Population: Approximately 16,000
Notable residents: Joel Coen and Frances McDormand, the late Sam Francis
Fun facts: Point Reyes lies on a different tectonic plate that the rest of the coast. Bolinas and Stinson Beach face off in a tug of war competition across the Bolinas Lagoon every Fourth of July, an annual tradition (save a Covid-19 hiatus) for more than 120 years.
Comprising seven tiny hamlets — Point Reyes Station, Olema, Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Tomales, Dillon Beach and Inverness — and a whole lot of open space, West Marin is the largest rural area in Marin County. It’s bucolic rolling hills, pastures dotted with grazing cattle and sheep, sweeping ocean vistas and dramatic cliffside beaches have lured countless visitors over the years, as well as a number of notable artists, including the late abstract expressionist Sam Francis.
Nature lovers flock to Point Reyes National Seashore for a close encounter with wildlife like elephant seals and tule elk, and to Tomales Bay to witness spectacular displays of bioluminescence — best experienced on a kayak at night under the stars. Aside from all of that natural beauty, however, West Marin is also foodie paradise, home to gourmet cheese and bivalve purveyors like Cowgirl Creamery, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, Hog Island Oyster Co. and Tomales Bay Oyster Company, as well as outstanding eateries like Nick’s Cove, William Tell House, and Sir and Star at the Olema.
For more on West Marin:
- Through the History Lens: A Look Back at the Point Reyes Lighthouse
- A Guide to Point Reyes
- Where to Eat: West Marin
Lotus Abrams has covered everything from beauty to business to tech in her editorial career, but it might be writing about her native Bay Area that inspires her most. She lives with her husband and two daughters in the San Francisco Peninsula, where they enjoy spending time outdoors at the area’s many open spaces protected and preserved by her favorite local nonprofit, the Peninsula Open Space Trust.