ANGEL ISLANDIS CLOSE TO TIBURON,
AND A QUICK FERRY RIDE FROM THE DOWNTOWN DOCK.
For an upscale escape, tony Tiburon is a deluxe departure
from typical shoreline destinations. A quick detour from
Highway 101, this gleaming little town is more Rockefeller than
rustic. Mansions and manicured lawns line the road to the heart
of this haute hamlet, which is bedecked with bespoke boutiques,
gourmet eateries and tastefully curated galleries. While there is
no sandy beach, a lush green lawn lines the waterfront, making
for a perfect spot to take in the views of Angel Island, Alcatraz,
San Francisco’s sparkling skyline and beyond. Ferries to San Francisco
and Angel Island depart from a picturesque dock. Indulge
in a gourmet meal as you wait for your vessel, or just feast your
eyes on the awe-inspiring horizon. Culinary choices range from
resort-style Mexican fare—and margaritas!—at Guaymas (guaymasrestaurant.
com) to the famous fish ’n’ chips at dockside Sam’s
Anchor Café (samscafe.com).
If island life is your jam but you are not inclined to wait in
long lines to tour Alcatraz, Angel Island is the Bay’s “other” island.
It’s close to Tiburon, and a quick ferry ride from the downtown
dock. Many passengers bring bikes with them to make the most
of their mobility once they arrive. Once called the Ellis Island of
the West, today it’s a great place to immerse yourself in history
by exploring its old military posts and visiting the Immigration
86 South Bay Accent
Station, a landmark that was the first glimpse of America for a
million new immigrants from the Pacific Rim who were processed
between 1910 and 1940.
The easiest way to get around the island and marvel at magnificent
views of San Francisco is on the tram tours that leave from
the cafe several times daily; an even zippier way to see it all is on
a Segway tour. You can also “BYO” bike or kayak or rent to pedal
or paddle around the perimeter.
Headlands & Muir Beach
If you prefer to bypass the bay island ferry jaunt and instead
dip a toe into the Pacific, simply drive across Highway 101 to the
Headlands and continue on through the former military installation
to its small ocean beach. You’ll first climb a steep hill and pass
one of the most famous lookout venues in America right above
the Golden Gate, the location of just about every car commercial
ever shot in the Bay Area.
For a different scenic marine adventure, buckle up and take
the next exit to Muir Beach off 101 to Highway 1, a twisty ribbon
of asphalt with dramatic dips, curves and ascents. As it nears
the Pacific, it passes Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, a Buddhist
sanctuary and retreat, before opening out onto a beautiful view of
the ocean. You’ll soon arrive at the shoreline community of Muir
Beach, just three miles south of Muir Woods.
On days that send inland Bay Area thermometers surging, its