Swimming in Foster City? Definitely yes! Here one of the few places around San Francisco Bay where you can find nice sand swimming beaches, often sheltered and quiet. The water near these beaches is some of the cleanest in the Bay area as well. For our beach suggestions see the list below and swimming beaches map.
Several of these beaches are just right for visiting with friends or some kids. There is usually plenty of green manicured grass and clean white sand; many have childrens’ playgrounds nearby as well. We like the smaller parks, like Marlin Park, because they are more private and are often in sheltered coves where there is less breeze. They are the perfect place for a summer picnic.
For serious outdoor swimmers you are allowed to swim across Central Lake in Leo Ryan Park. We have enjoyed this venture several times. Central Lake is usually breezier than the smaller coves and be sure to watch out for watercraft.
Water temperature varies during the year and is generally related to the air temperature. Water quality is regularly tested by the County Health Department. The lagoon is salt water and the Foster City frequently flushes the entire body of water into SF Bay to keep it cleaner. Another thing you may notice is that, from April to October when aquatic plants are growing, lagoon waters can sometimes look unusually blue. The city has colored it with an organic blue dye that reduces deep penetration of ultra violet light thus slowing the growth of entangling sea weeds.
Here is a list of various parks with a beach for swimming. There are also several other places where you could hop into the water if you wish. See our best swimming beaches map showing these locations.
- Leo J Ryan Park – On the west side of Central Lake (see lagoon map) there is a very small sand beach with benches. We have taken off from this location several times for a swim across the lake to the windsurfing building.
- Marlin Park – A nice smaller park (3.13 acre). Has a calm sandy beach for swimming.
- Gull Park – A smaller park (3.14 acre) with nice grass and a sandy beach for swimming. Erckenbrack Park due south across the canal is similar.
- Parkside Aquatic Park – Across Seal Slough in the city of San Mateo (see Marina Lagoon rules). Here is a bigger swimming beach, playground and boat launch ramp. Can get crowded in the summer. Good for long swims.
- Catamaran Park – Has a very marginal beach area and other facilities including an active soccer field and basketball court. One of the busier parks in town.
- Bay Trail Beaches – The SF Bay Trail on the Bay side of Foster City often has paths down from it to small beaches along the way, e.g., north of San Mateo Bridge. They overlook the Bay and are usually rough and often windy. Also, they are not for swimming.
- Indoor Swimming – The Peninsula Jewish Community Center, PJCC, has Foster City’s only indoor pool as well as an 8-lane outdoor pool for lap swimming. You do have to be a member to use them..