When John Muir learned that William and Elizabeth Kent were naming a redwood forest near San Francisco in his honor, he declared, “This is the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.” The couple had purchased the land to preserve its beauty and restful wilderness. Early in the 20th century, the Kents donated the land to the federal government, intending to protect it in perpetuity.
With a million visitors per year, Muir Woods is the world’s most-visited redwood park. Since it’s just a 30-minute drive from San Francisco, visitors to the city can drive here, experience a little of California’s unique natural beauty, and be back in time for lunch. The park is just as much a San Francisco icon as the Golden Gate Bridge or the cable cars.
Sausalito takes its name for the saucelitos, little willow trees 18th century Spanish explorers found growing along its streams. Sausalito is a small town of only 7,500 residents, best known for its spectacular waterfront views. It’s a quiet, charming town that some say reminds them of the Mediterranean.
Tiburon by the Bay
Tiburon is a small historic town in Marin County, located across the bay from San Francisco. Tiburon’s Main Street has been preserved as it was when the town was a Gold Rush train town and lumber yard. The scenic Ark Row shops are actually housed in turn-of-the-century boathouses that were converted into homes and shops when the lagoon between the Tiburon peninsula and the neighboring island of Belvedere was filled in.
Angel Island State Park, the largest island in the San Francisco Bay offers some of the best views of the surrounding Bay Area. With great hiking trails and many other recreational opportunities readily available, Angel Island is truly a hidden gem in the midst of the urban Bay Area.