Golden Gate National Recreation Area, 5200 Coast Highway, Pacifica, CA 94044, USA
The Pacifica / Linda Mar Beach is a great beach to introduce your kids to surfing, bodyboarding, and skimboarding.
The southern end of the beach has a very gentle slope into the water. It's sandy there with a few smaller rocks scattered here and there in the water. This is where all the surf schools go out. Basically, south of the best Taco Bell in the world.
Don't go north past the Taco Bell. It gets deeper pretty fast once you enter the water there.
No matter when you go, you'll need wetsuits. Brrrr dogs is that water cold. The kids won't care though. It's water. Water is always fun. Just be sure to keep an eye on them so they don't get too cold.
You can rent wetsuits at the Nor Cal Surf Shop. They'll be able to fit both adults and kids. They also rent surfboards and body boards. That surf shop is located right next to the beach on the southern end.
There is public parking just north of the Taco Bell. You'll need to pay here.
If you drive into the parking lot by the Nor Cal Surf Shop and take a right, that corner of the parking lot is free. It tends to fill up pretty fast. So you'll probably have to get there before 9:00 AM to find a spot. Otherwise, you can just wait in the car until someone leaves. You might end up waiting 15 minutes for a spot. But from here, it is an easy walk down to the beach.
I would say the best way to introduce your kids to surfing would be to have them lie on the board and drag them out into waist deep water. Then when some white water, or a little wave comes rolling in, give them a good push and let them ride the board right up onto the beach. Walk back, give them a high five, get them on the board and do it all over again. Wear some water shoes if you're going to take this approach. That will protect your feet from the rocks in the water and let you concentrate more on your student.
If you're not up for getting into the water with the kids, get them into some surf lessons. There are a few schools in Pacifica that offer lessons on this beach.
Last Bit of Advice
Splash around and have fun with the kids. Don't push the kids too hard to learn the proper techniques for surfing. First introduce them to the sport. If they like it, then start giving them more and more pointers, always keeping it fun.