What’s Best: Walk or jog miles along a usually sunny shore with cliffs and crashing waves at one end and a sandy spit and huge lagoon on the other. SoCal transplants may find themselves humming Beach Boys tunes.

Parking: From southern Marin: Take Hwy. 1-Stinson Beach exit from north of Sausalito and follow about 13 ml. to signed beach parking. From central Marin: Take Sir Francis Drake Blvd.-San Anselmo exit and follow about 18 ml, through Fairfax to Hwy. 1 at Olema. Go south on Hwy. 1 for 10 ml. to Stinson Beach parking. Alternate (dog friendly) parking: A Upton Beach. Just north of Stinson (and the school), turn from Hwy. 1 onto Calle Del Arroyo. Park at the corner of Calle Walla Vista. Agency: Golden Gate National Recreation Area.


The soft sands, gentle waves, and looming onshore views have been attracting beach-goers to Stinson Beach since the late 1800s. The beach was then known as Eastkooks Beach after an eccentric seafaring captain, Alfred D. Eastkook, who built a home here in 1875 and warded off rowdy visitors with shotgun blasts. After the captain’s unfortunate passing at the turn of the century, the beach became know as Willow Camp, attracting hundreds of tent campers. Stinson Beach went public in 1939, as a state beach named for Nathan Stinson, whose 1906 subdivision formed the early community. The public lands were transferred to GGNRA in the 1974. The town itself is worth a walkabout, featuring galleries and several restaurants.

For the Seadrift Spit to Bolinas Lagoon hike, turn right as you face the water. You’ll soon leave the GGNRA boundary, and pass Upton Beach, where dogs are welcome. The beach northward is public access alongside Seadrift, a private community built on the .25-mile-wide spit between the Bolinas Lagoon and the Pacific. The end of the spit is a broad swath of sand fringed by sea grasses and scattered with driftwood. Across a narrow opening of the Bolinas Lagoon is the town of Bolinas; see TH64. Sea Lions may poke their heads up near the lagoon mouth one reason why great white sharks have been spotted offshore, but not in numbers to evoke paranoia among swimmers.

To the Stinson Beach cliffs, walk left as you face the water. After about .5-mile, cliffs, rocks, and oncoming surf intrude. You can keep going, depending on the tides, but be mindful of s high tide. More Stuff: Steep Ravine, an environmental camp that is part of Mt. Tam State Park, is about 1.5 miles south of Stinson on Highway 1. Walk down the road less than .5-mile, to to Rocky Point, the rugged bench on which the cabins are situated. A trail to Redrock Beach, a wave-bashed cove in the cliffs south of Stinson Beach, begins about .25-mile south Steep Ravine; this trail is steep and subject to closures, so use good judgment.

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