By Oliver Jenkyns May 21, 2019
Positioned north of San Francisco, just across the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin County offers a plethora of activities for every age and interest. From following the California Cheese Trail to savor the creations of artisan cheesemakers, to searching for creatures in tide pools along the two miles of pristine coastline at Agate Beach, to climbing Mount Livermore for panoramic views of the Bay Area, the county makes up for its small size with gorgeous landscapes and a dynamic culture.
Many visitors make Muir Woods National Monument their first stop after crossing the world-famous Golden Gate. With thousands of old-growth redwoods (some of which are up to 800 years old), miles of hiking trails, and Muir Beach tickling the tree trunks just outside the forest, it is easy to see why this is a favorite among both locals and tourists.
To see what else the county has in store, travel north from Muir Woods to Point Bonita Lighthouse, the third lighthouse built in the West. Stop by the Point Reyes Headlands to view hundreds of elephant seals breached upon Drakes Beach, the intriguing geological formations on Chimney Rock, and the historic Chimney Rock Lifeboat Station. Continue on to Tomales Bay State Park for diverse landscapes featuring wildflower-coated meadows, shorebirds nestled amongst the tidal flats of the marshlands, chipmunks storing food beneath the forest floors, and beaches known for clamming.
After enjoying the mist of the ocean breeze, drive east to the Waterfall Trail, which takes you across a wooden bridge into the forested regions and along a trickling stream to the unparalleled magic of mossy waterfalls.
To immerse yourself in the culture of Marin, head to the Downtown San Rafael Cultural Arts District, where you will encounter art galleries, bookstores, and performing art centers. Alternatively, you can opt to visit one of the many ranches and farmers markets throughout the county.
Before heading back over the Golden Gate, take some time at Angel Island to enjoy 360-degree views of the Bay Area, a bike ride around Perimeter Road, a picnic at Ayala Cove, kayaking in the San Francisco Bay, or a night of camping.