Marin Vacation Beaches

There is more to Marin than the San Francisco Skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, the magestic big trees of Muir Woods - Marin is a pennisula that is surrounded by water; on one side is the San Francisco Bay, the other side, the Pacific Ocean.  Home to beautiful, preserved, rugged, california coastline, Marin is rich with beautiful sparkling beaches and wildlife.  If it is one of those nice days, or even one of those hazy, rainy, or foggy ones, when staying at the Marin Vacation Retreat Home, its a good idea to get out and explore one of Marin's beaches.

Marin has a variety of beaches, great for beachcombing, tide-pooling, wave-watching, bird watching, sun bathing, kayaking, boating, and even hanggliding.  Because of the varied micro-climates in Marin, it is always a good idea to check the weather before heading out to the coastline.

The most famous beach in Marin County is Stinson Beach (20 minutes from home), which is directly on the Pacific Ocean, offering many activities from skimming, vollyball, to surfing.
 
(Stinson Beach, facing Bolinas)
 
The closest beach to the Marin Vacation Home is McNear’s Beach, (7 minutes) on the San Francisco Bay; it offers a mile of sandy beach, a pier, an outdoor swimming pool, two tennis courts and picnic tables.


Click on link below or scroll down for more information:


Beaches Near the Marin Vacation Home, central Marin:
(includes proximity to Marin Vacation House)
 
McNears Beach: 9 minutes from home (on the Bay)
-Great to go to with kids and BBQ. Fishing Pier. Plenty of grass space! Kioske. Pool. Entry fee. Rocky Beach.
 
China Camp State Park: 6 minutes from home (on the Bay)
  • -Wonderful gem! Great Hiking, Mtn. Biking, Scenery, marshlands, nature watching, etc.. Fun!
  • China Camp State Park is located on the southwest shore of San Pablo Bay, three miles from downtown San Rafael.  The 1,512-acre park has a variety of natural scenery and some fine trails along San Pedro Ridge.  Visitors enjoy picnicking, wildlife-watching, hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, boating and windsurfing.

Camp State Park

China Camp State Park
San Rafael, CA 94901
415-456-0766
www.parks.ca.gov/parkindex

Sausalito: 15 minutes!! ~numerous spots. Views abound.  Great waterfront town!

  • -Nice sandy bay beach- also place that offers kayaking lessons, windsurfing, etc... even yacht rental!
  • -Really cool floating homes to look at.
  • -Adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge & Marin Headlands.

Marin Headlands- 15 minutes from House!

  • -Tons of hidden beach coastline to explore!
  • -Home to Pt. Bonita Lighthouse & Marine Mammal Center
  • -Lots of great hiking, walking & Mtn Biking Trails.
  • -For Road bikers, doesn't get better than this- relatively few cars & incredible natural scenery! 

 

Cronkite/Rodeo Beach: 15 minutes from home (Ocean)

  • - Great Hiking, nature exploring, and surfing (see cam)!

Rodeo/Cronkite Beach

Angel Island: 15 minute drive to Tiburon from home, then 8 minute Ferry Ride .

Angel Island State Park

Angel Island State Park, Tiburon, CA 94920

  Website: www.angelisland.org

  • Incredible island on the San Franciso Bay! Great beach cove! Fantastic 360 degree Views! Ferry ride is very comfortable, you can take a bike. Nice Kioske on the island. Significant history. Highly recommended for a day outing with family or loved one!
  •  The beaches at Quarry Point and Ayala Cove are sandy and protected from the afternoon breezes.
  • Access to the Island is by public ferry from Tiburon, San Francisco, Vallejo or by private boat.- Bikes okay!
  • Take the ferry from Tiburon (just 15minutes from the Marin Vacation Home) to Angel Island-  Awesome experience for the whole family! For ferry information, please visit www.angelislandferry.com.

Pacific Ocean Beaches in Marin

 (vs the SF Bay)

Stinson Beach:

  • 2o minute drive from Marin Vacation House (Beautiful drive over Mt. Tam! Very serene & happening beach. Complete with Kioske, cute town.  Surfing, Volleyball, frisbee, and Skimming is very popular.)

