The world-famous San Francisco icon is a quick drive south from the Villa Inn.
Park at the Vista Point parking lot and walk across the bridge for a unique San Francisco experience.
For a view of the bridge from above, drive to the Golden Gate Observation Deck in the Marin Headlands and walk the short trail to Battery Spenser.
Further up the road, Hawk Hill is worth a visit for more spectacular views of the bridge and San Francisco. Here you can also find military remnants from WWII that are worth exploring.
Head to Fort Baker for unique views of the bridge from below.
Find out more about the history of the bridge on the Golden Gate Bridge website.
In the heart of San Francisco, you'll find cable cars, world-class restaurants, shopping, museums and much more!
We recommend taking the Golden Gate Ferry from the Larkspur Ferry Terminal and exploring the city.
From the San Francisco Ferry Terminal, Union Square shopping district is a 20 minute walk or a 5 minute street-car ride (directions); Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf are a 30 minute walk or 10 minute street-car ride (directions).
Close to Union Square, you'll find the main entrance to Chinatown (See Map) and the Powell & Hyde cable car which goes through North Beach to Fisherman's Wharf (SFMTA). You can board the cable car at any stop along the route.
San Francisco's Financial District is a 10 minute walk from the Ferry Building. Don't miss the Bank of America Building and the Transamerica Pyramid.
About 30 minutes north-east of the Villa Inn, you find will wine-tasting options and more at Viansa Winery & Tasting Room, Jacuzzi Vineyards, The Olive Press, Cline Cellars, Gloria Ferrer Wines, and Cornerstone Sonoma.
The town of Sonoma is about 10 minutes further. Here you'll find great restaurants, wine-tasting rooms, and the historical Sonoma Plaza.
Many more wineries surround the town of Sonoma on both the east and west sides. We recommend visiting historical Buena Vista Winery on the east side of Sonoma.
North of Sonoma, along Highway 12, there are many more wineries worth visiting. We recommend a stop at VJB Cellars for Italian-style wine, fantastic oven-fired pizza, and a great Italian-themed deli.Directions to Sonoma
Healdsburg, in the northern part of Sonoma County, is about an hour's drive north along Highway 101. Great wine and friendy tasting experiences abound in the near-by Alexander Valley, along Dry Creek Road, or in tasting rooms in Downtown Headldsburg.
Some of our favorite spots along Dry Creek Road are Quivira Vineyards, Truett Hurst Winery, Lambert Bridge, and Yoakim Bridge Winery.
The Dry Creek General Store is a great place to stop for a hearty sandwich or other snacks to enjoy while wine-tastingDirections to Healdsburg
Great Pinot Noir is about an hour's drive north-west in the Russian River Valley. There are many wineries in this area, all offering a variety of options.
A list of wineries can be found on the Russian River Valley website. We recommend Iron Horse Vineyards and Merry Edwards Winery.Directions to Healdsburg
Experience the famous old growth coast redwoods at Muir Woods!
About a 25 minute drive from the Villa Inn, Muir Woods is an excellent place to spend a few hours wandering in the majestic shadows of the redwoods.
Park information can be found on the National Park Service website. Reservations for parking are required, and cell phone service is generally unavailable at and near the park, so it's recommended to reserve ahead of time. Details can be found on the National Park Service website.
Spetacular coastal views await at Point Reyes in western Marin!
Point Reyes National Seashore is about a 45 minute drive west from the Villa Inn. The area is quite large and offers great views of the Pacific Ocean as well as fantastic hiking trails. More information can be found on the National Park Service website.
Experience a relaxing Marin beach town!
Stinson Beach, a 40 minute drive from the Villa Inn, is a great place to spend an afternoon exploring the beach and taking in amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. Have lunch at one of the many small restaurants in the area and enjoy the fresh air! More information can be found on the National Park Service website.
Enjoy world-class wine and wine-tasting experiences!
