Whether you live in San Francisco, North, East, or South Bay, one of your best bets for beautiful scenery and a wealth of active options is to head West. In particular, West Marin County is one of the go-to destinations in the Bay Area for hiking, biking and picnics. But while most people will fight the crowds on Mt. Tamalpais, the county is full of other wonderful locations. So when you see the Mill Valley "parking lot full" sign, it's time to head out to some lesser-known, tucked away spots around West Marin to get your outdoor fix for the weekend. Here are some of our favorites.
Nestled back behind the Marin Civic Center, on the shores of San Pablo Bay, sits China Camp State Park. Originally a flourishing Chinese fishing village, you can visit some restored buildings from the 1930's era village and the China Camp museum. Picnic tables, barbeque grills and restrooms are available, and the views across San Pablo Bay are sublime. There's even a small beach to get your feet wet. Take a chilled bottle of our Rosebud Rosé and raise a glass to this small slice of Bay Area history. Click here for more information.
Angel Island is the largest island in the San Francisco Bay, yet it is often overlooked as a day trip destination. Another State Park, it offers some of the Bay's best views, great hiking trails, numerous recreational activities and lots of historical interest. Jump on the ferry from Tiburon, San Francisco or Vallejo; throw your bikes on or just bring a picnic of French bread, our Artichoke Lemon Bruschetta and maybe a grill (no barbeques available in this park). Picnic tables are a short walk from the ferry dock, and the more protected beaches are at Quarry Point and Ayala Cove. Click here for more information.
In the Point Reyes National Seashore, west of the village of Olema, Bear Valley is a hiker's paradise, and when you're ready for lunch, head to the Bear Valley Visitors Center where you'll find picnic tables, charcoal grills, restrooms and plenty of information about Pt. Reyes history, geology and recreational options. An easy hike takes you to a replica of a Coast Miwok Native American village. Our Savory Fig Jam spread on some local blue cheese would taste great here. Click here for more information.
There are endless picnic options in the Point Reyes National Seashore. But along with Bear Valley, Drake's Beach definitely makes our short list. Picnic tables and grills are available near the visitor's center, but perhaps the best approach is to grab a blanket (one for the sand and even though Drake's is relatively protected from the bay winds, one for you and yours), a bottle of Evening Standard Pinot Noir and head for the beach. The views are unbeatable, and while it's one of the better known spots on this list, you won't have a problem finding a nice secluded spot. Unless, that is, you arrive during the Annual Sand Sculpture Contest.
No list of iconic Marin County spots would be complete without including this stunning location. The Headlands stretch from the Golden Gate Bridge to Point Bonita Lighthouse, and there isn't an inch along here that doesn't dazzle. The views, of course, are a big draw, but there's so much more to explore here that one day trip won't do it. Picnic spots abound here; grab some Traditional Blend Olive Oil and a baguette for dipping and find your picnic bliss. Click here for more information.
You could do worse than joining us at the Ranch for a picnic! While we can't allow outside food on the ranch premises, we offer a Summer Picnic Experience with carefully curated wine and food pairings, comfortable outdoor seating, friendly hospitality, serene surroundings, and views for miles. Come join us!