Beach Lover’s Guide to Marin County

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Above: Stinson Beach

Posted in Blogging Marin on Monday, May 8, 2017 by MCVB Staff

By Megan Eileen McDonough

 

With summer around the corner, now is the perfect time to start planning your beach getaway to Marin. That said, with so many beaches to choose from, picking the right one for your travel style can feel daunting. Instead of trying to see them all, opt for the beach that suits your personality.

 

From mile-long hikes and wildlife spotting to water sports and pet-friendly walks, here’s a beginner’s guide to Marin’s best beaches.

 

For Hikes and Long Walks: Rodeo Beach

 

Hikers have long been going to Rodeo Beach, and for good reason. Despite feeling worlds apart from the bustling streets of San Francisco, Rodeo Beach is only a few minutes’ walk from a MUNI bus. If you’re up for a challenge and ready for a full-blown hike, the nine-mile Rodeo Valley Trail that weaves through Marin is a great route for reaching the beach. Once there, bundle up with your sweetie under a blanket, as the fog from the city can add a chill. 

 

For Wildlife Spotting: Limantour Beach

 

Marin is home to some hundreds of avian species, and Limantour Beach (part of Point Reyes) is one of the best places to see these creatures in action. From the beach, you’ll be able to spot several birds in the distance (they never get too close). Then there are the harbor seals that call Limantour Beach home. A bit less common, but just as impressive, are the gray whales who nurse their young calves. Bring your camera so you can zoom in on the details.

 

For Water Sports: 101 Surf Sports

 

While technically not a beach, 101 Surf Sports in San Rafael is the go-to spot for all water sporting in Marin County. The school and rental shop, conveniently located along the water, teaches beginner classes for five major water sports: surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kitesurfing, kayaking and windsurfing. For some of the sports, like SUP and kayaking, you can sign up for a guided tour that takes you through the surrounding landscape.

 

For Dogs: Dillon Beach

 

When it comes to pet-friendly beaches in Marin, you have several options. That said, Dillon Beach, located in the northern part of Marin County, is one of the most popular among dog owners. Dogs are allowed off-leash between the tide line and the water. Of course, leashes are required from the parking lot to the high tide for safety purposes. Best of all, this is a pretty cheap outing, costing only $5 per vehicle.

 

For Family Fun: Muir Beach

 

If you are traveling with the kiddies, they’ll love the soft sand and warm lagoon at Muir Beach. A good starting (or ending) point is the Muir Beach Overlook, as the views are pretty stunning both by day and at night. Then, head to the beach for an afternoon of sandcastle building, wading in the water and plenty of people-watching. Many families stock up on snacks at the Pelican Inn so they can set up a picnic later in the day.

 

For Picnics: Stinson Beach

 

Speaking of picnics, Stinson Beach is a go-to spot for lazy days by the beach. Located on Bolinas Bay, it’s a perfect pitstop for afternoon picnics and maybe even a sunset Champagne toast. Even on crowded days, there’s usually ample room to lay out your picnic blanket. Stinson Beach is one of the more popular beaches for swimming, so make sure to get your feet wet before indulging in all those decadent treats.

 

For all you need to plan your Marin County vacation, visit the Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website or Facebook page, or download the mobile app.