Now is the time to finally head out and check off some of these quintessential Bay Area adventures. Why not start this weekend?
Hike Along the Cascading Waterfalls at Cataract Falls
You’ll be happy you chose to drive to Marin’s Cataract Falls hike before you even get there, since the road will take you through the tiny, folksy town of Fairfax and by Alpine Dam, a lake surrounded by pines. And once you arrive at the trail, you’ll be ever more excited, since unlike some hikes where you’re hiking to a waterfall, the Cataract Falls trail takes you alongside one almost the entire way (and the views are spectacular after the winter rain). Be prepared for a workout; you’re climbing for the first 2.5 miles, and if you want to complete the entire trail, it’ll be 10 miles rountrip. Learn more.
Insider Tip: There’s a pretty picnic area right after you finish that first grueling climb. Keep an eye out for signs to Laurel Dell and pack sandwiches for your break.
Have a Bonfire at Ocean Beach
Your friends have always talked about having a bonfire out on the beach, but you’ve never actually gotten around to it. Well, it’s time for that to change. Hop on the N-Judah and it will drop you right at the beach in the Outer Sunset, where you’ll find a handful of fire pits on the sand between Fulton and Lincoln Streets. Pack some beer, some s’mores supplies, and invite all your friends to watch the sun set. Learn more.
Inside Tip: All the planning in the world won’t help if you don’t get there early! The fire pits will almost undoubtedly all be take if you show up when it’s getting dark — and it’s illegal to build bonfires outside of the designated pits — so make sure you get there earlier in the afternoon to snag a prime spot.
Backpack the Famous Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail
It’s hard to think of anything more quintessentially Northern California than spending the weekend meandering through lush redwood groves, 70-foot waterfalls, and ending up at beautiful beach (with great surf). So get some friends together, pack your backpacks, and explore this under the radar gem right in your own backyard. This is a 2-3 day trip that covers 30 miles of some of the Bay Area's most beautiful scenery. Learn more.
Inside Tip: Be sure to park a car at Waddell Beach that you'll use to shuttle yourselves back to the start of the trail, and your other vehicle.
Hike the Dipsea Trail
One of Marin’s most iconic trails, the Dipsea takes you through luscious redwood groves and along waterfalls before you come out onto the wide sands and sweeping ocean views of Stinson Beach. If you feel like completing the entire out and back hike, you’ll be going a full 15 miles; your legs will be screaming, but the views will be worth it. Learn more.
Bonfires. Oysters. Kayaks. Camping on the beach. Is there really anything else you could ask for from an adventure in Pt. Ryes? Rent your kayaks from Blue Waters Kayaking in Marshall and kayak your way through Tomales Bay, winding up at Tomales Beach or Marshall Beach, the only two boat-in campsites in the Bay. From these remote spots, you can watch the sunset with you pals and roast marshmallows into the night. Learn more.
Inside Tip: On your way out from Blue Waters, pick up some oysters from the Marshall Store, located conveniently right next door. You’ll be happy you did when you’re grilling them on the beach for dinner.