Just a few miles north of the city, the Marin Headlands is a superb spot to escape the hustle and bustle. As a bona fide urbanite, I was curious to find out what hikers, bikers, and bird-watchers have relished for years. In two days, I discovered that San Francisco's backyard offers much more to the intrepid visitor than iconic Golden Gate Bridge snapshots.
Spring has sprung, and at Audubon Canyon Ranch near Stinson Beach, that means the 100 pairs of great egrets and great blue herons which nest there are starting to mate and lay eggs. It also means the wildlife preserve is opening to the public for their visiting season, March 20 - July 11.
Just a quick trip north across the Golden Gate Bridge, the peaceful Marin Headlands beckons urbanites and travelers who need a little break from San Francisco's bustling pace. With its rolling hills, dramatic ocean cliffs, and sandy beaches, the Headlands is one of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area's (GGNRA) most diverse -- and beautiful -- areas.