Outdoor Recreation

Weather that allows outdoor activities all year round.

Meetings & Events

An event in Marin is an event remembered.

Home to Famous Attractions

Muir Woods, the Point Reyes National Seashore, the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center... all on the sunny side of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Outdoor Activities

Marin County is a paradise for outdoor recreation - with weather that allows visitors and residents to enjoy mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, and sailing all year round. But it's also a wonderful place to do next to nothing at all.

Marin County’s lands represent outstanding examples of Northern California environments including oak-bay woodlands, savannas, grasslands and salt marshs.  These habitats are managed and protected to enhance their natural, undeveloped character while accommodating educational activities and trail-oriented uses.  Outdoor recreation – hiking, running, mountain biking, horseback riding, and all manner of water sports including sail boarding, surfing, fishing, boating, kayaking and canoeing – is what Marin County is all about.  Additionally, seasonal phenomena like the migration of whales, bird watching, garden tours, and wildlife and scenic painting and photography are unique features of Marin.  Aside from the natural side, there is also baseball, golf and the raceway.

Some of Marin’s most exhilarating outdoor destinations:

National Parks, including Muir Woods National Monument and Point Reyes National Seashore

State Parks, including Mt. Tamalpais, China Camp, and Angel Island

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, including Marin Headlands, Muir Beach, and Stinson Beach.

Marin County's Department of Parks & Open Space offers seasonal trips and events for both families and individuals. View the  Ranger Events for outdoor ideas. 

Midweek excursions in the late Fall through early Spring seasons offer some of the most advantageous opportunities to enjoy Marin’s great outdoors.  While doing so, please be respectful of our environmental treasures.  Contact or visit the various park services to help you tread lightly. 

Beaches in Marin County

Beaches in Marin County

Marin has a variety of beaches, great for beachcombing, tide-pooling, wave-watching, bird watching, sun bathing, kayaking, and boating. The weather at these beaches can change considerably during the course of the day. Wear layers that you can add and remove as the temperature drops and rises.

Swimming conditions vary by location. Prior to entering the water, please check with park rangers, park personnel, or lifeguards about conditions and always obey the posted warnings.

Agate Beach Park

This 6.6 acre park is located near Bolinas along the Pacific coastline. It provides access to almost two miles of shoreline at low tide and is a wonderful area to explore tidal pools.
Go to: Marin County Parks... (Read More...)

image

Angel Island State Park

Tiburon, CA 94920
415-435-1915
www.angelisland.org

Access to the Island is by public ferry from San Francisco, Tiburon and Vallejo or by private boat. The beaches at Quarry Point and Ayala Cove are sandy and protected from the afternoon breezes. The water at Perle’s Beach is... (Read More...)

image

China Camp State Park

101 Peacock Gap Trail
San Rafael, CA 94901
415-456-0766
www.parks.ca.gov

China Camp State Park is located on the southwest shore of San Pablo Bay, three miles from downtown San Rafael. The 1,512-acre park has a variety of natural scenery and some fine trails along San Pedro Ridge. Visitors enjoy picnicking,... (Read More...)

image

Golden Gate National Recreation Area / Marin Headlands

Marin Headlands Visitor Center
Fort Barry, Building 948
Sausalito, CA 94965
415-331-1540
www.nps.gov/goga/marin-headlands.htm

Whether you are a visitor to the Bay Area or a lifelong resident, Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) offers you experiences you can find nowhere else. The national park area has some world renowned destinations – Alcatraz and Muir... (Read More...)

image

McNears Beach Park

201 Cantera Way
San Rafael, CA 94901
www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/PK/ParkRes/

Fifty-five acres located off south San Pedro Road along the shore of San Pablo Bay, the County's most popular park offers a seasonal swimming pool, tennis courts, family and group picnic areas-available by reservation, a sandy beach, lawn areas, seasonal... (Read More...)

