little ones walk safely. If you aren’t comfortable walking on the baths, don’t fret! There are plenty of amazing family photo opportunities without walking on the actual baths as you can see in my examples below, so no worries if you aren’t comfortable with that area. If you continue all the way down, you can also access a small beach with gorgeous ocean views!
Like what you see? Contact me to book your bay area family photo session. I can’t wait to work with you!