Napa Valley spans from the town of Napa itself north to the town of Calistoga. The heart of the Napa Valley, Yountville, is about a 45 minute drive from the Villa Inn. There are two main roads where most of the wineries are found - Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail. We recommend picking 3 wineries, visiting one in the morning, stopping for lunch, then visiting two more. Most wineries close between 4:30 and 5pm and also require reservations for tastings, so be sure to plan ahead!
Our favorite wineries are Domain Chandon for sparkling wine, Sterling Vineyards and Stag's Leap for great whites and reds.
A good resource for Napa Wineries can be found on the official Napa Valley website.
A quick 10 minute drive from the Villa Inn, Sausalito is a quaint water-front town reminescient of coastal European towns.
Visit Sausalito for great resturants and views of San Francisco as well as gift shops and boutiques.
A 15 minute drive from the Villa Inn, the Sonoma Raceway is where you will find racing events like the NASCAR Savemart 500.
Frank Lloyd Wright's last major commission is just a few minute's drive from the Villa Inn. Tours are available or you can wander most of the building yourself.
More information can be found on the Marin County website.
West Marin is a very large, rural area which spans from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area at the southern-most part to Tomales Bay at the northern-most part. Highway 1 is the main thoroughfare in the area with roads going east-west that connect West Marin to the rest of the county. You can find everything from cheese to oysters to beaches to great hikes in the area.
One of our favorite excursions is the Cheese Trail where you can taste some amazing cheese from local dairies. The town of Nicasio is about a 25 minute drive from the Villa Inn.
Point Reyes has some great hiking trails for all levels and a stop at Hog Island Oysters in Marshall never disappoints for some fresh oysters!
Great views of San Francisco and the Bay await at Angel Island! To get here, you will need to take a ferry either from Tiburon or San Francisco. It is about 15 minutes from the Villa Inn to the Tiburon Ferry and a short 10-15 minute ferry ride to the island.
More about Angel Island can be found on the California Department of Parks and Recreation website
Fisherman's Wharf is a 30 minute drive from the Villa Inn. You can also take the ferry from Larkspur and the F-line streetcar along the Embarcadero for a very enjoyable trip. You'll find many gift shops, restaurants, the iconic Pier 39, and the ferry to Alcatraz along the wharf. If you do drive, there are many public parking areas available, but be sure to not leave any valuables visible in your car.
More information can be found on the official website for Fisherman's Wharf
Perhaps the most famous tourist attraction in San Francisco, Pier 39 offers shopping, waterfront seafood, sea lions, and great bay views!
Pier 39 is on Fisherman's Wharf and can be reached by car in about 30 minutes from the Villa Inn or by taking the ferry from Larkspur and the F-line streetcar along the embarcadero. There are public parking lots in the area, but be sure to not leave any valuables visible in your car.
More about Pier 39 can be found on the official Pier 39 website
Alcatraz, the prison island famously known as "The Rock", is an incredibly unique place to experience first hand. Walk through the prison halls and grounds following an audio tour that includes former prisoner recounts of life on the rock.
From the Villa Inn, you can drive to Fisherman's Wharf or take the ferry from Larkspur and the F-Line street car to Pier 33 for the ferry to Alcatraz.
More about Alcatraz can be found on the National Park Service website
Advance reservations are highly recommended. The official site for Alcatraz tickets is https://alcatrazcruises.com .
Fanstastic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, and the Pacific Ocean await in the Marin Headlands. As a National Recreation Area, the Headlands is quite vast. Explore remants from WWII at Hawk Hill (20 minutes from the Villa Inn) above the Golden Gate Bridge, visit Point Bonita Lighthouse, relax at Rodeo Beach and more!
More about the Marin Headlands can be found on the National Park Service website.
Founded in 1817 as a hospital, Mission San Rafael is just a mile from the Villa Inn. The buildings there today are not the original mission buildings, but the museum and gift shop is a worthwhile visit for Mission history.
More about Mission San Rafael can be found on the California Missions website