If you're a nature AND a food lover, here are three places in Marin County that offer the best of both worlds.
1. Muir Woods National Monument
If you're looking to immerse yourself in the serene beauty of nature, Muir Woods is the place to do it. The Japanese call this shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing.
Twelve miles north of San Francisco, the 6 miles of paved and boardwalk pathways lead 'forest-bathers' through old growth redwood groves where banana slugs, ferns and peace reign. The Main Trail wends along a 2-mile loop through 700 year old giants redwoods shrouded in fog, over Redwood Creek to Hillside Trail.
Part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, over 1 million people visit Muir Wood annually.
Nine miles away at Stinson Beach, the Siren Cafe serves up a casual atmosphere, ocean views, juicy burgers, tilapia tacos and an impressive wine and beer list.
2. Mount Tamalpais State Park
At 2,571 feet, Mount Tamalpais is Marin County's highest point. With copses of redwood trees, meadows overflowing with wildflowers and oak woodlands, Mount Tam offers incredible photo opportunities at every turn.
A favorite among serious hikers, those who wish to enjoy a more leisurely stroll can take the .7 mile Verna Dunshee Trail, a loop that encircles the east peak. With vistas that include Ocean Beach, the Farallon Islands, wine country and Richardson Bay, this peaceful path serves up all nature has to offer.
Take a short 11-mile drive into Mill Valley and dine at Molina. Their seasonal fare includes king salmon and scrumptious wood fired foods.
3. Point Reyes National Seashore
A triangular peninsula that juts into the Pacific, Point Reyes National Seashore encompasses 100 square miles of bluffs, sea stacks, forests and untamed landscape.
Abbotts Lagoon Trail is a 2 mile trail that meanders through the native habitats of quail, osprey, river otters and jackrabbits, up, over and through dunes, lagoons and driftwood piles to the Great Beach.
When you're ready to indulge in a hearty meal, head to the Saltwater Oyster Depot overlooking Tamales Bay in Inverness. Their locally sourced oysters head the menu (hence their name) but they also offer rockfish and BBQ pork ribs among other delicious choices.
Marin County is a treat for the senses, an ideal blend of nature, serenity and civilization.
Article excerpt from Via Magazine.