When traveling north of San Francisco once you cross the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County you have two choices. If you are in a hurry, or if you just love traffic, you take Highway 101. But, if you want a scenic road that meanders over the hills and has post card worthy views of the ocean every five minutes, you take Highway 1. Highway 1 also offers a few other advantages. There are a variety of quaint and quirky places to stop and experience the good life. Here are some of the best secret destinations off of Highway 1.
Five Brooks Stables
Point Reyes National Seashore is renown for its stunning vistas and extensive network of hiking trails. But, there is another way to see this national treasure. Visitors can take guided tours on horseback. The Five Brooks Trailhead is just off Highway 1 about three miles south of Olema. The trail is perfect for beginners. Young children may enjoy hand-led pony rides at the stables as well.
Marin residents already know about the pleasures of Stinson Beach. However, even many lifelong residents have never been to the Parkside Café. The café sits in the perfect location to enjoy all the beauties of Stinson Beach as well as the quaint wonders of the town. Stop here for breakfast and then take the footpath behind the café down to the beach.
Point Reyes Station Food Haven
Point Reyes Station is more than just a small town off the highway. It is also a secret foodie haven. You can stop by the Bovine Bakery to get fresh, gourmet baked goods. Before you start eating however, you will want to travel another block and pick up some famous triple-cream Red Hawk cheese at the Cowgirl Creamery. If you want to make a full picnic out of it, head over to Tomales Bay Foods for cured meats, fresh fruits, and other picnic provisions.
Rocker Oysterfeller’s & Sonoma Fish Bank and Picnic
Near Valley Ford you will find Rocker Oysterfeller’s. This inn and pub resides in the old Valley Ford Hotel building, originally built in 1864. Here you sample delicious fresh food such as the gumbo while also sampling a variety of Sonoma County wines. Next door you can also try the Sonoma Fish Bank and Picnic if you want delicious food, but you are on the go. Both establishments are owned and operated by Shona Campbell and Brandon Guenther.
Bodega Bay Whale Watching
Film buffs will remember Bodega Bay from the Hitchcock classic The Birds, where the small seaside town almost acted as a character itself. However, the best reason to visit Bodega Bay isn’t to look at the sky, but to scout the ocean for migrating gray whales as they make their way between Alaska and Baja California each winter and spring. No matter how many times you have been here, there is always something exciting about spotting a whale spout as these majestic creates parade through the area.
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