Locals Hitting Stinson Beach Crowd Marin County Highways

STINSON BEACH (KPIX 5) — On the hottest weekend of this or any year in the Bay Area, Marin County residents were flocking to Stinson Beach, crowding North Bay highways on their way to the popular spot.

Some people there admitted they needed relief that their houses without air conditioners couldn’t provide.

“Nobody’s got AC! I tried to buy fans yesterday and the people at Target were laughing at me. They said, ‘You’re late! The fans have been gone for weeks!'” said Mill Valley resident John Clifford with a laugh.

The weather at Stinson was perfect Sunday, with the temperature in the high 70s with a breeze. And while it’s always a popular place, this beach is often a lot grayer and cooler than this.

When asked if she saw very many hot days at Stinson Beach, six-year old beach goer Addy Cernac said, “Not very many of them…not like this day.”

The trip to Stinson begins predictably with a traffic jam in Mill Valley, where pranksters have changed the sign to “Traffic Jam Valley.” Things open up a bit until you get to a point where all Stinson Beach traffic is detoured off Highway 1 because of a construction project to repair storm damage. That puts all traffic on single-lane Panoramic Hwy.

At 10;30 a.m. Sunday, it took 20 minutes to go the last couple miles into town. By 12:30 p.m., the same trip was taking 2 hours.

“It’s a lot more curvy…takes a while…and you gotta plan for it. They get really surprised that it takes two hours to go a mile,” said Chris Hartung, a frequent Stinson visitor from Tiberon.

The traffic on this road is so ridiculous the local CHP office put out a release with a cartoon of Batman slapping Robin for even suggesting it.

But for those who actually made it, it was a glorious day that offered a chance to relax and forget about this hottest weekend on record. For many, it was also a matter of survival.

“It’s just been so hot where we live that it’s, like, we couldn’t really do anything else besides go to the beach, I guess,” said 10-year old Tiberon resident Nicholas Hartung.

The CHP is warning drivers visiting Stinson Beach to plan ahead by gassing or charging up the car, being patient and bringing cold, non-alcoholic beverages in case of a breakdown.

More from John Ramos
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