Towering trees plus a fresh breeze make for the ultimate eco-traveler's dream. Just across the Golden Gate Bridge is the sister county of San Francisco, Marin County. Backdropped with luscious green treescapes and natural landscapes, this county is a serene place to get away from the city and be one with nature. From historic and towering redwood trees to astonishing coastal cliffs, cross the bridge into another world filled with wonder and whimsy.
Looking for itinerary inspiration? We’ve got you covered. Peruse our list of Marin County’s must-see spots and immerse yourself in the expansive wonders of NorCal.
Muir Woods National Monument
Get up close and personal with California’s most famous trees, the towering California Redwoods, at Muir Woods National Monument. Whether you’re starting the morning with a mystically foggy scenic hike along the Main Trail or taking a stroll along Redwood Creek in the afternoon sun, Muir Woods is a living landscape not to be missed.
Make a reservation before visiting (they’re required), and plan to visit between 8 AM and sunset, 365 days a year.
If scenic views are calling you, escape to the top of Mount Tamalpais, the Bay Area’s highest peak, where truly astounding views of the Pacific Ocean, the San Francisco skyline, and the Bay await. After your summit, hike or bike through 50 miles of mountain trails, then wind down at the campgrounds with a local beer and take in the oak tree and redwood forests that surround you.
Pro tip: Check the schedule to see if you can catch a show at Mountain Play, the peak’s beloved and historic outdoor theatre.
Point Bonita Lighthouse
Positioned delicately on a cliff overlooking the ocean, you may just fall in love with The Point Bonita Lighthouse when you visit. Built in 1855, this secret jewel of the Bay Area is still an active lighthouse used by the U.S. Coast Guard. Take the walk to this historic lighthouse over the gorgeous white suspension bridge that paves the way to this landmark, and learn about the geology, ecology, and history of Point Bonita as you step inside.
Point Bonita Lighthouse is only open on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 12:30-3:30 PM, but it is still a beautiful place to pop by for scenic walks and photos even when the lighthouse building itself is closed.
Of all the waterfalls in Marin County, Cataract Falls is the most popular for a reason. A favorite of locals and folks traveling through the area, this trail features beautiful greenery, plenty of shade, and scattered cascading waterfalls that make your walk or hike one you’ll remember for years to come. The popular Cataract Trail, which runs along Cataract Creek and the waterfalls, can play a part in a loop hike, but most people prefer to visit the falls on an out-and-back trek, beginning either at the Fairfax-Bolinas Road pullout or from staging areas on West Ridgecrest Road. If you start at the Rock Spring trailhead, you can follow the entire Cataract segment from beginning to end, about a 6-mile out-and-back trip. A start from Fairfax-Bolinas Road is best-suited to beginning hikers, since you can turn back if the ascent gets too steep, and still take in the beauty that surrounds you along the way.
Low-key, but stunning Rodeo Beach is part of a gorgeous crescent-shaped cove within the coastal bluffs of the Marin Headlands. While we don’t recommend swimming at this beach unless you’re a confident surfer, it’s the perfect spot for exploring Northern California’s natural geology, taking a scenic walk with a truly spectacular backdrop, or watching the sunset over the ocean. Rodeo Beach is a hidden gem worth wandering for a morning or afternoon pit-stop.
Explore the Visit Marin website and get insider tips for the perfect trip across the bridge.