6 Of The Best Things To Do In West Marin, California

If you find yourself in the Bay Area North of San Francisco and want to experience all that West Marin has to offer.

A friend of mine from Europe came to visit me in my family home in California a few weeks ago. It was her first time ever coming to the United States, and I was so excited to show her my home of West Marin. I wrote out a list of things that I knew she would like, things she would not have known to do in California if she were traveling on her own, without a local as her tour guide.

Marin, San Francisco
The hundreds of steps down to the lighthouse is worth it for this view. Photo: Zoe Zaleski

We had a wonderful trip and I feel like she truly got to see a side of California she would not have been able to see. Here are some of the many amazing things that made West Marin up in Northern California one of her favorite parts of the trip.

If you find yourself in the Bay Area North of San Francisco and want to experience all that West Marin has to offer, be sure to check out these amazing views activities.

1. Cheese tasting in West Marin.

Marin, San Francisco
Hod Island Oysters has a great space for bringing your own picnic to enjoy with their oysters. Photo: Zoe Zaleski

West Marin has lots to offer in terms of cuisine. With fantastic restaurants spread out between farms and sprinkled out around Tomales Bay, there are endless ways to get a great meal. One of my favorite things to do out in West Marin is to pack a delicious picnic and eat it next to a reservoir, Tomales Bay, or a wild and empty stretch of coastline.

There are numerous places to try delicious local cheeses in the area, so if you find yourself in West Marin hop between Nicasio Valley Cheese, Cowgirl Creamery, or Marin French Cheese Company. All of these locations offer cheese tastings, and sell bread and various items for the perfect picnic.

2. Eat oysters and picnic along Tomales Bay.

Marin, San Francisco
Eating oysters and freshly baked bread on Tomales Bay, West Marin. Photo: Zoe Zaleski

Out along Tomales Bay you will find tons of places to eat oysters. Some of the most well-known are Hog Island Oysters and Tomales Bay Oyster Company. Enjoy fresh oysters along the bay, and rent out a barbecue pit ahead of time to have your own picnic or barbecue out there.

3. Hike to Bass Lake.

Bass Lake is a gorgeous lake out in West Marin. The hike is a short 2.5 miles, with parts hugging the cliffs above the ocean and part under the eucalyptus and redwood forests. Continuing along the trail after the lake brings you to Wildcat campground, which is a great place to backpack to and spend the weekend.

4. Walk down 300+ steps to the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse.

Marin, San Francisco
Pt. Reyes Lighthouse looking out over the ocean. Photo: Zoe Zaleski

The Pt. Reyes Lighthouse is one of the must-see places in West Marin. The drive there is through wide open fields and ranches, where if you are lucky you can see whole herds of wild elk. Once there, the lighthouse is a historic and beautiful place with almost 360 degree views of the ocean. Blue whales have been spotted migrating from the steps down to the lighthouse, so if you go during whale season, be sure to keep your eyes out for any spouts or breaches!

5. Kayak on Tomales Bay with Bioluminescence.

Tomales Bay is a stunning bay that is special in that it gets bioluminescence regularly. Kayaking along the bay is a wonderful activity any time of day, and is a great way to see all of the beauty of West Marin in one place. However, if you are on the more adventurous side, kayak on the bay during the nighttime to experience bioluminescence all around you under the stars.

6. Catch a sunset on the Bolinas-Fairfax ridge.

Marin, San Francisco
Enjoying the sunset over the ridge. Photo: Zoe Zaleski

The Bolinas-Fairfax ridge brings hundreds of people every day and gives you stunning views of the rolling golden hills of California, San Francisco along the horizon, the beaches below and the valley behind you. If you pack a picnic, go up an hour or so before the sun sets to see the brilliance of sunset from one of the highest points in Marin County.

West Marin is a special place in that it has endless ways to immerse yourself in nature. So, if you want to enjoy all that West Marin has to offer, spend some time kayaking, picnicking, cheese tasting, hiking, swimming, and more out in West Marin.

Marin, San Francisco
The rolling golden hills of California up on the Bolinas-Fairfax Ridge. Photo: Zoe Zaleski

Zoe has grown up in West Marin for most of her childhood.

Zoe Zaleski

Zoe has been an avid traveler her whole life. She grew up in California, has lived in Spain, and is currently living in South Africa. Zoe has traveled to over twenty countries, and does not plan on stopping any time soon. She loves being outdoors, and her passions include photography, diving, backpacking, and rock climbing.

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