Past the Golden Gate Bridge lies the hidden gems of North Bay’s finest sites, eats, and places to well… play. Our editor’s guide will give you a well-rounded tour that could last multiple days on end. All in all, happy travels.
Point Reyes National Seashore // 1 Bear Valley Road
Besides being the majestic coastal ecological preserve that it is, the park contains many sights, landmarks and hiking trails. But first, a stop by the Bear Valley Visitors Center is in order. Learn about the park’s history, view the exhibits, and get a navigational low down on the roads and trails of the park’s 71+ thousand acres. Point Reyes Lighthouse, Drake’s Estuary, and Alamere Falls are popular destinations. Keep an eye out for roaming Tule Elk and birds of prey. Take the West Marin Stagecoach, which offers two lines - Sausalito to Bolinas and San Rafael to Inverness. Both provide transport to many trailheads.
Marin Country Mart // 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle
This lively complex, full of northern Californian vibes is a one stop shop for dining and entertainment. Boutiques include Erica Tanov,
Nicasio Valley Cheese Company // 5300 Nicasio Valley Road
This lauded creamery is a must stop through West Marin. Explore the tasting room to your heart’s desire and sample the many award-winning cheeses, including the Foggy Morning - named the best Fromage Blanc style cheese made in North America. Using only the freshest organic morning milk from the family’s pasture-based Lafranchi Ranch, the product is truly a reflection of their sustainable practices - the ripening rooms are repurposed shipping containers. The creamery’s shop also sells jams, crackers, and other local artisan fare to go along with their cheeses - grab whichever tickles your fancy and enjoy outside under the umbrellas or after a nearby picnic hike.
Heidrun Meadery // 11925 CA-1, Point Reyes Station
Sparkling mead for everyone! Take a tour of this stunning honey-centric operation and witness the entire process for yourself. Observe the bee hives, take in the many floral varieties that the bees are dependent on, and of course taste test the different mead flavors - our favorite is the California Orange Blossom. On our last visit, the meadery was hosting some adorable and sustainable guests - the largest west coast flock of rare Ouessant sheep, The Stargazers which are part of The Fibershed Project.
Marin Sun Farms // 10905 Shoreline Hwy, Point Reyes Station
At the heart of Marin Sun Farms is keeping the integrity of the California Foodshed. By working with local family farms along the Point Reyes National Seashore that retain sustainable land management, utilizing the last abattoir in the bay area, and whole animal butchery, this process creates better practices and products from the field to your table. Both butcher shop and restaurant, this location represents the benefits of grass fed meat operations. Besides ordering from the menu, diners can select cuts from the butcher counter. Our pick for a perfect carnivorous meal is the beef burger with gruyere and pork bacon. And for dessert go for the Water buffalo milk gelato!
Sol Food // 903 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael
What started as a humble stand at the San Rafael farmers’ market, Sol Food has sprouted multiple north bay locations and a fierce loyal following. This Puerto Rican fare is the real deal, with a combination of fresh ingredients and old school recipes, the result is some very addictive food. Go for the Bistec sandwich or any of the hearty platters. Pick up their bottled secret sauces to bring home at the bodega next to the San Rafael location. And don’t forget to ask about the daily specials!
Mount Tamalpais State Park // 3801 Panoramic Hwy, Mill Valley
Mount Tam has over 200 miles of trails to explore but is also perfect for a leisurely walk, afternoon picnics or some excellent photo ops with Karl the Fog! Drive to the East Peak summit and walk the paved Verna Dunshee Loop Trail which provides stunning lookout points of the entire bay area. One of our favorite Tam hikes is the Matt Davis loop trail, which leads through old growth redwood forest, steep canyons with waterfalls,
123 Bolinas // 123 Bolinas Road, Fairfax
Nestled in the charming town of Fairfax, this cozy wine bar turned restaurant is tastefully filled with local art and is all about comfort, prime seasonal ingredients, and a killer wine and brew list to boot. Try the summery heirloom tomato and uni salad, the root vegetable lasagna or pork the lardons pizza.
Tam Junction // 251 Shoreline Hwy, Mill Valley
This cluster of vendors situated right on Shoreline Highway, in between Mount Tam and Mill Valley is anchored by Proof Lab Surf & Skate Shop with an indoor skate park and Americana-centric outdoor gear supply, Proof Lab Station. Alongside is Alpha Dog Lodging - a dog daycare and boarding facility, Mill Valley Potter’s Studio, CNL Native Plant Nursery, Magic West Music School, and Proof Lab even provides a biodiesel pump! Tam junction is also home to the first location of Equator Coffee & Teas, which now has multiple spots across the bay area.
Hog Island Oyster Farm // 20215 Shoreline Hwy, Marshall
Named after the island in Tomales Bay, Hog Island Oyster Farm has become the top place to shuck over the past thirty years. Enjoy raw or BBQ oysters along with local fare at The Boat Oyster Bar, bring your friends and some brews and have a shuck-your-own picnic (reservations are required) or grab some shellfish to go on your way back to the city.