It is a Saturday in early November, the opening day of Dungeness crab season in California. My buddy Micah is pulling his boat as much as the wood dock at Horseshoe Cove, straight beneath the north finish of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, in Sausalito. An avid fisherman from close by San Rafael, Micah has introduced hoop nets, his two sons of him, and sufficient foul-weather gear to chase away the encroaching fog and rain. My household and I pile in, and off we go, jetting throughout the bay and beneath the bridge, right into a cove that we’re all hoping is teeming with crab.
After an hour or so, the ocean delivers. We pull in nets filled with crabs, throwing again what we won’t hold attributable to dimension and day by day limits, and dropping the remaining right into a tank on the boat. En route again to the dock, Micah asks if we wish to come over for a crab lunch at his place. Clearly, the reply is sure. A fast cease on the Saturday farmers’ market at Marin Nation Mart in Larkspur yields a bag of fresh-from-the-soil potatoes and a crusty French baguette from Rustic Bakery to accompany the steamed crabs.
I’ve eaten a whole lot of scrumptious meals over time in bountiful Marin County, a verdant peninsula surrounded by the Pacific simply north of San Francisco. However truthfully, these crabs we caught ourselves may prime the listing—the freshest of seafood, dunked in bowls of melted butter.
Nowadays Marin is named the prosperous, family-centric residence base for the Bay Space’s rich distant and tech employees. Actual property costs listed here are among the many highest within the nation. However it hasn’t all the time been that means. Within the Seventies, Marin was the groovy epicenter of the Grateful Useless and the birthplace of the renegade sport of mountain biking. In consequence, the realm’s hippie, counterculture roots as a rock-and-roll commune nonetheless persevere and may be felt in Marin’s laid-back, unpretentious, outdoorsy vibe.
Over half of Marin’s open area stays off-limits to improvement, because of long-standing conservation efforts. The county boasts three federally protected wild areas—Muir Woods Nationwide Monument, Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore, and Golden Gate Nationwide Recreation Space—and 6 state parks. And residents right here treasure each their expansive private and non-private lands for extra than simply recreation, recurrently frequenting the 250 native farms and ranches that profit from the delicate local weather and fertile panorama, from cheesemakers and winemakers to apple, artichoke, and oyster farmers.
I really like coming to Marin. There are a lot of fantastic methods to spend a weekend right here, however in case you’re seeking to tie collectively quite a lot of out of doors actions, lodging situated close to wildlands, and meals choices that can hold you singing the praises of this nook of the nation for years to eat, this is my favourite itinerary to expertise the very best Marin has to supply.
3 PM Hit the Trails
Begin your weekend exterior with a brief hike or path run inside the Marin Headlands, a part of Golden Gate Nationwide Recreation Space, the place miles of winding singletrack provide ocean views. Exit and again on the SCA Path—about two miles a technique, although it connects to different trails if you wish to make the hike longer—for views of the Golden Gate Bridge and a gradual climb alongside a slender ridge. It is onerous to consider a metropolis as dense and populated as San Francisco is only a well-known bridge commute or brief ferry journey away while you’re out right here exploring these areas of uncrowded wilderness.
5 PM Verify In to Your Digs
A keep on the LEED-certified Cavallo Level (from $425) is difficult to beat. This attractive, 350-acre resort on the northern finish of the Golden Gate Bridge was previously the positioning of the US Military submit at For Baker and looks like a real getaway, with unbelievable views and the scent of eucalyptus permeating the air. The resort has a spa, a top-notch farm-to-fork restaurant, and tries to maintain its visitors out and transferring with choices comparable to day by day yoga, classic electrical bikes, summertime garden video games, and guided hikes that depart proper from the property . Canine are handled like VIP visitors, and there is expansive grounds for you and your pup to play.
In the event you’d somewhat sleep beneath the celebs, there’s tenting on the ocean at Kirby Cove (from $40), west of the Golden Gate Bridge, from March by means of late November, or for year-round choices, head about ten miles north to Mount Tamalpais State Park and keep within the rustic Steep Ravine Cabins ($100) or at one in all its campsites ($25)—although each are extremely coveted and most reservations needs to be booked six months’ out. The backcountry campsites (from $30) in Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore are gorgeous (to not point out extra accessible), in case you’re prepared to hike in together with your gear.
7 PM Nosh Time
Head to the upscale hamlet of Sausalito for a night stroll alongside the water, adopted by dinner of kale-and-ricotta pizza at Bar Bocce, with views of houseboats within the harbor. Afterward, go for a pint subsequent door at Joinery, an informal beer corridor with picnic tables on the dock. Save room for a scoop of mango or cinnamon-horchata ice cream at Lappert’s.
7:30 AM First, Espresso
There’s espresso and complimentary pastries within the resort foyer at Cavallo Level in case you want a direct repair. For a correct meal, begin your day with a leisurely breakfast of avocado toast with completely poached eggs—plus a aspect of vanilla bean donuts—at Farley, the in-house restaurant.
10 AM Take a Guided Meals Tour
Love studying the place your meals comes from? Join with Meals and Farm Excursions, a domestically owned clothes shop that leads public, small-group excursions round Marin County’s finest oyster farms, cheesemakers, and flower and meals growers. As a part of two of its excursions, you will snack on pastries on the Bovine Bakery, in Level Reyes Station, which is price standing in line for.
