Marin Nature/Learning Sites

Marin Attractions & Envirotourism

Marin is full of fantastic natural attractions.  When visiting Marin, enjoy the Golden Gate Recreation Area: A national park system that includes the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Marin Headlands, and miles upon miles of recreational open space! Marin is also home to magnificent Muir Woods National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore, Mount Tamalpais State Recreation area, Samuel P. Taylor State Park, Olompali State Park , China Camp State Park , Angel Island, and even famous Alcatraz , on the San Francisco Bay!

From Marin Headlands, looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge tower, & behind left, famous Alcatraz Island.


Encompassing both sides of the Golden Gate Bridge, including thousands of acres of open space, this recreation area presents exceptional recreational and nature observing oppurtunities! On the San Francisco Side, enjoy Chrissy Field, on the Marin side gasp in awe as you stare at the city and the bridge from Marin Headlands! Both sides of the Golden Gate Bridge are very popular places to take photographs of this famous bridge and the natural landscape it incorporates.

The Marin County side of the Golden Gate is one of the most postcard views one can imagine of the bridge and the San Francisco skyline. Additionally, it is home to rough edged tidal cliffs, open land, quaint towns and farms.

This region is also known as the start of the "Redwood Empire". Home to the worlds tallest trees, the Giant Redwood- visit Muir Woods, and be inspired, if not amazed.

Redwood Trees average lifespan is 500 yrs old, but can be as old as 2,500 yrs!

Muir Woods: A national monument, celebrating the beauty of the magnificent Old Growth Redwoods in honor of John Muir, a man who fought hard to save some of America’s national treasures, such as Yosemite.

Alcatraz Island:  Though technically not part of Marin, it is a part of it's everyday views.  Alcatraz sits in the middle of San Francisco Bay, between San Francisco, and Marin County.  If planning on visiting Alcatraz, be sure to make a reservation early!

 Angel Island:  Grab the Ferry from Tiburon and bring your bike! This island is recreational, vista paradise! Enjoy numerous Ayala Cove’s sandy beach, picturesque boats, and a great Café.

 Marin Headlands:  Unbelievable views of San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, and the bay. Post Card perfect!

 Pt. Bonita Light House: Looks out towards the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate.  Mt Tamalpais State Recreation Area: Besides numerous hiking trails and plenty of camping sites, it is the best place to enjoy some Marin County views.
  • The Lighthouse stairs, the exhibits in the lower Lighthouse chamber, and the Equipment Building  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.

 Accessible non-profit museums & nature / animal preserves:


  • Bay Area Discovery Museum
    • An indoor/outdoor family museaum that offers numerous activities for children 8 & younger that explore hands-on art & science in a fun, educational style. The views are fantastic of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge.


  • Marine Mammal Center 
    • Located along the beachside of Cronkite / Rodeo Beach in Marin. This facilities function is to rescue and rehabilitate ocean species for release into the wild when able, if possible. Examples of ocean animals rescued along the Pacific Coast of the western U.S. and rehabilitated at the center include the California Sea Lion, Northern Elephant Seal, the Pacific Harbor Seal, dolphins, stranded Whales, and Sea Otters.


  • Richardson Bay Audubon Society:


  • Mission San Rafael Arcangel:  Named after the Angel of Healing, this mission was built as a hospital.


  • Audobon Canyon Ranch: Preserves, protects & manages properties as sanctuaries for native plants and animals.


  • Bolinas Preserve Lagoon
    • A 1,000 acre wildlife preserve that supports a major heronry of Great Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets. The egrets and herons nesting at Bolinas Lagoon Preserve are a main attraction of this preserve, but you can also find black-tail deer, bobcat, badger, gray fox, raccoon, brush rabbit, meadow mouse, etc. There are also numerous landbirds, reptiles, and amphibians. The Preserve's frontage along Bolinas Lagoon brings more than 60 species of water and shore birds into view - from sandpipers to osprey to pelicans - as well as some of the resident harbor seals.


  • Bouverie Preserve
    • Amazing display of spring wildflowers at this preserve. It is a 500acre preserve that is home to a rich and distinct population of plants and animals. There are over 130 species of birds, 350 species of flowering plants, and many animals such as the bobcat, grey fox, and coyote.



  • Wildcare
    • A truly urban wildlife rehabilitation center, located near downtown San Rafael—Marin’s largest city. WildCare’s mission: “to advocate wildlife for a sustainable world, through nature education, wildlife rehabilitation and community outreach”.
      • Visit Wildcare to learn about animals in the area and to visit those animals that could not be set out in the wild again. Each day at around 12pm, visit and watch the animals get fed. A great activity with kids!
      • Wildcare - If find a wild animal that is in need of help, take it here!