Stinson Beach for Sun and Hikes
My husband’s family has rented the same incredible 5-bedroom home on the beach two summers in a row. That’s what you do in Stinson, you head to the beach.
The public beach is enormous with access to food and spirits. The water never gets too warm, but there are always people up and down enjoying the sand and enjoying the calm waves. You’ll find active sea life and water sport activity, but, again, you come to cruise up and down the beach, by foot preferably. I spent hours picking up sea glass, sand dollars and an assortment of gorgeous rocks and shells.
Once your feet are coated in sand, you can head to the hills and bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The hiking around Stinson is accessible, of varying degrees of difficulty, and almost all with views that clear the mind and remind you why you came to Northern California. The most popular hike is Dipsea that goes from Stinson Beach up to Mount Tamapolis. Make time for Point Reyes Station and the surrounding hikes and nature center.
Marshall for Tony’s Seafood Restaurant
I had my first BBQ oyster at Tony’s Seafood Restaurant in Marshall back in 2005. It was a game changer. We stopped at this ocean-worn restaurant, beaten away by years of salt winds and emulating the most incredible seafood smell I can ever remember.
This oyster shack, operating since 1948, and open weekends throughout the year, is the official best BBQ oyster shack in the world, well, according to me.
The large Washington oysters are shucked and then a delicious composition of butter and garlic and their house sauce is added and they are grilled to something beyond words of perfection. No one else has EVER prepared a BBQ oyster better. The shack is small, the fries and beer keep you at bay between your plates of heaven.
Mill Valley for Milling Around
This place is adorable. It’s a utopia of boutique stores that sell $50 candles, $200 scarves and $100 dinners. The town is charming, with restaurants and bars tucked into alleys and the side streets are brick cobbled.
I was able to procure a couple goodies from the adorable Sprout child’s store that were actually on sale and cheaper than on the web, so I felt accomplished. The tiny florist on the corner might be the most delightful part of the town. We walked around for a couple hours before venturing off for dinner. Side note: We used Waze to get from Mill Valley to San Rafael and the side streets and hills the route led us through were lovely. This was by far one of the most exciting drives to view homes and architecture.
If You Go to Marin County