West Marin, California
A weekend of oysters and ocean breezes
- More about your oliver guide: deborah seidner
- Trip type: Adult, Beach
- Activity level: easy
- Ideal length of trip: 3 days
to & from
It’s drivable but if you’re too far to drive or don’t want to drive, fly in to SFO and rent a car. It’s about an hour and a half from there by car.
Where to Stay
We stayed at a beautiful VRBO. It was dog friendly and stocked with everything, including games and things for kids to keep busy with. The house itself it fantastic. Windows all over the place so that you never miss out on the stunning scenery that surrounds (you feel like you are in the middle of the mountains!), radiant heating, outdoor shower, hot tub, incredibly well-stocked kitchen, super comfy bed and gracious, friendly hosts. It is completely relaxing, cozy, beautiful and all of the amenities make you feel really spoiled. It is located in Inverness, which is tranquil and so beautiful that you feel immediately captivated. We couldn’t bare to leave once we arrived, so we made dinner “at home” the first night night.
Where to Eat and Drink
- Nick’s Cove (the Bloody Marys are fantastic!),
- Tomales Bay Oyster Company (buy oysters right out of the water and shuck them yourself right there!)
- Hog Island Oyster (be sure to make reservations!)
- Tony’s Seafood (same owners as Hog Island crew)
- The Marshall Store
- Saltwater (nice for dinner)
- For lunch or a snack or some great cheese (Cowgirl Creamery cheese!) visit Tomales Bay Foods. You can sit out back and have a little picnic.
What to Do
The main point of our trip to West Marin was to eat as many oysters as possible. We didn’t do a lot of active things, but there is a lot to do. There is kayaking, hiking, biking…many outdoorsy choices.
- We visited Heidrun Meadery, which is beautiful and makes delicious mead. They use the honey from their own bees in their mead.
- Another great food related option is West Marin Food and Farm Tours . They offer cheese tours, oyster based tours, distillery tours, cooking classes or you can customize your own experience.
- If you have your dog with you, visit Dillon Beach . There is a $10 parking fee, but it’s worth it to let your dog run around off-leash on a nice beach.
Oysters, oysters, oysters. If you love oysters but have a hard time finding fresh oysters near you, this is worth it just for that. It is also stunningly beautiful around here with lots to do outdoors. There are lighthouses, beaches, hiking, bird watching, biking, paddle boarding and kayaking. I’d avoid during the fourth of July, as this small area swells with tourists and it’s hard to enjoy the landscape and beauty that this little area has to offer. If you have a convertible, I’d bring it. This is exactly the type of place you’d want to drive around with the wind in your hair.
What to Pack
West Marin is a relaxed place. Shorts, jeans and tennies will do for daytime. It can be hot and sunny, so be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen, and flip-flops or water-friendly shoes, like Keens. Dinner, depending on where you go, wouldn’t be anything more than nicer jeans, cute flats and a nice blouse or sweater.
Marin County is across the Golden Gate Strait, which connects the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Here you will find the Marin Headlands, (which has views of the Golden Gate Bridge), many trails and the Point Bonita Lighthouse. Just north are the giant redwoods (Muir Woods National Monument). There is also Mount Tamalpais State Park which offers incredible panoramic views. If you continue north, you’ll arrive at Bodega Bay (where “The Birds” was filmed). Inland from Bodega Bay is Napa, and you could start this trip by landing in San Francisco, heading to Marin and then after a few days, make your way up the coast, then inland, ending in Napa.