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The Novice Guide to Marin


Whether you’re traveling from near or far, Marin County is that hidden diamond of a trip that you are looking for.  Cradled on the sweeping scape of the San Francisco Bay Area. Nomadic tourists and California natives alike agree that it is an idyllic destination that can be for the entire family. Honeymooners, new parents, wanderlust aficionados — you name it and Marin has something for you.

For the B&B fan

Don’t let your next road trip be an uninspired stay at a motel serving up microwave complimentary meals.  Instead, be inspired by the fresh, sustainable food to table agriculture of Marin County.  Scenic solitude can be found at many of Marin’s locally owned bed-and-breakfast inns.

For example, at the AppleGarden Cottage in Tomales, you will find tasty homebrewed “Farmstead Cider” made with apples grown on their AppleGarden Farm.  You’ll be welcomed with a bottle along with a plate of local cheese and crackers on arrival.

Another example is the Bear Valley Inn.  If active living is your thing this may be the place for you.  It is surrounded by ample terrain for hiking, horseback riding and biking. The grounds feature a natural oasis where you can visit with chickens and roam the gardens when not exploring the surrounding terrain. 

These and many other Marin B&B’s are only a short and scenic 35-mile drive from San Francisco.

For the adventurous artist

There is no other place that better fits the motto “fresh air and art are good for your health” than Marin County.  For the burgeoning artist, the atmosphere at Ink.Paper.Plate, in Point Reyes Station, is surely a masterpiece. This unique studio and shop believes that the beauty, history and ambiance of an area like Marin can directly influence enjoyment of the art created therein, and has an abundance of interesting classes and workshops to prove it. Another not to be missed destination for artists and art lovers visiting Marin is Art Works Downtown in San Rafael.  This eclectic resource features a slew of collaborative meet-and-greets, lectures, and tutorial lessons in a constantly evolving showcase sure to inspire. Plan your visit around Art Works’ quintessential Art Walk — hosted the second Friday of every month in San Rafael — for a local knowledge visit to nearby studios, galleries and, of course, local wine (it is California, after all).

For the foodie

If you are obsessed with fresh farm-to-table bites and locally sourced meals, then organically oriented Marin is perfect for your inner chef. Newcomers should consider signing up for a Taste Marin Tour online. Each event cultivates the best in culinary tourism, whether being hosted at a brewery, winery or bar. Be sure to sign up for Taste Marin’s Food and Wine Club in advance and plot your next course. Another option for newbie foodies is The Fork, at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company — an educational, sensational experience including culinary classes, tastings and more by appointment only. Hands-on instruction and exclusively themed dinners set the perfect scene for kicking back, putting your feet up and chowing down.

For the perpetual parent

For families, art, vistas and healthy foods are not all that Marin offers.  Marin has plenty of kid-friendly activities that won’t cramp your culinary or creative style. The Bay Area Discovery Museum is a great place to start, including delightful discovery camps and scholastic tours that are actually fun for everyone. Naturally, if your children dig nature, then you definitely can’t miss The Marine Mammal Center either. This is not a zoo and will be unlike any animal park experience you have ever had.  Here a partnership between humans and nature is nourishing recovery and sustainability for the local marine wildlife.  Since visiting hours and tours are offered throughout the day, your little ones can get the perfect introduction to marine wildlife without breaking your budget. Best of all, you can even “adopt” a seal year round, which will keep you connected to the area long after you’ve returned home. Whales and elephant seals migrate by Marin annually offering even more fun and educational up close experiences for families to experience.

These are just some examples of where to stay and what to do in Marin County.  Just minutes from San Francisco on the sunny side of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin offers tourists and healthy-living enthusiasts nationwide a vacation destination like no other. Visitors find that they can jump into the Marin lifestyle with ease, and make memories that will surely last a lifetime … or at least until your next visit.

For all you need to plan your Marin County vacation, visit the Marin Convention & Visitor Bureau’s website or Facebook page.

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Wine CountryVisit Sonoma Wine Country. Eat, drink and converse like a local. Because when you're here, you're more than a guest, you're a new friend. Whether you want to sightsee, shop, dine, take in a show, relax or play (or all of the above), simply request our free Visitor Guide to help you get started.
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Bay AreaYour Bay Area Fun Starts Here. Explore San Francisco and the Napa/Sonoma wine country and stay in our affordable hotels. Attractions include Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Mare Island Historic Park, Jelly Belly factory, Sonoma Raceway, world-class golf, unique shopping, a thriving downtown arts & entertainment district, and direct ferry service to and from San Francisco!
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