Break away from traditional V-Day celebrations and spice things up with an adventure with your love.
A box of candy and a bouquet of flowers is one way to show your affection on Valentine's Day, but why not try something a little out of the ordinary? Sweep your sweetie off their feet to the sunny side of the Golden Gate for a romantic getaway in Marin County. Here are just a few extraordinary spots to play, eat, and stay.
What to Do
Point Reyes lighthouse
Point Reyes Lighthouse
A dramatic oceanside setting certainly sets the mood for romance. One of the best locales to enjoy that oceanside ambiance is Point Reyes Lighthouse. The lighthouse and visitors center are open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday through Monday, but they're closed Tuesday through Thursday. So if you want to light up your Valentine's Day, your best bet is a weekend visit.
This national forest is populated with 295 acres of old, giant—and impressive—redwood trees. A hand-in-hand stroll through the peaceful Muir Woods forest can help create the right mood for a romantic Valentine's Day stay in Marin County. The park is open 8 a.m. to sunset every day, including holidays.
Valentine's Day Sail
Nothing says romance more than a sunset cruise on San Francisco Bay. From 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, passengers on the Schooner Freda B will soak up the sights, including the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and the glittering San Francisco skyline, during the annual Valentine's Day Sail on the bay. The excursion, costing $75 a person, launches from the boat's slip at Marin County's Sausalito Yacht Harbor.
Where to Eat
Capesante al tartufo (Sautéed sea scallops in a black truffle sauce with shiitake mushrooms & white truffle salt) from Il Davide.
(Courtesy of Il Davide)
Executive chef Jennifer Luttrell will lovingly create an all-local, seasonal menu—featuring cheese, oysters, chocolate, grass-fed beef and more—for a Valentine's Day feast at The Fork, an eatery in Marin County's Point Reyes Station. The multi-course dinner will be held from 5:30 pm to 9 pm. on Friday, Feb. 9; the tab is $150 per person.
Italy is one of the most romantic countries in the world, so it's only fitting to dine at a romantic Italian restaurant for Valentine's Day. Owned by David Haydon, Il Davide—which serves classic Tuscan-style cuisine—is regarded as one of the best Italian restaurants in Marin. The San Rafael eatery is open for dinner 4 pm to 10 pm Be sure to check out the luscious desserts.
Mountain Home Inn
The Mountain Home Inn in Mill Valley is part of a collection of properties branded as "romantic places." So it would make perfect sense to partake of a romantic dinner at an official romantic place. The menu dishes up soups, salads and entrees, and the property gives you a taste of the breathtaking scenery at two parks: Muir Woods and Mount Tamalpais. The restaurant is open for dinner 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm Wednesday through Sunday.
Sustainable California cuisine is the hallmark of Nick's Cove Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Marshall. As the name of the lodge-style eatery suggests, you'll find an abundance of seafood at Nick's Cove, including crab, salmon, scallops and, of course, oysters; you might want to sample the restaurant's famed crab mac and cheese. Another delicious aspect of Nick's Cove is the location—it sits along the coast just north of the Point Reyes National Seashore, affording spectacular views.
In 2014, Bohemian magazine hailed Vin Antico in San Rafael as offering the best romantic dinner in the North Bay. It's hard to argue with that honor when you look at the globally inspired farm-to-table menu, which is seasonal, and the restaurant's charming red-brick building. Vin Antico is known for its sommelier-selected wines. Dinner is served 5 p.m. to 9 pm Monday through Thursday and 5 pm to 10 pm Friday and Saturday.
Where to Stay
The Lodge at Point Reyes.
(Courtesy of Lodge at Point Reyes)
Inn at Roundstone Farm
Want to relax and unwind with your loved one? The Inn at Roundstone Farm might be the right spot for you. Located on 10 acres in the town of Olema, this bed-and-breakfast—featuring just five guestrooms—sits within the Point Reyes National Seashore. Aside from providing views of Mount Wittenberg, Olema Valley, Inverness Ridge and Tomales Bay, the property is home to horses, bullfrogs and more than 360 species of birds.
The Lodge at Point Reyes
Nestled along Olema Creek, The Lodge at Point Reyes borders the Point Reyes National Seashore. The property comprises 22 guestrooms and two private cottages, with guests being able to cozy up to a fire or soak in a whirlpool. The lodge also is a terrific place to lounge in an Adirondack chair on the lawn and read a book, watch birds or sip a glass of local wine.
Tomales Bay Resort
Situated within the Point Reyes National Seashore, this Cape Cod-esque resort in Inverness graces the shores of Tomales Bay. If you're in the mood for pursuits near Tomales Bay Resort, your choices include whale watching, hiking, cycling, horseback riding, kayaking, and shopping. A variety of rooms and suites are available.
Looking for a larger property for your Valentine's Day getaway in Marin County? The Acqua Hotel in Mill Valley might be ideal for you. According to its website, this boutique hotel "melds stylish city sophistication with the natural beauty which surrounds it." Perched on the edge of Richardson Bay, the hotel delivers splendid views of the water and Mount Tamalpais. That soothing atmosphere extends to the sleek, Zen-like guest rooms.