While it’s nice to live in a place like the Bay Area where there are tons of events going on, restaurants opening, museums to wander through, and generally be in the throes of full-on city life, it can be overwhelming and we can all sometimes feel like we need to leave the city just for a day to escape it all.
The great thing about the Bay Area is that while it is very urbanized, we aren’t far at all from some good day trip destinations, such as West Marin.
Being a mere hour and a half drive from the San Francisco and most of the East Bay, West Marin has a very relaxed vibe and plenty of outdoorsy activities that make it perfect for a weekend or even just a day away from the hustle and bustle of city life. First off, it’s worth mentioning that the drive alone to Pt. Reyes and most of West Marin is an activity in and of itself. Whether you take Lucas Valley Road or Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, the scenery is beautiful, especially if you are fond of Redwood trees.
I think that most of us in the Bay Area are used to a certain standard when it comes to food and restaurants, and while West Marin is somewhat secluded, it has its share of incredible food. One of the gems of the area is Cowgirl Creamery, located right in Pt. Reyes Station. At the you can take a cheesemaking class where you learn the ins and outs of how Cowgirl makes their incredible cheeses, buy sandwiches at the in-house deli, and get cheese from both Cowgirl and other creameries from the US and Europe at the cheese counter.
If you’re more interested in a sweet treat, check out Bovine Bakery, which just so happens to be a few doors down from Cowgirl Creamery. We’d recommend getting a morning bun from Bovine, they are one of the richest but most delicious baked goods you will ever try! And while you’re wandering around Pt Reyes Station, go check out Gallery Route One, which exhibits an array of art from local artists. If there’s one thing West Marin is known for in the food world, it’s oysters. Saltwater, a restaurant located in the tiny town of Inverness (a few miles down on Sir Francis Drake from Pt. Reyes Station), specializes in food inspired by what is made and grown in West Marin. You cannot go wrong with anything on the menu, but if nothing else, get yourself a plate of locally harvested oysters.
Besides food and art, West Marin is probably best known for its beautiful landscape and hiking trails. A big part of Tomales Bay itself is part of the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, which is a vast area of protected land all along the coast of West Marin. One of the best hikes to do along the National Seashore is the hike to the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse. Not only is the hike pretty easy, but the views you get are incredible. The 105 year old lighthouse is accessible to the public Friday through Monday of every week (weather permitting) and above the lighthouse, there is an observation deck where you can often spot whales.
// If you have a day off during the busy upcoming holiday season, make a trip out to West Marin and hopefully it’ll serve as a good escape from the busyness of city life.