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marin-headlands

Feb 21, 2020 | Explore the Bay Area

The Best of Marin County

Marin County has lots of little pockets to explore whether you’re a traveler visiting the area or have lived here all along. Whether you’re looking to spend a day at the beach, hiking the hills, or getting a view of the California landscape from nearly 2,500 feet above the ground, here is the best of Marin County.

Marin Headlands

The hilly peninsula at the southernmost end of Marin County has unique geology, rich biological diversity, and historic military landmarks. Hike trails, overlook the Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Spencer, or take the drive along the winding roads and sea cliffs for a glimpse of wildflowers, deer, hawks, and one of the largest roosting sites for brown pelicans at Rodeo Beach. Keep a lookout for the Mission blue butterfly, an endangered subspecies native to the San Francisco Bay Area. Places of interest in the Marin Headlands include Point Bonita Lighthouse, the Marine Mammal Center, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, an expansive region that stretches from southern San Mateo County to northern Marin County.

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Muir Woods

The beloved redwood grove is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Reaching heights of up to 379 feet, Muir Woods’ redwoods are between 600 and 800 years old, with the oldest being at least 1,200 years old. Make a parking reservation in advance when visiting this tranquil destination. For more Marin County redwoods, visit Samuel P. Taylor State Park near Lagunitas for 600-acres of old-growth forest.

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Mt. Tamalpais State Park

With over 60 miles of hiking trails, wildlife, and mysterious oak and redwood forests, Mt. Tamalpais State Park’s beauty is considered symbolic of Marin County. The peak of the 2,571 feet Mt. Tamalpais provides panoramic vistas of the entire Bay Area, Pacific Ocean, and the Farallon Islands, located 30 miles offshore.

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Bolinas

This quiet town along the California coast is much coveted by locals, so much so that they often remove signs from the highway directing visitors to its location. The charming settlement has all the makings of a sleepy NorCal coastal town, with independent shops, bars, restaurants, public parks, and lush greenery adorning them all. Park at the end of Wharf Road and take the walk out to the beach, where you’ll find a rocky shore, coastal cliff, and local surfers.

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Point Reyes National Seashore

The rocky headlands, grasslands, and expansive sandy beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore are quite the trek from the rest of Marin County, but the area is one of the most magnificent destinations in California. The Cypress Tree Tunnel, Elephant Seal Overlook, and Drake’s Beach are not to be missed, while the 300 steps down to the Point Reyes Lighthouse is not for the faint of heart. Watch out for whales breaching off the coast, elk, and cattle crossing, as the area is home to historic dairy farms that have been in operation since the 19th century.

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Sausalito

Quaint houseboats, Michelin Guide featured restaurants, and the Bridgeway Promenade overlooking the San Francisco Bay add to the allure of the beautiful coastal town of Sausalito. Spend the day shopping at boutique stores, exploring contemporary art galleries, or enjoying a wellness day at The Spa at Casa Madrona for some rest and relaxation during your Marin County adventures. For more of our favorite things to do in Sausalito, click here.

From Stinson Beach to Angel Island, check out more Marin County highlights using our favorite day trips north of San Francisco guide.

Stay in the heart of downtown Sausalito at Casa Madrona, a historic bayfront hotel known for its luxurious suites, on-site Spa and Poggio Trattoria restaurant, and prime location with easy access to San Francisco and Marin County’s best attractions. Choose from our best rates and special offers when you book direct with Casa Madrona.

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