1 PM Sure, You Ought to Order the Oysters
There are a lot of excellent locations to dine on domestically harvested oysters in coastal Marin. Essentially the most well-known might be Hog Island Oyster Co., in Marshall, a dreamy out of doors café with a uncooked bar, barbecued oysters, and cheese platters stacked with choices from close by Cowgirl Creamery. In the event you’re on the Meals and Farm Tour, you will seemingly make a cease right here; if not, make a reservation nicely prematurely to attain a desk. (If you cannot get a reservation, there is a grab-and-go shack for picnic provides to take with you, or there’s an easier-to-get-into Hog Island cafe within the southern Marin city of Larkspur.) As a substitute choice, try Nick’s Cove and Cottages in Marshall, the place you possibly can dine on oysters harvested from Tomales Bay on the lodge’s on-site restaurant, located on the finish of a pier. The cottages at Nick’s (from $375) had been lately renovated and make for an awesome residence base as nicely.
3 PM Style Wine Produced from Bees
Marin is not recognized for its wine—that may be neighboring Sonoma and Napa counties—however the glowing mead wine constituted of honeybees by a geologist turned brewer at Heidrun Meadery, additionally in Level Reyes Station, is price a cease for a fast tasting.
4 PM Make a Break for the Seaside
With 80 miles of shoreline, you possibly can get pleasure from Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore by strolling countless sandy seashores, like Drake’s Seaside or North Seaside, each of that are simply accessible through automobile. In the event you’re feeling adventurous and wish to get out on the water, you possibly can lease a kayak from Blue Waters Kayaking, which additionally runs nighttime bioluminescence excursions from Coronary heart’s Need Seaside in Tomales Bay. If crusing is extra your type, e book a chartered journey with Tomales Bay Crusing in Level Reyes.
8 PM Splurge on the Greatest Sushi within the Bay
Ask anybody round they usually’ll inform you the very best and freshest sushi within the Bay Space is at Sausalito’s Sushi Ran. The proprietor, Yoshi Tome, who grew up in Japan, is aware of an awesome deal about sake and has been operating his beloved restaurant since 1986.
8 AM Fill Up with a Farmers’ Market Breakfast
Choose up espresso and breakfast—in addition to every little thing from pies to pickles—from the plentiful and iconic Sunday Marin Farmers’ Market in San Rafael, the third-largest farmers’ market in California, which is ready on the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed civic middle and open year-round on Sundays from 8 AM till 1 PM
9:30 AM Stroll within the Woods
Wander amongst old-growth redwoods in Muir Woods Nationwide Monument, which has six miles of trails (once more, you possibly can connect with different path networks for longer outings). In an effort to go to, you will must make a parking reservation prematurely or arrive by shuttle. The oldest trail-running race within the nation, the Dipsea Race, first held in 1905 on the steep Dipsea Path and now a bucket-list occasion for a lot of that occurs every June, crosses by means of Muir Woods as opponents make their means from Mill Valley to Stinson Seaside. However anybody can take a look at their mettle on the path year-round—it makes for a technical and difficult 7.4-mile hike.
11:30 AM Cease for Sourdough and Surf
One more reason to like Marin: the 24-hour honor-system farm stand from the family-run Gospel Flat Farm, a couple of mile and a half north of Bolinas Seaside on the Olema-Bolinas Street. Drop your cash within the field or make a Venmo fee to seize recent eggs, a loaf of selfmade sourdough, or produce grown within the adjoining subject. In the event you’re a surfer, the break at Bolinas is the place to be. The two Mile Surf Store within the quaint coastal city of Bolinas rents boards and wetsuits and provides classes.
1 PM Taco Time
A stable morning of exertion requires a lunch of fish tacos or a noon brunch of saucy, avocado-topped huevos rancheros on the close by Coast Café.
3 PM Spin Your Wheels close to the Birthplace of Mountain Biking
Fifty years in the past, a gaggle of street cyclists from Marin started utilizing fat-tire, singlespeed classic bikes to journey the paths round towering 2,571-foot Mount Tamalpais, acknowledged because the birthplace of mountain biking. Nowadays, the realm’s finest purpose-built mountain-bike trails may be discovered at Camp Tamarancho, a Boy Scout–run open area west of Fairfax. On the town, Break up Rock Faucet and Wheel is understood for its tune-ups, leases, and a employees with ample native path information. One other nice choice is Mountain Bike SF, which leads guided path rides in Marin and likewise rents bikes. Subsequent door is the Marin Museum of Bicycling, nicely price a cease to be taught extra concerning the historical past of the game within the space. Afterward, order a chilly Kölsch, surrounded by mountain bikes hanging off the partitions, at Gestalt Haus, a energetic beer corridor.
When to Go to Marin County
There isn’t any dangerous time of 12 months to go to the San Francisco Bay Space, however late fall—from September to November—is definitely when the town sees a few of its warmest climate of the 12 months. And there is a motive Marin is named the sunny aspect of the Golden Gate Bridge: winter temperatures not often drop beneath 50 levels. Early winter is a good time for recognizing migratory birds and whale-watching. California grey whales may be noticed heading north alongside the Northern California coast between mid-January and mid-March, and Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore is a good place to search for them.
Megan Michelson is a frequent Outdoors contributor who lives in Tahoe Metropolis, California, and travels to Marin County a few occasions per 12 months for path operating and the great meals.