From inland all the way to the coast, with killer views and luscious landscapes, here are the best places to go on an outdoor adventure in Marin County.
On hot summer days, The Inkwells are the best place to go for a cool swim in a natural pool. One of the best things about it is its secluded spot nestled between huge trees, smooth rocks, and a bridge that overlooks the pools. You can soak up the sunshine while lying out on the warm rocks, and then take a dip in the cool waters of these amazing little pools. The Inkwells are located along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Kentfield, near Samuel P. Taylor State Park.
Hippie Tree is nestled in the hills surrounded by lavish homes in Tiburon. If you are looking for a spot with an amazing view, this is it! Go ahead and sit on the rope swing attached to the tree and overlook the city of San Francisco and Sausalito. For an even better view, go during sunset and see the amazing golden light hit the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. To get to Hippie Tree, park on Gilmartin Drive and take the trail to your left right next to the traffic mirror. Walk up that trail, and once you get to the end, turn left and you will see Hippie Tree.
If you can’t decide between going on a hike or going to the beach, head to Tennessee Valley for the best of both worlds. On this trail, you can trek 30 minutes straight to the beach. Once you get to the beach, you can go up the stairs to your left and climb up the hill to a bunker and get a 360-degree view of the beautiful ocean. If you want an intense workout, there are multiple other routes along the main trail that you can take as well. Be sure to take some water with you — on hot days the hiking can get tough!
Indian Tree Preserve
For a hiking adventure, Indian Tree Preserve is the best place to go. On this hike, you will be surrounded by quiet since it is not a well-known area, even to the locals. Here, you can experience the nature that Northern California is most famous for — redwoods! Along the trail, there are beautiful wildflowers, oak trees, and even a grove of beautiful redwood trees at the top of the mountain. From the main trail, there are multiple other trails you can take, but to see the redwoods, head onto the Big Trees Trail.
If you happen to be at the Marin Headlands checking out the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, head over to Fort Cronkhite for a different view of the coast and some military buildings. You can stay at the top of the hill and enjoy the view, head down to Rodeo Beach and layout in the sun, or jump in the ocean and catch some waves! Fort Cronkhite also has some amazing history! You can check out the military posts that have been around since World War II.
Old St. Hilary’s
Old St. Hilary’s has a view different than most you see in Marin County. This beautiful white chapel, built in the late 1800s, can be found on a hillside overlooking Belvedere, Angel Island, and the bay. You can sit atop this hill and enjoy the contrast of the white chapel against the blue waters behind it, or take a look around at the many flowers growing along the hillside. This chapel is a popular location for weddings as well as photographers who capture the beauty of this small hillside chapel.
Point Bonita Lighthouse
Point Bonita Lighthouse can be found at the end of a steep half-mile trail, where your reward for the hike is an amazing view. This active lighthouse, which was built in the mid-1800s, can be found nestled between cliffs overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. At the end of the trail, you will find a path to a suspended bridge that leads to the end of the cliff where the lighthouse is located. Old army buildings also surround this area.
Muir Beach Overlook
At Muir Beach Overlook, you can stand at a cliff at what seems to be the edge of the world. Surrounded by cliffs and ocean views, this is the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing picnic — just be careful because it does get windy here! Once you park, you can walk along the gravel path leading to the very edge of a cliff. At the end, the ground is leveled out and has wooden railings so you can relax and take in the view of cliffs on both sides of you and behind you, and the beautiful blue ocean right in front of you. It really does feel like you are standing at the edge of the world.
Agate Beach is the perfect beach to go to if you are in the mood to do a little bit of exploring. You can sit back, relax, and enjoy the beach, or when the tide is low, feel free to explore the life you find in the tidal pools throughout the beach. It is part of a Marine Reserve, a place abundant with shells, rocks, and marine life. You can even hike up to the top of the cliffs surrounding the beach to get a view of the beach from above.
For a relaxing hike, Ring Mountain is the place to go. You can start off on Paradise Drive and take the Phyllis Ellman Loop Trail that leads straight to the top. You will find windswept, grassy slopes dotted with wildflowers all around. Spread out before you is a beautiful, calming view of the Bay Area. Throughout this two-mile hike, you can marvel at the beautiful landscape, view all the different types of flowers along the hillside, and climb the boulders you see on your way.
By Hully Fonseca
Hully Fonseca is 22 years old and currently attends San Francisco State University where she is studying Communications. When she is not in school, you can find her working in Sonoma County, buried deep in a book, hiking, or photographing, Visit her Instagram at instagram.com/hullyfonseca and Facebook at facebook.com/hully.fonseca
Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.