Our mission to take 52 awesome Bay Area day trips took us to Stinson Beach on New Year’s Day! Stinson is a town of just 632 people on the coast of Marin County. It’s about a 35-minute drive from the Golden Gate Bridge.
We started off with some caffeine and snacks from the Parkside Cafe by the beach. We grabbed a soy latte, chai latte and some fruit pastries. All were super-yummy. You can eat inside or outside at the Parkside and they have a walk-up counter to grab something to-go!
The Beach at Stinson Beach
We then headed towards the beach over a ramp to the right of Parkside Care. The first thing you’ll notice about Stinson Beach is how long the beach is (about 3.5 miles).
This is a nice white-sand beach that’s got lifeguards on duty from late May to mid-September. There’s a big bathroom and set of showers (below):
Another unique thing about Stinson is the neat homes RIGHT on the beach like these 2 below:
Does Stinson Beach allow bonfires?
Stinson Beach does not allow bonfires but they do have some public-use grills in the parking lot and other folks (like these 2 guys below) set up their own grill right on the beach.
The next closest major beach that allows bonfires (that we know of) is Muir Beach (next to the Pelican Inn — see below!)
Stinson Beach also allows dogs and we saw plenty of them.
Bolinas note: One of our favorite towns is Bolinas (a 5 min. drive from Stinson Beach) which we wrote about in Bolinas Day Trip (on a stormy day). You could combine a trip to Bolinas with your Stinson visit but each are so fun that you could take a full day or weekend or week-long adventure there!
The Pelican Inn
On our way home we stopped off at one of our favorite venues for eating and drinking: The Pelican Inn (The Pelican Inn is right off Highway 1 (address: 10 Pacific Way Muir Beach, California 94965). It’s next to another public beach: Muir Beach (the one that allows bonfires!).
The Pelican Inn is a British-style Inn and pub to stay overnight in or just grab a bite to eat.
You can eat outside on the lawn, inside by the bar, in a larger dining room or in this atrium-like outdoor area (below) that we chose.
We had the Guinness stew:
…the Fish and Chips:
and a mixed greens salad.
All of them were yummy. The Pelican Inn is a Bay Area institution — please go!
Things to Do Next Time in Stinson Beach
This looked like a super-cool store (“upcycled” denim) but it wasn’t open when we there. Sacred Tide is inside it too. Address: 3488 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach, California 94970.
We caught site of this cool-looking ranch (pictured below in a last minute photo we took from the car as we left Stinson Beach). We later learned that Slide Ranch has 134 acres of coastal land open to individuals and families every day from dawn to dusk for hiking, picnicking and self-guided visits. Free admission!
People were petting goats there as we drove by. Slide’s web site says is “on a mission to connect children to nature” and counts Jerry Garcia as one of its first donors!! We’d like to visit it next time. Address: 2025 Shoreline Highway, Muir Beach, CA 94965.
What do you love about Stinson Beach? We’d love to check out more next time!
ps: On our way home from Stinson Beach, we stopped off at Terrapin Crossroads for this Phil Lesh show!