Marin Blog · Outdoor Adventures Collection
A Road Trip for Every Interest in Marin
Posted in Blogging Marin on Monday, August 30, 2021 by MCVB Staff
By Megan Eileen McDonough
The open road awaits. If you’ve never taken a road trip, now’s your chance. With cascading views of the San Francisco Bay, fauna in every color of the rainbow and rare wildlife to boot, all roads in Marin County lead to discovery. Whether you’re in town for the weekend or just the day, here are five road trip ideas for every interest. Now, let’s get lost!
Best for Beach Bums (and Foodies)
Tomales Bay is hands down one of Marin County's most pristine outdoor areas. In addition to being a great beach spot, foodies can feast on fresh oysters, too. To get there from San Francisco, take U.S. 101 north toward San Rafael. From there, head west on San Anselmo/Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and then north on State 1. Once here, the quaint town of Point Reyes is only 2 miles away. Come lunch, chow down on fresh oysters at waterfront hotspots Nick’s Cove and Tomales Bay Oyster Company.
Point Reyes National Seashore
Best for Nature Lovers
If you're craving even more beach time, Point Reyes National Seashore is your best bet. The 71,028-acre park preserve has plenty of Pacific Ocean views. That said, be prepared for windy and/or foggy weather, so pack a sweater and a raincoat if the skies look moody. Keep an eye out for some of the 37 species of land mammals and a dozen marine mammals as well. You'll also see some of North America's unique plant and bird species. By car, head north from Stinson Beach or south from Sonoma County.
Best for Photography Pros
The scenic drive to the Marin Headlands is tough to top, especially when crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Once in the headlands, there are loads of photo ops. By day, hike through varied trails or get some sun on Rodeo Beach (it's dog friendly, too)! In spring there are wildflowers to photograph, while the autumn season coincides with raptor migration. Come nightfall, capture the stars as they glitter over one of the headlands’ many campsites.
The drive is a quick 30 to 45 minutes if you go straight through, but we recommend making it at least a half-day trip. Get your camera ready!
Mount Tamalpais via the Panoramic Highway
Best for Adventure Seekers
Calling all adventurers! For epic views and wind-in-your-face memories, drive the Panoramic Highway to the top of Mount Tamalpais. While Mount Tamalpais’ 2,571-foot peak is the grand finale, you'll also see redwood and oak forests en route. Many travelers opt to drive in late afternoon and sit atop one of the grassy slopes to take in the sunset. Alternatively, there's a short hike to the ranger tower where you're greeted with stellar views of the San Francisco Bay. If you’re in the mood for some fun in the sun, Stinson Beach is a quick pit stop away.
Lucas Valley Road
Best for Romance
In Marin for a weekend getaway? Good choice, because there are endless ways to rekindle the flame. Lucas Valley Road spans the length of Lucas Valley, an idyllic, open-space preserve, and links to both Gallinas and Nicasio valleys. It's best not to rush this one, as there are many scenic stops along the way and plenty of photo-worthy moments, too. If you're up for a wander, hike the Big Rock Trail, which is part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The summit is the second-highest point in Marin, so you're in for some pretty spectacular views.
For all you need to plan your Marin County vacation, visit the Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website or Facebook page.
More information on featured attractions:
Tomales Bay State Park
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...[Learn More]
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