The Farallon Islands are visible on clear days from most western points in the Bay Area. This rugged outcropping consists of four groups of small islands.
The only way to experience the Farallons is through a wildlife-watching boat tour. Several companies run day-long tours out of San Francisco, often with a marine biologist guide. Depending on the season, you might see humpbacks, gray whales or, if you’re really lucky, maybe a great white or killer whale.
Our vote for “Cutest Farallon Critter,” though, has to go to the tufted puffin. Word of caution: if you’re prone to sea sickness, you definitely want to get your Dramamine on because you could be doing some serious rolling and rocking on the high seas for hours and hours!
Woodacre, an unincorporated town in Marin County, is a quiet enclave that is home to horse ranches and Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
Nestled among the rolling hills, Spirit Rock is widely considered one of the best retreat centers in the country.
If you feel like you could cultivate a bit more awareness and compassion—or just need some much-needed chill time—check out one of their weekly meditation sessions, or sign up for a week-long residential retreat. Omm…
If you want to get in touch with nature, there is no better place in the Bay Area than Mount Tamalpais. An iconic symbol of Marin County, Mount Tam—or the “Sleeping Lady”—is a hiker’s paradise with endless trails and epic vistas.
From the peak, you have an amazing 360 view of the Bay Area and gorgeous views of the Pacific. If you’re someone that needs a good incentive to hit the trails, you could always stop for a beer at The Tourist Club, an alpine-style lodge that you can hike to from several Tam trails.
The lodge is part of the global Nature Friends organization, so you have to be a member to go there anytime, but they open it up to the public on guest days and for special events. Check out touristclubsf.org for calendar. Prost!