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San Rafael, California

San Rafael, California is a true of natural beauty and endless opportunities for exploration. From rustic trails to immersive experiences, the area provides every traveler with a sense of adventure. Its attractions, such as the Marin Headlands, Muir Woods National Monument, and the Point Reyes National Seashore, offer sights that both challenge and reward. Here, magnificent landscapes and a variety of outdoor activities meet to provide a memorable and unique retreat. With so many choices, San Rafael is a must-visit destination for nature-lovers of all kinds.

Top Spots in and near San Rafael

  • Guerneville, California

    Johnson's Beach

    Johnson's Beach is a public beach located on the Russian River in Guerneville, California. 
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  • 3160 North Shoreline Boulevard, California

    SUP Shoreline Lake

    3.0
    Shoreline Lake features a big lake, many hiking and biking trails, and lot of picnic areas in Mountain View, CA. Kayaks, SUP, and various boats can be rented from the boat house. This is a great place to enjoy the water no matter what season it is. There are large grassy areas for kids to run and...
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  • Portola Valley, California

    Hike the Windy Hill Loop

    4.3
    7.2 mi / 1400 ft gain
    This 7.2-mile loop starts by heading out of the parking lot and onto the Spring Ridge Trail. Head Southeast On Spring Ridge Trail until you connect with Hamms Gulch Trail. When you jump on Hamms Gulch, head southwest for ~3.4 miles as you circle the far end of the OSP. At this point, you will con...
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  • Jenner, California

    Bouldering at Lamb's Rock, Sunset Boulders

    5.0
    Lamb Boulder, located within the "Sunset Boulders" collection, contains four fun and challenging V2 - V6 bouldering routes. They are: Calambity: V6Rock Scar: V3+Skullcracker: V2 RThe Specialist: V4 Lamb Boulder is located directly across from the Sunset Boulder itself and its trad routes. To get ...
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  • Portola Valley, California

    Sunrise Hike at Windy Hill

    5.0
    There are a few options to this hike. Usually I would recommend parking in the lot on Portola Road, but because the preserve doesn't open until 30 minutes before sunrise, it's best to park up on Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35). There are two places to park up on Skyline, but the main parking lot i...
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  • Jenner, California

    Bouldering at Sunset Boulders

    5.0
    0.6 mi
    You can see the boulders off the left side of the road. Couple of different pullouts you can park at to start your approach. It’s about half a mile from the road all downhill. It’s easy going when you’re on your way, but kind of a pain after you’re whooped from climbing.  Bouldering, high balls, ...
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  • Palo Alto, California

    Hike the Arastradero Preserve Loop

    3.0
    4.5 mi / 600 ft gain
    Getting There: From Hwy 280, take the Page Mill Road exit and head West on Page Mill Road, away from Downtown Palo Alto (if you're taking 101, exit on Oregon Expressway). Then turn right on Arastradero Road. There will be a small sign indicating the dirt parking lot on the eastern side of the str...
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  • Half Moon Bay, California

    Stroll along the Southern Beaches at San Gregorio State Beach

    4.0
    2.9 mi / 413 ft gain
    Not a trail per se, but approximately 3 miles (down and back) of beautiful beach to walk down. Lots of interesting caves, wild animals, and rock formations to discover. This is a popular location for sea kayakers. San Gregorio State Beach was originally founded to protect the estuary at the back ...
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  • Guerneville, California

    East Ridge - Pool Ridge Loop

    4.5
    3.37 mi / 810 ft gain
    This park most resembles Muir Woods, and if you're looking to get out of the tourist trap, head to Armstrong Redwoods and make a day of it. This 3-mile hike takes off from the sign pointing to East Ridge Trail. As you begin a slight climb up the trail, you'll be under the cover of the redwoods, s...
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  • Los Altos, California

    Park Day at Foothills Park

    1.7
    Disclaimer: Foothills Park requires proof of residence in Palo Alto or being accompanied by a resident of the city. Learn more here.Foothills Park is 2.7 miles west of 280 after exiting Page Mill. After exiting you take a short scenic drive up the hill and come to the park entrance on your right...
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  • Guerneville, California

    Parson Jones and Colonial Armstrong Redwood Trees

    5.0
    The Parson Jones Tree is the tallest tree in the reserve, measuring more than 310 feet (94 m) in height. This is longer than the length of a football field!  Named after a lumberman who chose to preserve this portion of the park in the 1870s, the Colonel Armstrong Tree is the oldest tree in the ...
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  • Fremont, California

    Mission Peak via Hidden Valley Trail

    4.2
    6.16 mi / 2116 ft gain
    Breathtaking views of the Bay Area are your reward for making this climb to the top of Mission Peak. It’s a 3-mile trek to the top of the peak and then back down the same way. This is a moderate hike that provides a nice workout – so be prepared. Park at the Stanford Avenue entrance gate. There ...
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  • Calistoga, California

    Hike Mount Saint Helena

    4.3
    10 mi / 2100 ft gain
    Drive north from Napa following Rt 29, through Calistoga and up into the forest. After passing the sign for Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, and just over the crest, there is a parking area on the right side of the road, opposite the trailhead on the left. Parking fills up by mid-morning so get...
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  • Guerneville, California

    Austin Creek State Recreation Area Loop

    5.0
    8.65 mi / 1722 ft gain
    The hike starts at the Gilliam Creek Trailhead, halfway up Armstrong Woods Road on the way to Bullfrog Pond. There is an $8 fee to enter the park, to be paid at the ranger kiosk as you enter Armstrong Woods.  HIKING Begin hiking by descending the Gilliam Creek Trail. The descent is long and ste...
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  • Santa Clara County, California

    Black Mountain via Rhus Ridge Trail

    9.75 mi / 2992 ft gain
    Just outside of Los Altos is a very long ridge of mountains, one of which is Black Mountain.  This is a very dry hike, with no tree canopy, so it can get very hot! Be aware that this can make the hike feel a lot more difficult with the sun beating down on you. Follow Rhus Ridge Trail to Black Mo...
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  • San Jose, California

    Catch a Sunset at Alviso Marina County Park

    3.0
    9 mi / 72 ft gain
    This tranquil 20.6 acre park is open year round from 8am to sunset. It’s the gateway to the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It is filled with boardwalks, trails, and all kinds of wildlife. I went here with the sole intent of catching a pretty sunset after a long week.  I g...
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