Beach Rambler

Walk Stinson Beach to Bolinas Lagoon

So you're in the mood for a long walk on the beach. Get an early start and get to Stinson Beach. Larger than Muir Beach and less rocky than Bolinas Beach, this Bay Area staple of pristine soft sand stretches for 3.5 miles up the coast, with mountainous views of Bolinas in the distance. It's an ideal place for a good, long stroll. On clear, sunny days, the southern end of Stinson looks plucked from LA, with its crowds, colorful sun umbrellas, and occasional Speedos (tan lines be damned!). This section belongs to the Golden Gate Natural Recreation Area, and is where you'll find parking (as well as picnic sites, and food stands). The ocean is lively with swimmers, surfers, kayakers, and curious seals bobbing nearby. Walking farther north, you'll notice a few things: fewer crowds, and dogs. The beach boundaries change from government land to County of Marin space (technically known as Upton's Beach, though there's no obvious sign on the beach marking the boundary). Go to the end and you're nearly at the mouth of Bolinas Lagoon, which you’ll likely have to yourself. Return the way you came. Ready to stroll?

Stinson Beach is located 20 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. From US 101 exit at the Mill Valley/Stinson Beach/Highway 1 exit. Follow the signs to Stinson Beach. The parking lot fills before noon on hot weekends. No dogs on the National Park Service section of the beach (aka the southern part). Dogs are allowed on the northern part.

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