Muir Beach & Muir Beach Overlook

415-388-2595
www.parksconservancy.org

National Golden Gate Recreation Area

This year, the existing parking lot has been re-aligned to allow the Redwood Creek channel to be connected to its natural floodplain. Muir Beach is now open to all. Come and explore the newly extended pedestrian bridge, restored creek, wetlands, and... (Read More...)

image

Point Reyes National Seashore

415-464-5100
http://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/beaches.htm

Point Reyes National Seashore was established to preserve and protect wilderness, natural eco-systems, and cultural resources along the diminishing undeveloped coastline of the western United States. Located just an hour's drive from a densely populated metropolitan area, the Seashore is... (Read More...)

image

Point Reyes National Seashore Association

1 Bear Valley Road, Building 70
Point Reyes, CA 94956
415-663-1200
www.ptreyes.org

We are the primary non-profit park partner of the National Park Service at Point Reyes. With community support we are helping to fund and implement resource preservation projects within the park, while also providing people a way to explore, discover... (Read More...)

image

Stinson Beach

Information & Weather: 415-868-1922
http://www.nps.gov/goga/stbe.htm

Visitors to Stinson Beach experience the pleasures of this quiet beach community. Whether hiking, enjoying a picnic, exploring the town, or relaxing on the beach, people continue to find Stinson Beach a great place to escape from the frantic pace... (Read More...)

image

Tomales Bay State Park

State Route Highway 1
Inverness, CA 94937
415-669-1140
www.parks.ca.gov

The 2,000-acre day-use park features four gently sloping, surf-free beaches, protected from winds by Inverness Ridge, the backbone of the Point Reyes Peninsula. The park has hiking trails and is a popular place for picnics, swimming, clamming and boating.

Tomales Bay... (Read More...)

Biking

Marin County has a network of bicycle paths that enable bikers to travel from one part of the county to the other on paved roadways. Each city has its own network of bicycle paths.

image

Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC)

733 Center Boulevard
Fairfax, CA 94930
415-456-3469
www.marinbike.org

The Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) is an advocacy organization whose mission is to promote safe bicycling for every day transportation and recreation. The MCBC has been steadily improving our county’s road and path facilities for walkers and bikers since... (Read More...)

image

Blue Waters Kayaking

12944 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Inverness, CA 94933
415-669-2600
www.bwkayak.com

Bike Point Reyes on an EZip EcoRide electric comfort bike, which is designed with a 250-watt DC earth magnet motor and a 24-volt Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. It operates much cleaner than gas powered scooters yet faster than a regular bicycle.... (Read More...)

image

Mountain Biking

Marin County's Mount Tamalpais (Mt. Tam) is the birthplace of mountain biking. In the early 1970s Joe Breeze, Gary Fisher, Otis Guy and Charlie Kelly began refurbishing old balloon tire bicycles from the 1930s and 40s to use for riding... (Read More...)

Bird Watching & Butterflies

image

Bird Watching

Marin County offers some of the best bird watching on the Pacific Coast. The Point Reyes National Seashore offers some of the finest bird watching in the United States. The Park’s 70,000 acres of habitat are host to... (Read More...)

image

Butterflies

Photo Credit: www.marinopenspace.org

Marin County observers have identified 76 species of butterflies in various areas throughout the county. The Pipevine Swallowtail inhabits Cascade Canyon; the Acmon Blue is found on Mt. Burdell and at Old St. Hilary’s; and the... (Read More...)

Camping

Camping in Marin County can be a novel, exciting experience. You may roll out your sleeping bag on a mountain, in a redwood forest, beside the ocean or even on an island. All Marin County campsites are located in scenic areas that are perfect for hiking and wildlife observation. State Park campsites can be reserved from two days or up to seven months in advance. Dogs are generally allowed on leashes. To preview the California State Parks, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/parkindex. Reservations can be made by calling Reserve America at 1-800-444-PARK or online at www.reserveamerica.com.

image

Angel Island State Park

Tiburon, CA 94920
415-435-1915
www.angelisland.org

Angel Island sits in the middle of San Francisco Bay, just off the coast of southern Marin County with spectacular views of Marin County, San Francisco, the Golden Gate and the East Bay. Visitors travel to the island by ferry... (Read More...)

image

China Camp State Park

101 Peacock Gap Trail
San Rafael, CA 94901
415-456-0766
www.parks.ca.gov

China Camp State Park has 1,640 acres of natural watershed along the shores of San Francisco Bay. A Chinese shrimp-fishing village thrived on this site in the 1880s. A small museum describes the history of the early Chinese settlement. China... (Read More...)

image

Marin Headlands

Marin Headlands Visitor Center
Fort Berry, Building 948
Sausalito, CA 94945
www.nps.gov/goga/marin-headlands.htm

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) offers two hide-in and two walk-in campgrounds in the Marin Headlands, located at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Reservations are required for the campsites. The maximum stay is three nights... (Read More...)

image

Mount Tamalpais State Park

801 Panoramic Highway
Mill Valley, CA 94941
415-388-2070
www.parks.ca.gov

Magnificent Mt. Tamalpais has 6,300 acres of redwood groves and oak woodlands with spectacular views from its 2,500 foot peak. It is a hikers and bikers paradise. The camping areas include 16 developed walk-in campsites, one horse group camp, 10... (Read More...)

