Gray Whale Cove State Beach is a sheltered beach nestled in the cliffs of Devil’s Slide. It’s amazing that such a rugged beach exists so close to the concrete streets of San Francisco. The slopes of Montara Mountain rise abruptly from the ocean creating a very impressive backdrop. A steep road and then a very long flight of stairs leads down to the relatively small and skinny beach. The north end of the beach is widely recognized as “clothing optional” so beware if that is not your sort of thing. The parking area for the beach also serves as a trailhead for McNee Ranch State Park (part of Montara Beach) where paths and fireroads climb steeply up to 1,898 foot Montara Mountain with additional access to San Pedro Valley County Park.