One of the many reasons people love the Bay Area is that getting outdoors for a coastal adventure is always an option. And there’s probably no better example than hiking the Marin Headlands from Muir Beach. Just 30 minutes from San Francisco, this 9-mile (round-trip) journey has it all: dramatic coastal views, Zen gardens, and a secret pocket cove with an illustrious past. Oh yeah, and a nearby place to grab a pint afterwards! Start your hike at Redwood Creek and wind through the Green Gulch Zen Center up to Coyote Ridge, where you’ll get your first views of the city along with magnificent ocean vistas.
The Miwok Trail brings you down to busy Tennessee Valley. Walk towards the beach, then shoot off on the Coastal Trail and back up to those great views (and fewer people). On the last section, detour to Pirates Cove (the entrance is marked by an old “Pacific Coast Trail” sign). It’s a scramble down to this beach, formerly used for bootlegging because of its private location. About the size of a football field, Pirates Cove is one of those places you only want to share with good friends.
BONUS FOOD & BEER: Post-hike, grab a pint at Muir Beach’s Pelican Inn. If the weather’s nice, grab a spot on the lawn and drink in the English ambience (along with a pint of “arf and arf”—half Guiness and half ale).