Our favorite hotels, views and must-see areas of Marin.
Photos by Tim Porter
A Great Stay
When friends from out of town ask us where to stay when visiting San Francisco, our answer is simple: Marin! These hotels, with their water views, are the reason why.
39) Acqua: Right on Richardson Bay in Mill Valley, walking distance from Bothin Marsh; the city and Napa/Sonoma are a quick drive away. marinhotels.com/acqua-hotel/home
40) The Inn Above Tide: The name says it all. Directly over the water in Sausalito, it has 29 rooms with views ranging from sunrise over the Bay Bridge to sunset past the Golden Gate. innabovetide.com
41) Water’s Edge: Only 23 rooms, all of them just steps from the Tiburon ferry, the deck at Sam’s or a stroll around Belvedere Island. marinhotels.com/waters-edge-hotel/home
42) Cavallo Point: Destination hotel at Fort Baker in Sausalito. Historic rooms in refurbished military quarters, contemporary suites with Golden Gate views, spa, restaurant, cooking school and, of course, Farley Bar. cavallopoint.com
43) Casa Madrona: A Bridgeway landmark in Sausalito since 1885. For a sense of history, stay in a renovated cottage high on the hill. After a day of heavy touristing, unwind in the recently added spa. casamadrona.com
Million Dollar View
44) The next time you stand atop one of the blustery promontories of the Marin Headlands, savoring the saltiness of the sea air and marveling at the distant peaks of San Bruno Mountain, Mount Diablo or even our own Mount Tamalpais, put down your camera, set aside your wonder and take a moment to give thanks to the local folks who back in the 1960s sued to block a Pennsylvania developer and a big oil company from building a suburb for 30,000 people atop these magnificent bluffs. The lawsuit, filed by lawyers Douglas Ferguson, Bob Praetzel and Marty Rosen, triggered a series of other setbacks for the 2,000-acre project that eventually allowed the Nature Conservancy to buy the land in 1972 for $6.5 million and give it to the newly formed Golden Gate National Recreational Area, which manages it today.
The phrase “million-dollar view” doesn’t mean much in Marin, where a even post-recession rancher in a decent neighborhood can fetch that much. But a $6.5 million view? Yeah, that’s still something.
So when you see that view from the Headlands, remember why it’s still there. nps.gov/goga/marin-headlands.htm
Marin is known for its generous amount of open space, but some of its best public spaces, where locals gather on their daily rounds, are in the middle of town.
45) Depot Plaza: A genuine town square (pictured) paved in red brick, rimmed by shops, eateries and redwoods, and populated by an eclectic mix of weekday regulars, weekending Mill Valley families and envious tourists.
46) Shoreline Park: A stretch of inviting grass bordering the Tiburon waterfront from Paradise Drive to downtown. Bay views galore, from Angel Island to the Golden Gate. Located at the foot of Tiburon ferry. Looking to make it a picnic? Shark’s Deli is two blocks away. ci.tiburon.ca.us
47) Toby’s Feed Barn: The geographic and cultural center of Point Reyes Station. Locals caffeinate at the Coffee Bar, savor the sun in Adirondack chairs and ignore the tourists shopping for T-shirts and gawking at the hay bales that still fill the barn. tobysfeedbarn.com
Marin attracts 13 million tourists a year, and while locals tend to stay out of their way, some of the tourists’ favorite places are ours as well.
48) Muir Woods: The big trees are still there even when the outof- towners aren’t (pictured). Go early, watch the rising sun creep into the redwoods, or put on the Gore-Tex and soak in the dripping eeriness on a wet winter day. nps.gov/muwo
49) Mount Tamalpais: Do we really have to tell you to walk, bike or drive to the top of Marin’s magical mountain as often as you can? Do we? Really? OK, we’ve done it. Now go. parks. ca.gov
50) Bridgeway: Yeah, Sausalito’s main drag is crammed with bike-renting auslanders, but venture forth amid the horde and find great food at Poggio and Copita, engaging art at the Hanson Gallery and an eight-figure view across the bay, yours for the walking. ci.sausalito.ca.us