Marin County is full of exciting things to explore; with its panoramic stretches of natural landscapes and culturally enriching centers of art and music, it’s easy to craft the perfect girls’ day out. Whether you’re new to the area, or just looking for a fresh way to spend the weekend, check out these ideas for a memorable girls’ day out in Marin.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors in Marin
One of the most notable aspects of Marin is the huge variety of forests, nature preserves, and parks it provides. While the list goes on and on, here are a few outdoor highlights for a group of nature lovers to explore.
Muir Redwood National Forest
The Muir Redwood National Forest is perhaps the greatest local opportunity for lovers of nature. The old-growth redwood trees in this forest are among the oldest living beings in the world. This national treasure offers over six miles of trails; you can explore routes of different lengths depending on what you’re up for. Just remember to plan ahead––there is no cell service or WiFi on the trails, so print out a map ahead of time.
Chicken Ranch Beach
There’s nothing like throwing on your swimsuit and spending a relaxing day at the beach. While there are a lot of great beaches in the area to visit, Chicken Ranch Beach offers a slightly different scenery with its sweeping hills of sandy dunes. It also features fewer crowds and more serene waters than most. Just remember to pack sunscreen and an umbrella, as there is not much shade.
Black Point Boat Launch
A day of boating is a great way to experience wonderful views in a luxurious way. The Black Point Boat Launch is a beautiful local area to do just that. Lounge on deck in your new sarong and enjoy the sun out on the open water. To get more hands-on, try kayaking or fishing instead. For those of you who love birdwatching, it’s a good idea to bring your binoculars––there is plenty of fascinating wildlife to observe.
Get Active With the Girls
Being home to huge stretches of breathtaking nature, Marin attracts a lot of adventurous people. If you and your girlfriends count yourself among those, try out some of these trails, sports, and other athletic activities designed for a good time.
Mill Valley/Sausalito Pathway
This pathway connects Mill Valley to Sausalito and will take you by gorgeous views of wetlands and wildlife. While the 3.7-mile route is possible to do on foot, this is a cyclist’s paradise. After getting some exercise and soaking in the views, you can end your tour in Sausalito; this town is home to cafes, boutiques, and art galleries to help you unwind.
If you feel the need to stop along the way, rest easy knowing there are benches, restrooms, and water fountains along the path. For a more adventurous outing, you can even do this route on horseback.
Marin Bocce Federation
The Marin Bocce Federation, located in San Rafael, provides beautiful facilities to get into the game of Bocce. Amidst a garden of roses and redwoods, these outdoor courts are a great place to get away from stress and get into the game. You can even rent out a court for a private party at an affordable price. All you need to get started is two willing players. If you’ve never played before, don’t worry––it’s fairly easy to pick up, and staff members are sure to give you a hand.
If you like a place with a lot of options, McNears Beach is a safe bet. This 55-acre park not only features a beach with a beautiful ocean view, but also has a pool, tennis courts, BBQ areas, and more. If you have your own gear, fishing and kayaking are also allowed. You’ll want to bring a swimsuit as well as a coverup, so you can easily go from swimming to enjoying a picnic on the well-maintained lawn.
Experience Arts and Culture in Marin
Although it is surrounded by lush nature, Marin has no shortage of intellectually and artistically stimulating experiences. If strolling through an art gallery, watching a classic film, or basking in classical music sounds good to you, why not check out these places?
Catch a Movie
The California Film Institute sponsors great screenings and showcases that movie buffs can enjoy. Once a year, you can attend the Mill Valley Film Festival for new and exciting pictures. Internationally acclaimed films are celebrated in this decades-old showcase.
Smith Rafel Film Center
Cinema fanatics can enjoy screenings of new, independent, documentary, classic, and narrative films at the Smith Rafael Film Center. This beautifully retro theater shows movies from around the world guaranteed to stir up interesting conversation. These screenings are sometimes accompanied by discussions with the filmmaker over Zoom. This theater is also one of the few nonprofit theaters in the US.
If you’ve never been to a live orchestral concert before, now is your chance to do so. Located in the Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, Marin Symphony is a great opportunity for classical music lovers to experience live melodies. There are even discounts available for groups, teachers, and frequent visitors. Although formal wear isn’t strictly mandatory, this is a great opportunity to dress up a little. Allow yourself to be whisked away for a classy evening.
Art Works Downtown
Downtown San Rafael is a great place to visit art galleries, exhibitions, and studios; whether you’re just observing or shopping for a new piece, this is something you don’t want to miss. On the second Friday of each month, Art Works Downtown hosts an art walk, in which you can drift in and out of receptions, galleries, and the halls of a historic building while enjoying refreshments. Be sure to explore the neighborhood for one-of-kind restaurants and boutiques as well.
For lovers of contemporary art and painting, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art in Novato is a must-see. This museum boasts three galleries with exhibitions that are changed every seven weeks, featuring both local and national artwork. These exhibitions are often focused on contemporary topics and are sure to spark discussions. You can also visit the museum store, attend one of their educational programs, or check out a special event. The best part? Most of these exhibitions are free.
MOCA provides over 60 art studios to working artists; these studios are open to the public, so you can meet and observe these artists. If you and your friends are artistically inclined, this is also a great opportunity to rent a space. Delve into your own creativity and see what you can create.
Learn Something New
If your group of girlfriends is the curious type, there is lots of new knowledge to be gathered in Marin. Visiting museums and historical sites is not just a fun way to spend the day, it’s also a great opportunity to discover new things. Here are some places to check out if this interests you.
The Museum of the American Indian
Located in Novato, a city in the north of Marin County, the Museum of the American Indian is dedicated to diving into the history and culture of the Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo people. Discover wonderfully preserved artwork, pottery, garments, and more. Apart from exhibitions, the museum also hosts workshops, poetry readings, lectures, and plenty of other opportunities to learn and discuss.
Marin County Civics Center
A civics center might not sound like anything special, but this one is an exception––the Marin County Civics Center was designed by famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright’s last project before his death in 1959, this building sports a fascinating legacy full of artistic merit, as well as some scandalous stories. Tours of the building and its eclectic furniture are available for those interested in American art and history.
To gather new experiences, you don’t have to go far––sometimes there is a host of wonderful things in your very own backyard. Check out these sights and more next time you and your girlfriends are looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon. You’re sure to have a great time in Marin!