Paddleboarding and Kayaking at Sausalito’s Secret Beach

Looking for something fun to do and like the sound of getting out on the water? Head out to Schoonmaker Point in Sausalito (near the Bay Model) and rent a kayak or paddleboard from Sea Trek. Not experienced? That’s okay, you’re provided with a life vest and can stay in the protective cove. A little more daring? Head out of the cove and explore the Bay around Sausalito. You might run into sea otters or seals and beautifully colored jelly fish. You can also check out the boats along the docks and view the eclectic houseboats that line the waterfront.

On a warm day you can go in a bathing suit or shorts and t-shirt, while on colder days, as they are open all year round, throw on a windbreaker and sweats and hit the water. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

The paddleboards are pretty sturdy and you don’t have to fall in the water much, unless of course it’s hot and you just want to cool down. Balancing on the boards is a great core workout, and at an hourly rate you can’t go wrong. The ones that catch on quickly of course are the little kids, and you’ll see them zipping around the cove, sometimes with several of their friends sitting on the board with them. The kayaks can be rented hourly too and they are either singles or doubles, with an option of putting a fairly small child on your lap if they are not big paddlers. Also a great upper body workout!

You will be surprised at how many people go out there to enjoy the view. Whether you are renting or opt to just sit on the beach and read a book or play in the sand, this is a Sausalito must-do.

Limantour Beach at Point Reyes National Seashore

What a great way to spend a sunny September day! Limantour Beach, only 35 minutes from Fairfax, is perfect for going on a long walk or building a sand castle. Our kids love playing in the sand dunes and had a lot of fun creating a fort there. There are great hiking trails on your way in and a lot of bird watching in the lagoon just to the north, and sometimes we even see harbor seals resting on the beach. It can get a little windy, but it’s easy to find a wind break in the sand dunes to set up camp for the day. We love going into Point Reyes on the drive home for a late lunch, or just stopping for a treat at the local Point Reyes bakery. We are really lucky to live where we live, and West Marin is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Google Map of Limantour Beach

Lake Lagunitas: a great spot for a large group picnic

If you’re looking for a good place to get some friends together for a picnic in Marin, then look no further than the Lake Lagunitas Picnic Area, just eight minutes from downtown Fairfax. The kids can go fishing, play in the creek, or ride their bikes around in the parking lot. We like to bring our mt. bikes and ride around the lake with the whole family. We also like this spot because it’s set in a redwood grove with lots of shade, and has good sized picnic tables with large bbq/grill areas.

We usually reserve the large tables and grills when we know it’s a large group, but if you’re just going with a couple of families you might not need to reserve in advance as there are almost always enough tables to go around. A good hike is to make a loop with the kids around the lake…it takes about 30 minutes. In the summer when it gets hot this is the perfect place to hang out in the shade and be with friends. I have to say it’s one of the most beautiful places in Marin.

The picnic area is at the end of the road adjacent to the parking lot.  You’ll find directions and info on reservations here.

A great time to visit Marin waterfalls

With all the rain we’re having it’s a perfect time to check out Marin County’s waterfalls, and Fairfax is a good place to start.  One of our favorites is easy to get to and just a 10 minute walk from the road. Park at the top of Sir Francis Drake on the right as you hit the summit out of Fairfax and before descending into Woodacre. It’s a big waterfall and a nice hike for the kids or dog.

Also in Fairfax, Cataract Falls is one of the most popular in Marin and a good hike as well. There are a couple of ways to access it, and you’ll find good directions here.

Also, check out the waterfall at the end of Mountain View Dr. in San Rafael’s Dominican neighborhood. It’s handy as you don’t really have to hike to get there.

And at the north end of the county there’s the Arroyo de San Jose Waterfall on the trail at the end of Fairway Dr. in Novato. It’s also a nice hike and fun for the kids.

And if you’re really into exploring all the waterfalls Marin County has to offer you might want to check out It’s now a pay site but looks to be the most comprehensive resource.

Views from Marin’s Fort Baker

Fort Baker, Marin County, California

I took this photo earlier this week while touring Marin with an out of state friend.  I was surprised at how lovely it turned out with San Francisco nestled in the clouds across the bay. The photo was taken at Fort Baker, on top of the bunkers at the tip of by the bay.

