Marin Blog · Summer in Marin Collection

Sunny Escapes: Crafting Your Summer Dream Itinerary

Posted in Blogging Marin on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 by MCVB Staff

Are you looking for the perfect itinerary for your next Marin County adventure? We have a ton of events dedicated to summer, with several seasonal festivals, fairs, parades, and markets that will take over your calendar. If you need a little help, we’ve got you covered with this perfect summer itinerary—we’re going to break down where you can go, what you can do, where to stay, and where to eat depending on your vacation goal.


Marin County Beaches

If you are the beach bum type, then embrace the summer vibes in Marin County by visiting one of these picturesque beaches. Marin has a coastline perfect for enjoying water sports, family outings, pet-friendly adventures, and quiet romantic strolls. Make sure to check our Beach Travel Tips before heading out.

Beach Itinerary #1: Discover Your Heart’s Desire 

Tucked away on the eastern side of Point Reyes National Seashore, this hidden sandy cove at Heart's Desire offers a serene setting with calm waters of Tomales Bay and scenic views of Marin County hills.

What to Do 

Start by taking the Tomales Point Trail to the Elk Refuge, where in addition to the Tule Elk, you may see coyotes and even the occasional mountain lion. For a thrilling kayaking experience, we recommend booking a trip with Blue Waters Kayaking
Choose from a variety of single and double sea kayaks, and opt for guided half or full-day paddles or even overnight camping expeditions. For a truly enchanting experience, consider joining one of their evening Bioluminescence Tours.

Where to Stay

Stay at Bear Valley Cottage! This home away from home comes complete with a convenient self-catering unit featuring a small kitchenette stocked with essentials to kickstart your stay. Just a short half-mile drive from the Bear Valley Visitor Center, this charming retreat provides effortless access to the entire Point Reyes area.

Where to Eat

Savor the flavors of the coast at The Marshall Store, where you can feast on freshly harvested oysters, homemade clam chowder, and other classic dishes crafted from seasonal, local ingredients. Complete your meal with a selection of beer and wine while soaking in picturesque views of Tomales Bay.

Nighttime: Enjoy dinner and music at Rancho Nicasio—a historic roadhouse established in 1941 located on the town square in Nicasio, California. They have a full bar with an All Day Menu and music on the weekend. Beginning Memorial Day weekend there is a Sunday BBQ on the lawn through the summer with great daytime music under the sun!

Itinerary #2: Avoid the Crowds at Dillon Beach

Dillon Beach is nestled along Marin County’s coast and offers a tranquil escape with panoramic views of the Pacific. It’s seldom crowded and is perfect for a stroll or adventurous activities like surfing and kite flying.

What to Do 

Situated at the entry point to West Marin and the Sonoma and Napa Valley wine regions, the Marin French Cheese Company is a short drive from Dillon Beach. Enjoy some of their award-winning cheeses on their covered picnic tables, where you can also take in cold beverages, hot chocolate, coffee, soup, and sandwiches.

For a serene retreat, venture to McEvoy Ranch, a sprawling 550-acre organic ranch nestled in the rolling hills of Marin County. Learn about their sustainable farming practices amidst scenic vineyards, olive groves, and hiking trails. Whether sampling Tuscan olive oils or admiring native wildlife, McEvoy Ranch is an idyllic escape for nature enthusiasts and food lovers alike.

Where to Stay 

To truly enjoy this option, we recommend staying at the Tomales Hotel located on Route One. This hotel has all the grandeur of a hotel from the 1800s with a “rural goes modern” refresh.

Where to Eat

Daytime: Walk across the street from your hotel to partake in delicious, locally sourced food at Route One Bakery & Kitchen in Tomales. From fresh bread and baked goods to beer, wine and cider made by the best of Marin, you’ll be sure to find something you like on their menu.

Improve your beach getaway by adding a summer outdoor concert to your itinerary and extending your stay. Rancho Nicasio hosts live music events throughout the year, while various parks, farmers markets, and shopping malls feature outdoor day concerts during the summer season.

Marin County Outdoor Concerts

The beaches aren’t the only thing that should bring you to Marin this summer. Combine your beach stay with a summer outdoor concert event and plan a longer stay. Here are a few events we’d like to highlight to get you out here this year:

Mill Valley Music Festival

If there’s any reason to visit Marin County, we recommend visiting during the Mill Valley Music Festival from May 11–12, 2024. Produced by the Mill Valley Chamber and Noise Pop Industries, this two-day event features a stellar lineup that includes beloved local groups like Fruit Bats and Thee Sacred Souls in addition to well-known national acts like Fleet Foxes, Margo Price, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Two-day and single-day tickets are currently available for purchase!
Need a place to stay? Stay at the Acqua Hotel on the picturesque shores of Richardson Bay or the Mill Valley Inn, located in the heart of downtown Mill Valley.

Sweetwater Music Hall

If there’s any reason to visit Marin County, we recommend visiting Mill Valley’s Sweetwater Music Hall. There is great live music scheduled here year round so you can’t miss out on listening to something you like. This summer’s eclectic music scene leans towards the sounds of a Jimi Hendrix Tribute, Jules Broussard, MoonAlice, and other sounds. Need a place to stay? Try the Acqua Hotel on the picturesque shores of Richardson Bay or walk to your room from Sweetwater if staying at the Mill Valley Inn in the heart of downtown Mill Valley.


HopMonk Tavern

Don't miss HopMonk's Summer Cookout Music Series in Novato's Vintage Oaks.  Relax in the sun-filled Beer Garden with a craft beer and retreat to the outdoor venue to listen to fresh music - all while savoring their casual food fare.  They feature musical acts like Graham Parker and Tode the Wet Sprocket. Stay at either the Best Western PLUS or the Courtyard by Marriot, both hotels are just a Hop away in Novato. Find other options by visiting our lodging directory.

County Fair

“Make A Splash” this summer and attend the 2024 Marin County Fair from July 3–7, 2024. Enjoy five days of art, rides, concerts, fair food delights, shopping and so much more. The Marin County Fair has been one of the Healthiest and Greenest County Fairs on Earth since 2008, boasting features like a solar-powered carousel, a solar-powered stage, and a 92% waste diversion rate. Check out their lineup of entertainment, rides, and exhibits on their website.

Stick close to all the action and stay at the Embassy Suites in San Rafael, located just a quick walk over to the festival grounds. For easy transportation to and from the county fair, we recommend taking the SMART train.

May Madness 

Finally, don’t forget to check out Greg Borrelli’s May Madness Car Show in San Rafael on Saturday, May 11th, 2024, from 12 pm to 6 pm. This year, the car show has three entertainment areas located at Glazed & Confused, Libation on B Street and 4th and A Streets. You can learn more about May Madness on their website.
Arrive early to check out the Friday Night Cruise on May 10th to see all the classic cars cruise downtown San Rafel at 6 pm. While there, stay at the AC Hotel San Rafael, a hotel infused with European Soul and Spanish Roots.


Plan your perfect summer itinerary in Marin this summer using this guide to explore all that Marin County has to offer. Check out our event webpage for updates on new events that will pop up over the summer. For the best places to stay while in Marin, visit the Marin CVB at