Marin Blog · The Best in Marin Collection

The Novice Guide to Marin

Posted in Blogging Marin on Monday, April 11, 2022 by MCVB Staff

Article by Bailey Anne Vincent


Whether you’re traveling from near or far, Marin County is that hidden diamond of a trip that you are looking for.  Cradled on the sweeping scape of the San Francisco Bay Area. Nomadic tourists and California natives alike agree that it is an idyllic destination that can be for the entire family. Honeymooners, new parents, wanderlust aficionados — you name it and Marin has something for you.


For the B&B fan


Don’t let your next road trip be an uninspired stay at a motel serving up microwave complimentary meals.  Instead, be inspired by the fresh, sustainable farm-to-table agriculture of Marin County.  Scenic solitude can be found at many of Marin’s locally owned bed-and-breakfast inns.

There’s simply no other place like the Straus Home Ranch in all of West Marin: A beautifully renovated and furnished 150 year old farmhouse, nestled amongst towering eucalyptus and cypress trees, surrounded by 160 acres of organic pastures. What’s truly spectacular, besides the charming house, is the setting: a romantic garden, two porches (upper and lower) overlooking the historic red-painted barns, the rolling pastures and Tomales Bay, all at once. You can even walk from the house to a small beach for tide pooling or to launch your kayak. 

At the AppleGarden Cottage in Tomales, you will find tasty homebrewed “Farmstead Cider” made with apples grown on their AppleGarden Farm.  You’ll be welcomed with a bottle along with a plate of local cheese and crackers on arrival.

Another example is the Bear Valley Inn.  If active living is your thing this may be the place for you.  It is surrounded by ample terrain for hiking, horseback riding and biking. The grounds feature a natural oasis where you can visit with chickens and roam the gardens when not exploring the surrounding terrain. 

These and many other Marin B&B’s are only a short and scenic 35-mile drive from San Francisco.


For the adventurous artist


There is no other place that better fits the motto “fresh air and art are good for your health” than Marin County.  Whether your idea of artistry is a Mozart concerto or a jam band drum solo, Marin County has you covered. Thanks to our closeness to the cultural and counter-cultural mecca of San Francisco, artistic expression has always flourished here. And today it’s stronger than ever. So feed your soul at the open-air Mountain Play, the indie-centric Mill Valley Cinema, The Marin Symphony, as well as museums and sculpture gardens catering to every taste. In Marin, when it’s time to get your culture on, we’ve got something for everyone.

A not to be missed destination for artists and art lovers visiting Marin is Art Works Downtown in San Rafael.  This eclectic resource features a slew of collaborative meet-and-greets, lectures, and tutorial lessons in a constantly evolving showcase sure to inspire. Plan your visit around Art Works’ quintessential Art Walk — hosted the second Friday of every month in San Rafael — for a local knowledge visit to nearby studios, galleries and, of course, local wine (it is California, after all).


For the foodie


If you are obsessed with fresh farm-to-table bites and locally sourced meals, then organically oriented Marin is perfect for your inner chef. Newcomers should consider signing up for a Food and Farm Tour online. Each event cultivates the best in culinary tourism, whether being hosted at one of the area's best farms or restaurants. From artisan cheese tastings complete with baby goat and sheep cuddles, to behind-the-scenes coastal oyster tours to expert-led pairing classes at breweries, wineries and distilleries, Food & Farm Tours treat guests to unique and intimate experiences. Another option for newbie foodies is The Fork, at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company — an educational, sensational experience including culinary classes, tastings and more by appointment only. Hands-on instruction and exclusively themed dinners set the perfect scene for kicking back, putting your feet up and chowing down.

Farm-to-table Dining is a phrase that can mean different things to different people. At its heart, however, farm-to-table means that the food on the table came directly from a specific farm. For the true Foodie Lover, try any of Marin's fresh farm-to-table recommendations, especially the new MADCAP restaurant in San Anselmo. MADCAP is a Michelin Star dining experience offering upscale dining in an intimate yet casual setting with an urban feel.


For the perpetual parent


Anchors aweigh! Call of the Sea is setting sail with Summer and Fall Youth Day Camps in 2022. Join up for an exciting adventure with sailing, hiking, nautical crafts and more for an experiential, environmental education under sail. Voyages with Call of the Sea give young people a meaningful connection with their bay and coastal waters while offering the benefits of an extended, live-aboard sailing program or a youth day sail. Learn about sailing and seamanship while gaining self-confidence on a challenging adventure.

If your children dig nature, then you definitely can’t miss The Marine Mammal Center. This is not a zoo and will be unlike any animal park experience you have ever had.  Here a partnership between humans and nature is nourishing recovery and sustainability for the local marine wildlife.  Since visiting hours and tours are offered throughout the day, your little ones can get the perfect introduction to marine wildlife without breaking your budget. Best of all, you can even “adopt” a seal year-round, which will keep you connected to the area long after you’ve returned home. Whales and elephant seals migrate by Marin annually offering even more fun and educational up-close experiences for families to experience.


These are just some examples of where to stay and what to do in Marin County.  Just minutes from San Francisco on the sunny side of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin offers tourists and healthy-living enthusiasts nationwide a vacation destination like no other. Visitors find that they can jump into the Marin lifestyle with ease, and make memories that will surely last a lifetime … or at least until your next visit.


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

More information on featured attractions:

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Art Works Downtown, Inc.

Art Works Downtown, Inc. is a premier nonprofit art center in a 40,000 sq.ft historic building in the heart of downtown San Rafael on Fourth Street. Featuring 4 galleries,...[Learn More]