North Bay is internationally-renowned for its world-class wineries and redwood forests. But, just below its surface, the region has even more to offer.
Acquaint yourself with these lesser-known novelties in the North Bay
As throngs of tourists flock to Muir Woods, Tomales Point
at the northern end of Point Reyes National Seashore features its own natural beauty without the crowds. Enjoy an easy hike down to McClures Beach to breath in the sea mist. The more challenging 9.7-mile round trip hike to Tomales Point will reward you with dramatic views of the Pacific coastline—you may even spot local wildlife, such as tule elk.
Open all day, every day. The visitor center is open from 10 AM to 4:30 PM. Free.
The Birds Cafe in Bodega Bay
The casual atmosphere of this eatery
perched above the Bay Harbor contrasts nicely with the region’s intense culinary scene. Their menu is full of fresh seafood favorites like clam chowder, shrimp tacos, and BBQ oysters, and the picnic-style setting offers beautiful views of the tranquil bay. Located on the historic Route 1, The Birds Cafe is the perfect spot to enjoy the simple delights of California seafood.
Open daily from 11:30 AM to 6 PM. No reservations.
The Lark Theater
This Art Deco landmark
in Larkspur was built in 1936 and restored in 2004. It has since showcased nationally-recognized jazz musicians, classical music performances, and comedy shows. The Lark Theater has adapted to the times and hosts the “Lark Drive-In: Movies Under the Stars
” series. Several nights a week, the theater screens classic films rarely screened anymore.
Open Friday through Sunday. Screenings start at 6:30 PM. $30 per car, $15 for a single occupant.
Old Faithful Geyser of Napa Valley
You don’t have to trek to Yellowstone to see a geyser—Napa Valley has its own
. One of three in the world that erupts regularly, this impressive display of nature’s power is open to the public. Enjoy a picnic lunch and take in the beautiful scenery as you wait for the geyser to perform. Nearby attractions include a petting zoo and a geology museum that is free with admission.
Open daily from 8:30 AM to 5 PM. Adults $15, seniors $13, children $9, children under 4 free.
Museum of Propaganda
This small museum
in San Rafael boasts a comprehensive collection of propaganda paraphernalia. The museum’s founders, both of whom lived behind the Iron Curtain, amassed it over forty years. Striking political art from North Korea, Iran, Cuba, and other nations are on display, giving an eye-opening account of how these governments attempted to manipulate the minds of their people. This unusual but fascinating stop is well worth a visit.
Open Thursday through Saturday from 12 PM to 3 PM. Donation only.
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