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The Golden Gate National Recreation Area protects over 80 thousand acres in Northern California. For this trip, we decided to explore the Marin Headlands section. The Marin Headlands is a peninsula just north of San Francisco on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge. I’d been to San Francisco many times before and had seen the bridge from that perspective, but this was the first time for all of us viewing the bridge, Alcatraz and the city from this vantage point. There far fewer tourists here and we enjoyed the view that much more, even though the bridge remained mostly shrouded in fog.
We stopped in two places. The first was Point Bonita. We hiked down the steep half mile trail through a tunnel in a hill and across a bridge to Point Bonita Light. There was a ranger on hand whose grandmother had lived in this lighthouse as a child. We spent a lot of time talking to him about the lighthouse which was constructed in 1855 as the third lighthouse on the West Coast. It is still active today and managed by the coast guard.
The second place we stopped was the Marine Mammal Center. Thank goodness for places like these! Our group felt it was well worth the visit and admission just to support the organization’s efforts to rehabilitate sick and injured marine mammals.
That said,we didn’t spend very long there. Our agenda for the day was pretty packed and we were there in between tour times. You can self-guide, but this is really not a zoo/aquarium. The animals are unwell and too much noise and commotion is not good for them. They can be viewed from a distance, but without the narrative from the docent on success stories, it was really too sad to linger for long.
On the drive to the lighthouse, we found a pullout with a seal rock that was close enough for us to really see the seals without binoculars.
Location: 948 Fort Barry, Sausalito, CA 94965
Designation: National Recreation Area
Date designation declared: 10/27/1972
Date of my visit: August 12, 2012
13 thoughts on “Golden Gate National Recreation Area: Marin Headlands”
Fantastic post as always!
Beautiful photos! I still have yet to visit San Francisco and all its beauty.. when I do, I’ll keep in mind to check out this place!
Thanks! I don’t know why it took me so long to explore this side of the bay!
So beautiful. Oh to have healthy legs to make the climbs. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks! My cousin is disabled, walks with a cane and she made it down to the lighthouse with us. It was a challenge getting her back up to the parking lot, but she managed it.
Great post. We have driven from Berkeley across the bridge to Marin County before, but never stopped until we reached Sausalito or Muir Woods. Did not know this was there.
Thanks! We did the same for years, until I checked the NPS website and saw this on the map. My cousins LIVE there and didn’t know about this until I added it to our itinerary.
You hit some of my favorite spots in the GGNRA. I love Point Bonita. Beautiful shots.
Thanks! There’s always a new adventure when I visit SF…so many beautiful places!
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