Marin Headlands

Located across the Bay and across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, the Marin Headlands offer an unbelievably scenic drive, perhaps the best view of the bridge in the Bay Area and a wide range of outdoor activities, all within a short distance from the city. Now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Headlands are a habitat for an endless variety of plant and animal species and the many hiking and biking trails allow visitors a unique opportunity to observe these species up close.

Anyone who walks, bikes or backpacks through the Headlands would find it difficult to believe that a large portion of this special place was once slated to become a huge residential development. In the 1960s, the federal government sold 2,000 acres of what were formerly military installations to a private developer, who planned on building apartment towers and single-family homes to house around 30,000 people. In 1970, the developer lost a lawsuit, which claimed that some of the zoning restrictions on the land were illegal, and the land was (thankfully) sold to the Recreation Area.

Today, anyone traveling to the Headlands can enjoy the beauty of the area in a number of different ways, including:

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Backpacking
  • Fishing
  • Sightseeing from the Point Bonita Lighthouse and other remnants of military installations.
  • Checking out the history of the Headlands in the Visitor’s Center
  • Driving along Conzelman Road from the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge to Point Bonita.
  • Exploring the remnants of gun emplacements, forts and other fortifications dating back to the 1890s.
  • Many other fun, educational and interesting things to see and do.

Getting there via automobile is fairly easy, depending on weather, the time of year, traffic and special events, but you can also travel to and from the Headlands via bicycle and public transportation. The Marin Headlands are open every day from dawn to dusk but are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. Hours of operation for the Visitor’s Center and other facilities vary, but hours and more information can be found on the official site at If you’re visiting the area and are looking for fun, interesting and inexpensive things to do, or are entertaining guests, the Marin Headlands are not to be missed. They are one of the finest examples of the natural beauty of the Bay Area and offer plenty of things to see and do!