48 Hours in Sausalito, California
This Marin County gem offers everything you need for a perfect weekend away.
With San Francisco just a short car (or ferry) ride away, and Sonoma wine country as its other neighbor, the majestic little town of Sausalito is a true gem. Sausalito is laden world-class dining options (specializing in market fresh fare) and equally as many experiences for the active traveler. From sailing and kayaking along Richardson Bay, to endless miles of hiking trails, this waterfront town makes for the ideal weekend escape. Go pack your bags and book your flight—we’ve got the itinerary covered right here.
Where to stay
Situated in downtown Sausalito, the Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa is the perfect home base for your time here. The hotel, which underwent major renovations in 2014, has an array of room options, from the hillside cottages to the stunning, 11-room historic Mansion. While all the accommodations offer clean, California modern design and most of them have sweeping views of the Richardson Bay and San Francisco Skyline, the Alexandrite Suite in The Mansion is the most luxe of them all. (The 5,000-square-foot suite includes a private concierge, personal trainers, a private chef, a private fitness center, and a car service. It's next-level luxury.)
A big part of Sausalito’s charm is its proximity to the water, so take advantage of that right away and kick off your trip with a boat tour on the San Francisco Bay. The team at SF Bay Adventures will tailor your sail to whatever your needs and desires are (pick your boat type, pick the sites you want to see, etc.), but the highlight of the journey will undoubtedly be the sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge (and the locally grown, organic meals they serve on-board, per your request). When you return to land, spend the afternoon exploring downtown Sausalito and its charming art galleries and shops. Bike or walk to lunch at Le Garage Bistro in the marina, but be prepared for a short wait because this place is a local favorite and always packed during lunchtime. The squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese, the prawn salad, and the mussels make it well worth the wait.
After lunch, if you need a pick-me-up, stop at the famous Philz Coffee on your way back to the hotel. Or, take a quick nap before heading out for the evening. One of our favorite restaurants in the area is Sushi Ran (a short walk from the hotel), where they dish up mouthwatering raw fish classics as well as more inventive takes on Japanese cuisine, like flash-seared Big Eye tuna with arugula and white truffle balsamic soy. After dinner, stop by the infamous No Name Bar (favorite by the likes of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac) for a nightcap and some live music.
To start your day, get a good sweat session in with of the many local fitness classes. Yoga instructor Susan Hauser, voted Best Yoga in Marin, is available to do group classes at the Casa Madrona (coordinate with her ahead of time through the hotel), or opt for a SUP yoga class on the water. Refuel at Cibo with one of the many great egg dishes (specials change daily), or the café's positively delectable pastries. Next, go for a day hiking excursion to the Marin Headlands (a must-do on this trip). We suggest driving to the Marin Headlands Visitor Center and start at the trek from historic rifle range. It’s a little longer than starting from Black Sands Beach, but much less crowded and more scenic.
After a big day of activities, head back to the hotel for a relaxing spa treatment—the signature Sea to Shore massage, which promotes balance and clarity, is total bliss. For dinner, head to Farmshop in the Marin Country Mart., where owner/chef Jeff Cerciello and his team strive to highlight local California ingredients and produce. They do not disappoint, from the pizzas topped with wood fired mushrooms or California tomatoes, to the market vegetable plates (spice-roasted carrots, Marin Roots braised greens, etc.) to the peppercorn crusted ribeye for two, it's all a rare treat to the palate. And, whatever you do, don’t leave without having dessert here, the gelato di bufala with shortbread cookies features Double 8 Dairy Gelato made from water buffalo milk (yes, water buffalo milk!) and it’s heavenly.