Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate National Recreation Area www.nps.gov.  The below areas are tourist attractions for a reason.  Beautiful walks, lookouts, places to hike and picnic.  Start a list and keep going.

Marin Headlands
Marin Headlands

Marin Headlands:  So many trails, so many hikes.  I like the Morning Sun Trail to start and then can do a number of shorter or longer loops.   With the fog, it’s never the same hike twice.

 

 

 

 

 

Muir Woods paved path
Muir Woods paved path

Muir Woods:  These aren’t the Giant Sequoias, but man are these trees big.  Lots of information at the Ranger Station with a paved walking tour.  If you want to hike there are plenty of offshoot hikes that are much less crowded than the very touristy floor of the valley.

 

 

 

 

Nike Missile Site
Nike Missile Site

Nike Missile Site:  We went to hike at the Point Bonita Lighthouse but it was closed.  We stumbled into the Nike Missile Site and caught the free tour.  Amazing!  I want to recommend this tour to everyone.  I didn’t know much about the Cold War buildup, but our ranger was a wealth of information.  You get to go into the underground bunker and watch them raise the missile, and point it toward the sky.  Really cool and educational.

 

Point Bonita Lighthouse
Point Bonita Lighthouse

Point Bonita Lighthouse:  An easy beautiful walk to the entrance of San Francisco Bay.  It is really windy and can be cold, so come prepared.  While walking you can see the sea lions basking on the rocks, you get to go through a spooky tunnel and cross a wobbly bridge.  The rangers here also have a wealth of information.

 

img_2164Stinson Beach:  This is the beach that everyone goes to in Marin, when they say they are going to the beach.  It is just on the other side of Mount Tam and has its own town with restaurants, shops and businesses.  This is also the finish line of the famous Dipsea Run.  Except for the cold water, it almost feels like a southern California beach with volleyball nets, lifeguard towers and long stretches of soft sand.

Stinson Beach fun
Stinson Beach fun

Tennessee Valley:  I like this hike because the kids can bring their bikes and scooters and it ends at the beach.  Obviously, it works for a stroller as well.  Amazing to think the beach is named for another shipwreck, but the coast seems to be riddled with them as sailors attempted to enter the bay.