Bolinas Beach:

  • 30 minute drive (incredibly scenic, over Mt. Tamalpais!)
  • Small unique town has local salon, cafe, and art galleries.
  • Great surfing.

 

Pt Reyes National Seashore:

  • 30 minute drive or less.

 

Muir Beach: 24 minutes from home (Ocean)

  • -Perhaps cruise here, Muir Beach, to soak up the sun after visiting Muir Woods and the parks Giant Redwoods or after touring Green Gulch Farm Zen Center!

Beaches Nearby, but in San Francisco:


  • Ocean Beach: 20 minutes from home!  (over the Golden Gate - by Cliff House and SF Zoo)


Baker Beach: Nude Beach on one side(seperated by cliff)!! 16 minutes from home
(over the Golden Gate - great Golden Gate bridge scenery, among other things....)

 


Extra Note on beach going:

The weather at these beaches can change considerably during the course of the day. Wear layers that you can add and remove as the temperature drops and rises.

Swimming conditions vary by location; prior to entering the water check with park rangers, park personnel, or lifeguards about conditions and always obey the posted warnings.

Unique (less frequented) Beaches in Marin County:


Agate Beach Park

This 6.6 acre park is located near Bolinas along the Pacific coastline. It provides access to almost two miles of shoreline at low tide and is a wonderful area to explore tidal pools. Go to: http://www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/PK/Main/pos/pdagatebch.cfm for more information.


Golden Gate National Recreation Area / Marin Headlands   
Marin Headlands Visitor Center
Fort Barry, Building 948
Sausalito, CA 94965
415-331-1540
www.nps.gov/goga/marin-headlands.htm

Whether you are a visitor to the Bay Area or a lifelong resident, Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) offers you experiences you can find nowhere else.  The national park area has some work renowned destinations – Alcatraz and Muir Woods, for example – as well as some places where you might not encounter another human being.  Since 1972, GGNRA has grown to more than 75,000  acres, including beaches (Muir and Stinson), Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, and many hiking and biking venues  that are scattered to the north and south of the Golden Gate Bridge.  To download a map of trails and beaches, please visit: http://home.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/maps.htm

McNears Beach Park
201 Cantera Way
San Rafael, CA 94901
www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/PK/ParkRes/

55 acres located off south San Pedro Road along the shore of San Pablo Bay, the County's most popular park offers a seasonal swimming pool, tennis courts, family and group picnic areas-available by reservation, a sandy beach, lawn areas, seasonal snack bar, and a 500 foot long fishing pier. From HWY 101 take the Central San Rafael exit and go east on 2nd Street (which becomes San Pedro Rd.) to Cantera Way. (Day use fee required). 

Muir Beach & Muir Beach Overlook
415-388-2595
http://parksconservancy.org/visit/park.asp?park=17

Muir Beach is a sheltered cove that has a sandy beach with lots of privacy. It’s strikingly beautiful with a creek and nearby dense woods providing opportunities to view wildlife, such as monarch butterflies in the pine trees, salmon in Redwood Creek, and frogs in the marsh, as well as foxes, birds, deer, and coyote on the hills! Horses and dogs are allowed on the beach and some trails.

Muir Beach Overlook used to be a U.S. Army coastal observation post and has spectacular coastal views.  Picnic area provided and watch migrating whales in the winter.

Paradise Beach Park
3450 Paradise Drive
Tiburon, CA 94920
www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/PK/ParkRes/

Located on Paradise Drive along the east shore of the Tiburon Peninsula, this 19-acre park offers family and group picnic areas-available by reservation, lawn areas, a horseshoe court, sandy beach, and a fishing pier. Some boaters anchor out and row ashore to picnic. (Day use fee required).

Point Reyes National Seashore:   
415-464-5100
http://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/beaches.htm

Established to preserve and protect wilderness, natural eco-systems, and cultural resources along the diminishing undeveloped coastline of the western United States.  Located just an hour's drive from a densely populated San Francisco Bay Area, the Seashore is a sanctuary for myriad plant and animal species and for the human spirit — for discovery, inspiration, solitude, and recreation — and exists as a reminder of the human connection to the land.

