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Travel & Outdoors

Eye On The Bay’s Daytrip To Bolinas

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Liam Mayclem Liam Mayclem
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It might not be the easiest town to find (where’s the sign?) but jump on CA-1 North past Stinson Beach and around the Bolinas Lagoon and hang a left to Bolinas. We’ll discover natural beauty from bird watching to surfing, then we’ll catch some local art and fresh seafood. This laid back beach town has it all.

Bolinas is an unincorporated town of about 2,500 people, located 25 miles North of San Francisco at the southernmost tip of Point Reyes Nation Seashore.

It might not be the easiest town to find (where’s the sign?!) but jump on CA-1 North past Stinson Beach and around the Bolinas Lagoon. Just before the highway starts to climb, turn left on Olema Bolinas Road, look carefully, the street sign is missing, and follow it about two miles to downtown.

Liam spent the day discovering the natural beauty of Bolinas and why locals try to keep it a secret. From bird watching, to surfing, to local art and fresh seafood, this laid back beach town has it all.

Audubon Canyon Ranch
4900 Shoreline Highway 1
Stinson Beach, CA 94970
(415) 868-9244
www.egret.org

Audubon Canyon Ranch is a preserve for the protection of colonies of great egrets and great blue herons. It’s located right outside of Bolinas, but feels like you are miles away from any sort of city. Take a hike up to the viewing station, and if you are lucky you can see the birds nesting in the tops of the trees. The views are spectacular, as you look out at the ocean and Bolinas Lagoon. The “public season” at Martin Griffin Preserve is mid-March to mid-July, but what are other opportunities for people to visit and volunteer throughout the year.

Bolinas Museum
48 Wharf Road
P.O. Box 450
Bolinas, CA 94924
(415) 868-0330
www.bolinasmuseum.org

The Bolinas Museum is a five gallery museum filled with work from local artists, whose work reflects Coastal Marin and spirit of Bolinas. The museum also sheds light on why Bolinas is such a secretive town. You can also see one of the many missing Bolinas street signs.

Bolinas Beach
There is no shortage of beautiful California shoreline here. Situated right across from the send of Stinson Beach, its huge cliffs and painted seawalls are a perfect spot to spend the afternoon. Bolinas Beach is dog and surfer friendly.

Big Dog Surf Camp
(415) 518-3805

http://www.bigdogsurfcamp.com

Not a surfer yet? Take a class from the people at Big Dog Surf Camp. They offer surf lessons for ages five and up and all levels of experience are welcome. Boards and wetsuits are provided. All you need to do is be ready to have a good time.

Bobo’s Burritos
Food cart, usually near the beach

For a filling pick me up, search out the Bobo Burrito food cart (usually located by the beach or in the parking lot of 2 mile surf shop at 22 Brighton Road). It’s the first licensed food cart in West Marin County, and Bolinas locals Max and Colleen, offer up cheap and delicious eats. Our favorite was the veggie burrito (created for all the Deadheads in the community) with yams and mustard greens. It’s a little spicy, but so good.

Bobolisious Smoothie Lounge
6 Wharf Road
Bolinas, CA 94924

Organic smoothies, local art, and a grandmother’s coffee cake recipe make Bobolicious Smoothie Lounge a worthwhile stop in Bolinas. With a nod to the Beatles, try the Strawberry Fields smoothie.

Coast Cafe
46 Wharf Road
Bolinas, CA 94924
(415) 868-2298
www.bolinascafe.com

If you are looking for a great lunch or dinner in town, check out The Coast Café. It happens to be Bolinas’ only restaurant. They offer up excellent local and organic food and drinks, highlighting the fresh produce and seafood found around the area. You can watch the boats come into the marina and straight to your plate.

Smiley’s Saloon & Hotel
41 Wharf Road
Bolinas, CA 94924
(415) 868-1311
www.smileyssaloon.com/home

Wind down your day with a drink or two at what is said to be the oldest operating bar in California. Smiley’s has been open since 1851, and it’s still a favorite local hangout. If you happen to have more than your fair share of fun at Smiley’s, or want to extend you stay in Bolinas, they also have six hotel rooms for under $100. They’re simple, with no TV or phones, but they do the trick.

Gospel Flat Farm Stand
Located on the left hand side of Olema-Bolinas road on your way into town.
(415) 868-9310

On the way in or out of Bolinas keep an eye out for this unique farm stand. Its owners don’t only run the stand, but farm all the organic produce sold there. What makes this stand so special, is that its open 24 hours a day and payment runs on the honor system. Simply pick your produce, and slip the money into the box.

Blue Heron Inn
11 Wharf Rd
Bolinas, CA 94924
(415) 868-1102

Two rooms upstairs this bright B&B is right in the heart of town.

VRBO- Bolinas Vacation Rental
www.vrbo.com

If you want to stay a weekend in Bolinas and explore the surrounding area, why not stay in that ocean front home you’ve always wanted? This ultimate beach-house getaway sleeps 10, has a pool, hot tub, chef’s kitchen and is steps away from Pacific Ocean. Aside from the great views, the house was once owned by the lead singer of Jefferson Airplane, Grace Slick. It’s a different way to experience this California surf town.

Eye On The Bay is the San Francisco Bay Area’s source for things to do, places to go and sights to see. This Emmy Award winning magazine-style show features cheap eats, Bay Area bargains and weekend getaways.

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