No need to go to Hawaii, Paris or even Lake Tahoe for a vacation. We have plenty of options in our own immediate backyard to please even the most discerning leisure lover. Marin and our near neighbor Sonoma County are chock full of interesting opportunities to staycation. Here are some choices.


Travel up to the charming town of Marshall along the California Coast, home where more than half of the State’s oysters are harvested. Have a picnic lunch outside at Hog Island Oyster Company or the The Marshall Store. Explore Millerton Point at Tomales Bay State Park and then spend the night in a yurt at the Windsong Guest Yurt which is just down the road near Pt. Reyes Station.


The unmarked town of Bolinas has some of the best beaches to learn how to surf. Take a surf lesson with one of the rad and awesome instructors from Prooflab where you can rent all you need to look like a pro surfer including wetsuit and board. After a couple of hours of humbling schooling, head to the Parkside Cafe for a hearty lunch and don’t forget to reserve your loaf of Gruyere Cheese Bread to bring home from their bakery. You earned every morsel.


Sometimes it’s just too cold in the summer in Marin. Head up to Johnson's Beach along the banks of the Russian River near the charming town of Guerneville where it’s reliably hot and the river is inviting. If you’re too lazy to drive home, you can stay in their historic lodge, cabins or even camp.


Head up to Healdsburg and just on the outskirts of town is River's Edge, where you can reserve canoes or kayaks to do a leisurely paddle down the Upper Russian River. Pack a picnic lunch and stop along a grassy shore and throw down your blanket. If you have any energy left after your paddle, you can head to MacRostie Winery just down the road from the town square of Healdsburg for delicious wines in a stunning setting.


Pack the car with your tent, sleeping bag and your bike and head to Samuel P. Taylor State Parkwhere you can commune with nature under the canopy of redwood trees, hike moderate trails, ride the bike path that parallels the stream and watch salmon spawn. If roasting weenies over the campfire isn’t for you, head over to Nicasio and Rancho Nicasio for dinner with a side of live music.


Just up Highway One before Stinson Beach is an open secret of one of the most sought after campsites around, Steep Ravine. A group of bare bones cabins date back to the 1940s. There is no plumbing or electricity but there are sleeping platforms, BBQs and picnic tables and a drop dead view. There are also 7 tent sites in this exclusive glampsite.


Arranging an African safari can be very expensive, not to mention a very long plane ride. There is a safari option in our own backyard, Safari West in Santa Rosa. On a 400 acre private reserve, see giraffes, monkeys, zebras, rhinoceros, carnivores and many other varieties of wildlife native to Africa. You can spend the day there riding through the bush or you can spend the night in authentic African tent cabins.


When even going to Lake Tahoe is just a lake too far, how about getting your boating on Lake Sonoma. Only 10 minutes outside of Healdsburg, this 2700 acre lake created in 1983 by the Warm Springs Dam has 50 miles of coastline and plenty of water sport options including water ski boats, jet skis and pontoon boats. And, if you’re too sunburned and tired to drive back to Marin, there are campsites with fire pits and picnic tables too!


Want to be transported back to the 19th century? Climb aboard a classic tall ship and head out on the Bay for a sunset cruise with Call of the Sea. They have two tall ships, the Schooner Seaward and the Matthew Turner that set sail for majestic sails around the Bay. This one is special.

As you can see, there are plenty of staycation options in our own backyard. Let the fun begin!