image

Point Reyes National Seashore

Bear Valley Visitor Center
0.5 miles from Olema along Bear Valley Road
Olema, CA
415-663-8054
www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

Campers may use campsites in the Point Reyes National Seashore year-round, but because of its proximity to San Francisco, the campsites are in great demand. Campsites are located along the Pacific Coast and in the Phillip Burton Wilderness area. These... (Read More...)

image

Samuel P. Taylor State Park

8889 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Lagunitas, CA 94938
415-488-9897

www.parks.ca.gov

Samuel P. Taylor State Park covers more than 2,700 acres of wooded countryside with rolling hills of coastal redwoods and open grasslands. The park features hiking trails, mountain biking and equestrian trails. A paved bicycle trail runs through the park.... (Read More...)

Fishing

Visitors who like to fish can find many locations in Marin County for fresh and salt water fishing. Some of the popular places include the following:

China Camp State Park – located on San Pablo Bay, has a number of points on the shore suitable for fishing.

McNear’s Beach Pier - located in east San Rafael on San Pablo Bay, is a good spot for halibut, striped bass and sturgeon. Varieties of perch and shark are also present. Entry fee is $8 per vehicle.

Fishing is permitted in all seven of the Marin Municipal watershed lakes. Licenses are required. Please call 415-945-1194 for current fishing conditions or visit www.marinwater.org.

Golfing

Marin County is home to several public and private golf courses. These courses take advantage of Marin’s beautiful, varied terrain and are located in a variety of settings, from the foot of Mt. Tamalpais in Mill Valley, to the wetlands near the Bay Shore in Novato.

image

Peacock Gap Golf Club

333 Biscayne Drive

San Rafael, CA 94901

415-453-4940

www.peacockgapgolfclub.com

Classic golf course architecture is defined by fairways that invite but challenge and greens that creep beyond where the player thinks they end.  This is the intrigue of classic golf and the foundation of Peacock Gap Golf Club.

Renovated and improved... (Read More...)

image

San Geronimo Golf Course

5800 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard
San Geronimo, CA 94963
415-488-4030
www.golfsangeronimo.com

Located in the heart of beautiful San Geronimo Valley, only 45 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge and ringed by forested coastal hills and roaming over 150 acres of stunning terrain, San Geronimo offers a true test of your... (Read More...)

Hiking

The outstanding beauty of Marin County’s landscape makes it a prime environment for outdoor recreation. Hiking is one of the best ways to explore Marin’s vistas and wildlife.

image

Angel Island State Park

Tiburon, CA 94920
415-435-1915
www.angelisland.org

In the middle of San Francisco Bay sits Angel Island, offering spectacular views of the Marin Headlands, Mount Tamalpais, and the San Francisco skyline. Over 13 miles of foot trails and fire roads circle the island. The Northridge/Sunset loop trail... (Read More...)

Blue Waters Kayaking

12944 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Inverness, CA 94933
415-669-2600
www.bwkayak.com

Blue Waters Kayaking is your outdoor activity resource for the West Marin area. We offer kayaking tours, hiking tours, as wells as specialized camping, birding and oyster tours. We offer a variety of hiking tours including the Giacomini Wetlands and... (Read More...)

image

China Camp State Park

San Rafael, CA 94901
415-456-0766
www.parks.ca.gov/parkindex

Walk through the house museum describing early Chinese settlement of the village. The park offers fifteen miles of hiking trails. The trails are heavily used during spring and summer weekends. Be prepared for crowds.

*Due to current budgetary cutbacks in all... (Read More...)

image

Marin Headlands

Marin Headlands Visitor Center
Fort Barry, Building 948
Sausalito, CA 94965
415-331-1540
www.nps.gov/goga/marin-headlands.htm

For the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, make sure to visit the trails located at the Golden Gate Bridge Headquarters and part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA).

image

Mount Tamalpais State Park

801 Panoramic Highway
Mill Valley, CA 94941
415-388-2070
www.parks.ca.gov
www.FriendsofMtTam.com

With an elevation of 2571 feet, Mt. Tam has 200 miles of hiking trails with views of the entire county, San Francisco and the East Bay. Best visited in the spring when flowers are in bloom.