Marin Views: Crown Road & Mt. Tam

I snapped this photo on a hike this morning of Mt. Tam from Crown Road in Baltimore Canyon. The colors were amazing after the evening rains. This hike is one of my favorites. You can take Crown Road to the left and down to Dawn Falls. We choose the trail head to the right, which leads you up on the ridge to view all of Marin’s gorgeous hills.

The Crown Road trail is accessible via Kentfield.

Driving directions:
From Sir Francis Drake, take College Avenue into Kentfield. Turn right on Woodland, left on Evergreen. Follow Evergreen up the mountain. Turn left Crown Road and continue to the end of the road. Parking can be difficult on weekends.

Hiking Roy’s Redwood Grove…in About an Hour

My wife and I recently went on a great one-hour hike at Roy’s Redwood Grove in San Geronimo Valley. It’s a super nice 3.5 mile loop that meanders through an old redwood grove and open meadows, with a nice view of the valley. To get there head west out Sir Francis Drake Blvd. from Fairfax and turn right after the golf course. It’s up on the right about a 1/4 mile. It’s great to find a one-hour loop like this for those days when you feel like a hike but don’t have a lot of time. Awesome!
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Holiday Weekend in Marin- from Tiburon to Novato

I am a sucker for the holiday season.  I really get into the spirit of it and there are no shortage of holiday events in Marin.

TIBURON: The Tiburon Holiday Festival takes place tonight and will feature an ice rink.  Ice skate by the Bay?  How cool is that?! There will also be a tree lighting ceremony, Christmas carolers, and lots of activities for kids including the holiday standard- gingerbread decorating.  The Tiburon festival takes place on Main Street in downtown Tiburon starting at 5:30 pm. More information at

SAN ANSELMO: The Town of San Anselmo will light up on Saturday night, December 4th with the annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony.  The event takes place on San Anselmo Avenue at 525 San Anselmo.  Santa will arrive in a firetruck! There will be free photos with Santa, music and more.

The event sponsored by the San Anselmo Chamber of Commerce takes place from 5:00-6:30 pm on Saturday.  Parking is available in the Creek, Magnolia Street, and Pine Street parking lots. More information:  415-454-2510

SAN RAFAEL: The Marin Symphony will be hosting Holiday Concert by Candlelight with the chamber choir, soloists and instruments (including my favorite- handbells!) on Saturday Sunday.  Tickets range from $25-30.  More information at

The seasons classic- The Nutcracker will be performed this weekend by the Stapleton Ballet for the 22nrd year.  The performances take place on Saturday and Sunday at 1pm and 5pm at the Marin Veteran’s Auditorium in San Rafael.  Tickets are $18-30.  More information:

NOVATO: Novato will also be lit up like a Christmas tree (so to speak!) on Saturday with the tree lighting ceremony in downtown Novato on Sherman Avenue.  The event starts at 4:30 and features special guests of honor- Santa and Mrs. Claus along with a variety of other activities.  More information:

Hope to see you out and about this holiday weekend.

Dine out to End Hunger in Marin – Benefit for Homeward Bound

Thinking of dining out this week?  Thursday, November 18th is a great night to do it for the 6th annual Dine Out to End Hunger which benefits Homeward Bound of Marin.  Homeward Bound is Marin County’s chief provider of shelter and residential services for homeless families and individuals, serving approximately 1,400 people per year in 14 inter-related residential programs.  97% of families and 83% of adults completing Homeward Bound’s programs go on to stable housing.

Tavern at Lark Creek, Larkspur, California

Supporting the event is easy.  Simply dine at one of the participating restaurants and twenty percent of your bill will be donated to Homeward Bound of Marin.  The restaurant list has some of my favorite local restaurants as well.

Participating Marin Restaurants

Corte Madera Restaurant Partners

Larkspur Restaurant Partner

Mill Valley Restaurant Partners

Novato Restaurant Partner

Point Reyes Station Restaurant Partner

San Anselmo Restaurant Partners:

San Rafael Restaurant Partner

Wishing you a Giant(s) Win & a Happy Halloween

I just returned from trick or treating with the kids.   Along the way, we saw lots (and lots, and lots!) of Giants fans, beards and the like.  The energy and excitement over the Giant’s game was thrilling.  I was concerned about missing the World Series, yet people had brought large screen tvs into their front yards, invited us in for beverages and an inning, and generally cheered and updated us on the score. I loved this pumpkin we found.

The Giant sense of community (pun intended), was clearly felt.

And this, is why I love Marin.