Our picks of places to go and things to do to make the most of your summer in and around Marin County.
GET YOUR STEPS IN HERE - Talk about storied steps: the Dipsea Stairs, a series of 688 wooded steps in Mill Valley, have been tread upon by locals and legends alike since 1905. Recently restored, the iconic stairs are part of the oldest trail footrace in the country. Local legend Jack Kirk (“the Dipsea Demon”) was famous for running the race every year since 1930, until he was 96 years young. Emblazoned with inspiring placards like “Don’t stop now!” and “Live life fully!” the stairs are perfect for a leisurely walk or full-on workout.
GET LOST IN THE WOODS HERE - A National Monument since 1908, this otherworldly forest, just a few miles north of San Francisco, is home to hundreds of old growth redwoods ranging from 400 to 800 years old (many standing more than 250 feet high!), the forest floor a mosaic of redwood sorrel, ferns and fungi. Dedicated to John Muir, one of America’s most famous conservationists and staunchest advocates for wilderness preservation, Muir Woods is filled with majestic hiking trails and scenery so beautiful visitors have likened it to a religious experience.
PICNIC HERE - Cowgirl Cantina, the deli counter outpost at famed cheese mongery Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes, is a one-stop shop for all your summer picnic provisions. Conveniently located a block off Highway 1, the charming, converted barn is home to an exceptional cheese shop, assorted charcuterie, fresh bread and a revolving menu ranging from house-cured gravlax to fig and blue cheese salad. Once you’ve filled your basket, make your way to Point Reyes National Seashore and enjoy miles of scenic hiking trails and picture-perfect picnic spots.
SEE THE (GUIDING) LIGHT HERE - On a clear day, Point Bonita Lighthouse affords visitors breathtaking ocean vistas for miles. Situated at the northern edge of the Golden Gate, the fully functioning lighthouse dates to 1855 and was the third lighthouse built on the West Coast. Lighthouse tours are offered on select days, giving visitors an opportunity to walk the half-mile trail and see what life was like living above the infamously perilous waters.
SHUCK IT HERE - There’s nothing like ice cold oysters in the summertime, and Hog Island Oyster Co. in Tomales Bay has got all your bivalve needs covered. Open since 1983, Hog Island has been farming fresh, sustainable oysters for years, and its postcard-worthy setting makes for extra-enjoyable slurping. Book a picnic table with a grill and shuck ‘em yourself, or enjoy a full-service experience on the bayside patio.