Mt. Tam has been saved... (Read More...)

image

Point Bonita Lighthouse

Marin Headlands Visitor Center
Fort Barry, Building 948
Sausalito, CA 94965
415-331-1540
www.nps.gov/goga/pobo.htm

Point Bonita is part of the largest urban national park in the United States, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). A secret jewel of the Bay Area, Point Bonita is still an active lighthouse. The U.S. Coast Guard maintains... (Read More...)

image

Point Reyes National Seashore

Bear Valley Visitor Center
0.5 miles from Olema along Bear Valley Road
Olema, CA
415-464-5100
www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/hiking.htm

The National Seashore has about 240 kilometers (150 miles) of hiking trails to explore. Trail maps are available at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. There are many ways to customize your hike to accommodate your physical and time limitations. Stop... (Read More...)

image

Point Reyes Outdoors

11401 State Route 1
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
415-663-8192
www.PointReyesOutdoors.com

Point Reyes Outdoors offers naturalist led hiking tours in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Explore the beauty of the area and see some of the local wildlife events. Our hikes include a Wildflower and Gray Whale Hike, Tide Pool Exploration,... (Read More...)

image

Samuel P. Taylor State Park

8889 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Lagunitas, CA 94938
415-488-9897
www.parks.ca.gov

This popular park has over 2,700 acres of wooded countryside in the steep rolling hills of West Marin. The park features a unique contrast of coast redwoods groves and open grassland. Miles of hiking trails and fire roads make it... (Read More...)

image

TAM Hiking Tours

Contact:  Debra Schwartz
415-888-2474
www.tamhikingtours.com  

Hike beautiful Mt Tamalpais, located just 15 minutes from San Francisco. Learn about Mt. Tamalpais, Mill Valley and San Francisco history, local Native American history, and Bay Area geology, while hiking on awesome trails through redwood forests and along open... (Read More...)

image

Tomales Bay State Park

State Route Highway 1
Inverness, CA 94937
415-669-1140
www.tomalesbay.net

This area, celebrated for its natural beauty, is one of constant movement: the land, the animal migrations and the seasonal wildflowers that push up through the earth. For great views, March flowers, beaches and bird-watching, it is a must see!

Tomales... (Read More...)

Horseback Riding

Marin County has miles of open space horse trails, including horse campsites at Mount Tamalpais State Park and Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Equestrian Centers are in Fairfax and Woodacre, but the most popular is Five Brooks Ranch, offering a variety of horseback riding services.

image

Five Brooks Ranch

8001 State Route Highway 1
Olema, CA 94950
415-663-1570
www.fivebrooks.com

Five Brooks Ranch offers an array of services for anyone who wants to enjoy the park in the company of horses. We offer private and guided trail rides, riding lessons and horse boarding. Bring your own horse or use ours.... (Read More...)

Kayaking/Water Sports

Marin and San Francisco bays and beaches provide hundreds of possibilities to kayak, paddleboard, surf, kiteboard and much more. Kayakers enjoy easy access to San Pablo Bay and can be found enjoying the coastal waters surrounding China Camp State Park. Corte Madera Creek, with its views of Mt. Tamalpais, is a draw for both kayakers and rowers.

image

101 Surf Sports

115 Third Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
415-524-8492
www.101surfsports.com

The water is right behind our shop so come on down!

101 Surf Sports is a full service Water Sports Shop specializing in Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), Windsurfing, Kiteboarding, Surfing, and Kayaking on Marin County waters as well as the San... (Read More...)

image

Barbary Ghost

Loch Lomond Marina

San Rafael, CA 94901

415-754-0205

www.barbaryghost.com            

Barbary Ghost is a classic mini-yacht offering unique Marin experiences like Baseball by Boat, paddleboard and kayak tours, and private sightseeing and party cruises.  Order ahead to have SUP and kayak rentals loaded on the boat for paddle adventures around... (Read More...)

image

Blue Waters Kayaking

12944 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Inverness, CA 94933
415-669-2600
www.bwkayak.com

Blue Waters Kayaking is your outdoor activity resource for the West Marin area. We offer kayaking tours, hiking tours, as wells as specialized camping, birding and oyster tours. We also have shore side facilities at Marshall Boatworks, 19225 Shoreline Highway... (Read More...)

image

Point Reyes Outdoors

11401 State Route 1
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
415-663-8192
www.PointReyesOutdoors.com

Point Reyes Outdoors offers sea kayaking tours, classes, and overnight kayaking trips in the Point Reyes National Seashore. We also offer customized team building (on land and water) and environmental education kayaking & hiking trips for groups. Join us for... (Read More...)