Point Reyes is located approximately 30 miles north of San Francisco on Highway 1 along the west coast of California.  Travelers may approach the park from the winding scenic Highway 1, either northbound or southbound. You can also reach the park via Sir Francis Drake Boulevard or the Point Reyes/Petaluma Road.

Operating Hours & Seasons:

The park is open daily from sunrise to midnight throughout the year. Overnight camping is available by permit only.  Visitor Center hours are as follows:

Bear Valley Visitor Center:  0.5 miles from Olema along Bear Valley Road

Olema, CA 94950     #415-464-5100

The Bear Valley Visitor Center is open on:

  • Weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Weekends and holidays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Lighthouse Visitor Center:  The Lighthouse Visitor Center is open: Thursday- Monday, 10:00am- 4:30pm

  • The Lighthouse stairs, the exhibits in the lower Lighthouse chamber, and the Equipment Building are open (weather permitting):  Thursday through Monday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • The Lens Room is open (as weather & staffing permit):  Thursday through Monday, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • All Lighthouse facilities are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

All Visitor Centers are closed December 25. Visitor Centers may close at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Call 415-464-5100 for hours of operation on these holidays.

Overview of Beaches in Point Reyes National Seashore:

  • Abbotts Lagoon Beach: This is a great place for bird watching. The sand dunes backing the beach are home to the endangered snowy plover.

  • Drakes Beach: This is the nicest beach at the Point Reyes National Seashore. The tall cliffs provide shelter from the usual northwest summer winds. There is a visitor center, cafe and memorial to Drake here. The annual sand sculpture contest is held the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.Kehoe Beach: A half-mile walk alongside a marsh and over a sand dune takes you to Kehoe Beach. Once at the beach, turn left to explore the stream meandering to the Pacific Ocean. To the right, giant dunes make explorations fun.

  • Kelham Beach: A 4.8-mile trek from the Bear Valley trailhead brings only hardy hikers to this quiet, secluded beach north of Arch Rock. This trail from Coast Trail is currently closed due to erosion of the cliff. Currently the cliff is unstable and we advise visitors not to hike down to the beach from this point.

  • Limantour Beach: You can take long walks on Limantour Beach, over a mile in each direction; you can also wade, watch the birds, beach comb, or picnic. The nearby Estero de Limantour is a favorite for bird watchers for its variety and number of birds.

  • McClures Beach: This is Marin's most scenic beach with rugged coastline framing both ends. During super low tides, there are great tide pools at the south end. Palomarin Beach: This beach is good for tide pooling at minus tides. Note: the trail to this beach is a strenuous walk down a cliff.

Pt. Reyes Great Beach (North and South Beaches): North and South Beach make up an incredible expanse of over 10 miles of undeveloped ocean beach to roam - also known as "Point Reyes Beach." If you are looking for the drama of heavy surf this is the place to be. Dogs are allowed on a 6' leash on this beach. Dogs are not permitted north of the North Beach entrance as this area is protected habitat for the endangered snowy plover. Please be very cautious near the water as "sneaker waves" have been known to drag unwitting victims out to sea.

Sculptured Beach: Tide pools, rock formations, a blowhole where the sea really does "blow through," birds, passing whales and dolphins (bring binoculars), incredible sunsets, and great sand are just some of the things you'll see here.

Wildcat Beach: Wildcat Beach is south of Limantour Beach, near Alamere Falls. It is a 5.5-mile hike from the Palomarin trailhead in the southern part of Point Reyes. It is one of the most beautiful, remote white sand beaches in California and a popular place for horseback riding.


Tomales Bay State Park
Star Route
Inverness, CA 94937
415-669-1140
www.parks.ca.gov/parkindex

Tomales Bay State Park

The 2,000-acre day-use park features four gently sloping, surf-free beaches, protected from winds by Inverness Ridge, the backbone of the Point Reyes Peninsula. The park has hiking trails and is a popular place for picnics, swimming, clamming and boating.