5 Outdoor Activities in Marin After Dark

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Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2018 by MCVB Staff

By John Egan


In Marin County, nighttime can be just the right time to explore the outdoors, thanks to the area’s mild—but a bit nippy—after-dark weather. And as luck would have it, a number of activities are available to satisfy your sense of nocturnal adventure.


Here are five post-sunset pursuits in Marin that we think will put you over the moon.


Light Up the Night


Kayaking companies provide enlightening experiences at Point Reyes.


Blue Waters Kayaking operates three nighttime tours that’ll light up your night: a four-hour bioluminescence kayak tour of Tomales Bay, a three-hour moonlight tour of Tomales Bay, and an excursion combining either the bioluminescence tour or the moonlight tour with an overnight camping trip.


What, you ask, is bioluminescence? As described by Blue Waters Kayaking, bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by living organisms. On moonless nights on Tomales Bay, bluish-white flickers light up the water; they come

from blooms of bioluminescent organisms called dinoflagellates.


Point Reyes Outdoors offers its own bioluminescent kayak outings on Tomales Bay, as well as kayak outings coupled with overnight camping. On Point Reyes Outdoors’ nighttime excursions, you’ll pass Hog Island, spot harbor seals, paddle toward White Gulch, and then indulge in a mini-picnic of baked desserts and hot beverages on a secluded beach before venturing into the bioluminescent night.


Cruise in the Moonlight


If you’re not in the mood for a workout but still enjoy being on the water, you might want to try a nighttime cruise.


From Tiburon, for instance, you can hop aboard a 1½-hour sunset cruise run by Angel Island Tiburon Ferry. This cruise of the San Francisco Bay operates Friday and Saturday nights from mid-May through mid-October. On the cruise, you can take in the magical sights of Belvedere, Sausalito, San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island and more.


See the Stars


No, we’re not talking about Hollywood here. We’re talking about the stars that shine in Marin’s beautiful night sky.


Two of Marin’s best venues for stargazing are Mount Tamalpais and Point Reyes National Seashore. At Mount Tam, you can even warm up with a bonfire at the campgrounds. And at Point Reyes, dog-friendly Limantour Beach is an ideal spot to huddle under a blanket and stare at the star-studded sky.


Both of these sites are great for stargazing because they’re not nearly as susceptible to big-city light pollution as San Francisco and Oakland are.


Hike at Night


Of course, Marin features a slew of hiking opportunities during the day. But some hiking trails also come alive at night.


Guides at the Muir Woods National Monument lead visitors on a two-mile, dusk-to-sunset tour that the National Park Service says enables a peek at “the secret nightlife of the old-growth redwood forest,” including owls and bats. Organizers urge hikers to dress appropriately for the weather and to bring flashlights.


Are you up for a longer nighttime jaunt? Then check out the Sierra Club’s five-mile full moon hike at the Marin Headlands. The hike starts right before sunset at Rodeo Beach and heads up the Coastal Trail to Wolf Ridge. Hikers then stop at Hill 88 to enjoy the views of San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean before heading down the trail and wrapping up along Rodeo Lagoon.


Catch a Show


OK, so what can you do outdoors at night if you’re not in the mood to be on a boat, on a trail or at a park? How about attending a production of the Marin Shakespeare Company?


On more than 30 nights during the summer, you can watch a Shakespeare play at the company’s theater on the San Rafael campus of the Dominican University of California. The company says the venue “was designed so that the moon rises above the actors each night.”


What could be more entertaining than Shakespeare in the moonlight?


For all you need to plan your Marin County vacation, visit the Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website or Facebook page, or download the mobile app.