Recreation

image

Albert J. Boro Community Center & Library

(Formerly Pickleweed Park Community Center)
50 Canal Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
415-485-3077

Formerly known as Pickleweed Park Community Center and Library, the 24,000 square foot facility that includes space for community meetings, events, after-school programs, literacy, technology, education, library, social and recreation activities and programs. The building has a 6,000 volume library,... (Read More...)

image

Corte Madera Community Center

498 Tamalpais Drive

Corte Madera, CA 94925

415-927-5072

www.ci.corte-madera.ca.us

The Corte Madera Parks & Recreation Department’s mission is to create community through People, Parks and Programs.  To achieve this mission, we provide year-round recreational programs, classes, sports leagues, summer camps and events for residents of Corte Madera and surrounding communities.

The recently-remodeled Community Center... (Read More...)

Sports

image

Marin Bocce Federation

550 B Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
415-485-5583
www.marinbocce.org

Located next to the San Rafael Community Center, the Marin Bocce Federation manages and operates a beautiful, family oriented, 10-court bocce facility open to the public seven days a week. Click here to view our video.

Hours of Operation:... (Read More...)

  • green bizBay Area Green Business

image

San Rafael Pacifics Baseball

1201 Second Street
San Rafael, California 94901
415-485-1563
www.pacificsbaseball.com

The sweet sounds of summer baseball are echoing throughout San Rafael's Albert Park. From the crack of the bat, to the pop of the glove to the smell of the grass, the San Rafael Pacifics invite you to be a... (Read More...)

image

Speedway Motorsports Sonoma

29355 Arnold Dr.
Sonoma, California 95476
800-870-7223
www.racesonoma.com

The fender-banging action of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series headlines the 2012 Big O Tires Racing Season at Speedway Motorsports Sonoma. The seven-race major event schedule, featuring everything from stock cars to motorcycles, will be highlighted by three of the... (Read More...)

Whale Watching & Seal Observation

image

Whale Watching

Between December and May approximately 15,000 California gray whales travel 10,000 miles along the Pacific Coast from cold Arctic feeding grounds to warm, shallow breeding waters off Baja, California. During December and January the pregnant whales are traveling south, carrying... (Read More...)

image

Elephant Seals & Harbor Seals & Sea Lions

Northern elephant seals, harbor seals, and sea lions are found at South Beach during the winter and also can be viewed from Chimney Rock. After being absent for more than 150 years, elephant seals returned to the Point Reyes Headlands... (Read More...)

Wildflowers of Marin

Wild Flowers of Marin

Each year, thousands of wildflower enthusiasts converge upon the Marin Headlands to experience the park’s spectacular floral display. Long recognized as a Bay Area botanical hotspot, the Marin Headland’s ridges, valleys, meadows, and sand dunes are carpeted with blooms of every hue and color from late winter to late autumn.

 

Photo Credits: www.marincountyparks.org

Wildflowers Marin - Marin County

Marin County is home to a number of rare wildflowers, many of which are found in the county’s 33 open space preserves, the Golden Gate National Recreation area and the Point Reyes Seashore. Ring Mountain Preserve’s unique geology and microclimate provide a home for a number of rare plants. The Tiburon Mariposa Lily is found on the upper slopes of Ring Mountain and nowhere else on earth. Spring wildflowers on the trailhead from Paradise Drive to the top of the preserve are breath-taking.
As you enjoy the wildflowers, please remember that you may be in a national park, and natural and cultural resources are protected by law. Do not pick the wildflowers!

The 117-acre Old St. Hilary’s Preserve in Tiburon is the only place to see the extremely rare Tiburon Jewelflower. This odd member of the mustard family, usually seen in mid-May, has dark maroon petals that appear almost black. Other rare plants like the Dirca Occidentalis grow naturally only in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Wildflowers Marin County
Marin County has five or six known small populations of this wildflower that are associated with basaltic greenstone rocks in a mixed evergreen forest. White Wakerobin can be found in the northern part of the Pt. Reyes Peninsula.

Patches of serpentine soil in the Loma Alta Preserve provide one of the best late-season wildflower displays in the county. Douglas Iris can be spotted in the Bald Hill Preserve, and the Bush Monkeyflower and Dwarf Checkermallow inhabit the Camino Alto Preserve.

The below resources give information on the many species of wildflowers that grow in Marin County and where they can be found: The Marin County Open Space District’s website lists all of the open space preserves in the county and describes the plants and animals that can be found there. Please visit www.marincountyparks.org for more information.

The Marin Branch of the California Native Plant Society provides information on Marin County’s rare plants and field trips. Please visit www.marin.edu/cnps for more information.