Marin Beaches

Marin County Beaches

There is more to Marin than the San Francisco Skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the majestic big trees of Muir Woods.   Marin is a peninsula that is surrounded by water with an incredible Mt. Tamalpais Mountain and ridgline it's inner heart.  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 Vista House, its a good idea to get out and explore one of Marin's beaches.

Marin has a variety of beaches, great for beach combing, tide-pooling, wave-watching, bird watching, sun bathing, kayaking, boating, and even hang gliding.  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 (25 minutes from home), which is directly on the Pacific Ocean, offering many activities from skimming, volleyball, to surfing.
Stinson Beach, Marin County, California.
(Stinson Beach, facing Bolinas)
The closest beach to the Marin Vista House 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.


  • Wonderful gem! Great Hiking, Mountain. Biking, Scenery, marshlands, nature watching, etc.. Fun!
  • 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.
  • Sausalito: (15 minutes, Bay and Pacific Coastline)
    • 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 & Mountain 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)!

  • Stinson Beach: (​25 minute drive from Marin Vista House (Beautiful drive over Mt. Tam!))
    • ​Surfing, Volleyball, Frisbee, and Skimming
    • Cute town  with small grocer, restaurant, boutiques, and iconic surf shop.
    • Very serene & happening beach, omplete with Kiosk
  • Angel Island: (15 minute drive to Tiburon from home, then 8 minute Ferry Ride)
    • Angel Island State Park, Tiburon, CA 94920  W
    • ebsite:
      • Incredible island on the San Francisco Bay! Great beach cove! Fantastic 360 degree Views! Ferry ride is very comfortable, you can take a bike. Nice Kiosk 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 15 minutes from the Marin Vista House) to Angel Island-  Awesome experience for the whole family! For ferry information, please visit


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


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

Beaches in Marin along the Pacific Coastline

Note:  Fill up gas tank before heading out to West Marin / pacific Coastline beaches - no gas stations once over Mt. Tamalpais!

Stinson Beach:

  • 25 minute drive from Marin Vista House (Beautiful drive over Mt. Tam!)
  • Very serene & happening beach, omplete with Kiosk
  • Cute town  with small grocer, restaurant, boutiques, and iconic surf shop.
  • Surfing, Volleyball, Frisbee, and Skimming

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:

  • 35-45 minute drive.

Muir Beach: 34 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!

Note:  Please when considering going to the beach:

--> !! 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: for more information.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area / Marin Headlands   
Marin Headlands Visitor Center
Fort Barry, Building 948, Sausalito. CA 94965

  • renowned destinations are part of this Area:  Alcatraz and Muir Woods, for example –
  • Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, and many hiking and biking venues  that are scattered to the north and south of the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Beaches:  Muir Beach, Stinson Beach and many remote!
  • Map of trails and beaches, please visit:

McNears Beach Park
201 Cantera Way
San Rafael, CA 94901

  • 55 acres located off south San Pedro Road along the shore of San Pablo Bay/San Fancsico Bay.
  • offers:
    • seasonal swimming pool
    • tennis courts
    • family and group picnic areas (available by reservation)
    • sandy beach
    • lawn areas
    • seasonal snack bar
    • 500 foot long fishing pier.
  • Day use fee required


Muir Beach & Muir Beach Overlook

  • sheltered cove with a sandy beach
  • lots of privacy.
  • 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.
  • Picnic area provided and watch migrating whales in the winter.

Muir Beach Overlook used to be a U.S. Army coastal observation post and has spectacular coastal views. 


Paradise Beach Park
3450 Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA. 94920

  • Family and group picnic areas-available by reservation,
  • lawn areas, a
  • horseshoe court,
  • sandy beach
  • fishing pier
    • boaters can anchor out and row ashore to picnic :)
  • Day use fee required


Point Reyes National Seashore:   

  • 415-464-5100
  • Established to preserve and protect wilderness, natural eco-systems, and cultural resources along the diminishing undeveloped coastline of the western United States. 
  • 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.
  • Located about 30 miles north of San Francisco, in Marin,
  • Operating Hours & Seasons: O
    • pen 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
        • 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.

Tomales Bay State Park
Star Route
Inverness, CA 94937

  • The 2,000-acre day-use park features four gently sloping, surf-free beaches
  • hiking trails
  • picnics, swimming, clamming and boating

Beaches in San Francisco, but nearby:

Baker BeachNude Beach on one side(separated by cliff)!! 16 minutes from home

  • Over the Golden Gate - great Golden Gate bridge scenery, among other things...


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