Marin Blog · Outdoor Adventures Collection

5 Outdoor Activities in Marin After Dark

Posted Tuesday, July 23, 2019 by MCVB Staff

By John Egan


In Marin County, nighttime and sunrise 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 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 the 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 at nighttime.


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 Sunrise

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

Guides at the Muir Woods National Monument lead visitors on a three-mile Sunrise Tour that the National Park Service says enables a peek at “the secret life 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 nighttime jaunt? Then check out a few of Marin's ranger-led full moon hikes. Various hikes usually begin from different locations around the time of a full moon so check out our calendar of events for any number of excursions taking place. Marin County Parks has a Light Show Hike lined up now for August 15. See you there! 


Catch an Outdoor 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? Check out full moon performance dates on August 15 and September 13.

On a different artistic note, you and the family can also enjoy an evening watching a movie under the stars! Both parks in Mill Valley and San Anselmo offer nighttime movies from 7:00pm to 9:00pm through October.


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