Posted in Blogging Marin on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 by MCVB Staff
By Joe Kukura
No place on Earth mixes business and pleasure like California’s Marin County, the sunny side of the Golden Gate Bridge, just across from San Francisco. Marin County is “just a little out there” from Silicon Valley, the San Francisco startups, and northern California wine country, making it a central location in the business and leisure capital of the world.
It’s the perfect place to get the most out of the “bleisure” (business and leisure) trend that’s becoming one of the biggest movements in modern-day travel, as daytime and night-out getaways are becoming a common component to contemporary business travel. It’s only a bike or car ride across the bridge from San Francisco, and its legendary natural beauty has earned it the nickname “backyard of the Bay Area.”
Here are just a few of the best Marin County bleisure attractions offering world-class outdoor scenery, famed farm-to-table restaurants and some of California’s most bleisure-friendly places to stay overnight.
Best Places to Stay for Bleisure Travel
Marin County has business travel hotels that your travel department may already have good relationships with. There are Courtyard by Marriott hotels at Marin County locations in both Larkspur and Novato. You’ll find both a Hilton Embassy Suites and a Four Points by Sheraton in San Rafael. The Best Western Inn at Corte Madera is also expense-account-friendly, and so is Novato’s Days Inn.
For a spectacular Marin County bed and breakfast experience, scenery buffs will love the unforgettable picture window views of Mount Tamalpais at Mill Valley’s “inn above the clouds,” the Mountain Home Inn, where your overnight rate includes a cooked-to-order breakfast. Meanwhile, the Panama Hotel & Restaurant in San Rafael is a luxuriously preserved, 93-year-old trip back in time, with a homemade continental breakfast served every morning.
Best Bleisure Attractions
Some of the world’s most iconic, must-see natural attractions await on a Marin County daytime adventure. The famous redwood forests of Muir Woods are home to 1,000-year-old California redwood trees that tower at least 250 feet high. The highly Instagrammable Point Reyes Lighthouse provides a once-in-a-lifetime backdrop of a panoramic Pacific Coast lighthouse view, with migrating gray whales often photobombing you in the background. The popular camping facilities and hiking trails at the Marin Headlands provide some of the most astonishing Golden Gate Bridge views and natural photo-shot possibilities you can imagine.
Marin County’s renowned farm-to-table restaurants are a culinary experience not to be missed when visiting northern California. The beloved, homegrown foodie innovators at Cowgirl Creamery, Belcampo Meat Company, and Tomales Bay Oyster Company all offer tours or outdoor dining experiences you’ll never forget.
For a traditional sit-down meal, Il Davide may be the best-reviewed restaurant in Marin County. The castle dining experience at Novato’s Wildfox offers an unparalleled outdoor dinner with panoramic views. Nick’s Cove in Marshall is a legendary, local seafood spot, while Mill Valley’s Piazza D'Angelo is right in the hub of an excellent landscape of upscale downtown shopping.
And yes, Marin County does have an In-N-Out Burger.
Best Bleisure Nightlife
Business travel certainly calls for entertaining clients (and yourself), and Marin County rocks after dark with some notoriously famous nightclubs. Former Grateful Dead bass player Phil Lesh owns and operates San Rafael’s Terrapin Crossroads, and is known to show up regularly and jam. HopMonk Tavern in Novato is a beloved live music venue and brewpub, and Point Reyes’ Station House Cafe has live jazz every Sunday night.
For a wine experience, take a wine country tour at Novato’s Trek Winery, where tastings are on the daytime menu, and live comedy and music rock out on weekend nights.
There’s no guilt trip to enjoying yourself on a business trip, and Marin County is a one-of-a-kind getaway with bleisure-perfect culinary destinations, scenic outdoor activities, and charming places to stay overnight. When your business brings you to the tech hubs of San Francisco and Silicon Valley, recharge your batteries and mix in some bleisure across the bridge in the “backyard of the Bay Area” Marin County.