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5 Local Tips for Summer in Marin

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Summer days are here, and it feels like the world is your oyster with so many fun things to do and adventures to be had. Many travelers will be heading to HI Marin Headlands hostel to hike along scenic trails, hang out with locals and their dogs at Rodeo Beach, and explore Sausalito sitting pretty alongside the Golden Gate Bridge. If you’re joining them, you might also be looking for some hidden gems and insider tips to sweeten the trip, and we know just the person who can point you in the right direction. Meghan is the manager at HI Marin Headlands, and she’s generously shared some of her favorite places to go and things to do around the hostel when it’s summer time and the living is easy. 

Play bocce ball at Bar Bocce 

With killer views of Richardson Bay and the Sausalito Harbor, plus a fire pit for the cooler evenings, Bar Bocce is an ideal spot to spend an afternoon in Sausalito with some new friends. “It’s a great place to relax and have some wine and pizza,” Meghan says. “Plus, if you’re visiting during the week, it’s not as crowded and just as beautiful!” Nothing says summer quite like an outdoor patio and a chilled round of bocce ball, and it’s even better when you’ve got San Francisco sourdough pizza and California craft beers, both available at Bar Bocce, to complete the picture.

Get picnic supplies at Driver’s Market and head to Mount Tamalpais 

The truth is, it gets a little foggy around these parts in the summer time, just like in San Francisco. The good news is that you can escape it by heading to Mount Tamalpais, which rises above the fog and offers breathtaking views after a rewarding hike. For your hiking snacks, Meghan recommends Driver’s Market: “It’s so cute and perfect for picking up sandwiches before a day of hiking around.” They also make great juices and smoothies using organic ingredients for a healthy pick-me-up in the morning. 

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Mingle with locals on Fridays at Jazz by the Bay 

Soak in the sounds from Bay Area jazz and blues bands while the sun sets over views of San Francisco and Angel Island on Friday nights at Jazz by the Bay. Hosted in Gabrielson Park in downtown Sausalito, the free weekly summer event has become a bit of a local institution, and it’s a great way to spend the evening to get a sense of life in this little bayside town. Bring a blanket and a picnic dinner, and just enjoy the idyllic evening soundtrack of Sausalito. 

Browse books at Depot Café in Mill Valley 

“To get away from the fog, I’ll head to Mill Valley,” says Meghan. And her favorite spot to hangout in downtown Mill Valley, which is about a half an hour’s drive from the hostel, is Depot Bookstore and Café. Though this spot does offer free Wi-Fi for you to browse the web, you’ll likely find that you’d rather pick up a book or magazine to enjoy on the outdoor patio of the café, or people watch at Lytton Plaza. Lose a couple of hours here, or come early for a breakfast of freshly baked muffins and scrambled eggs before you start the day’s adventures. 

stinson beach near hi marin headlands hostel

Have a classic beach day at Stinson Beach 

Would it really be a summer well spent if you didn’t dedicate at least one whole day to doing nothing but lazing on the beach and listening to the ocean waves? As we’ve already mentioned on our Northern California beach bucket list, Stinson Beach is ideal for swimming and general sandy good times, and it’s definitely a favorite of locals when a proper beach outing is in order. “Stinson Beach is like a real beach with white soft sand and just beautiful on a sunny summer day,” Meghan adds. “Go on a weekday when it’s not as busy!” 

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HI USA tip: One of Meghan’s final suggestions is to tack on a trip to nearby HI Point Reyes hostel for more summer time goodness. Before you go, check out our guide to summer in Point Reyes with hostel manager Hanna. Also check out some more off the beaten path things you can do in Sausalito.