Spend a delicious day in west marin

From the moment you set foot in Marin County, it's immediately obvious that there's nowhere else quite like it. Our rolling hills, lush green valleys, crisp air, and coastal fog are breathtakingly gorgeous to behold — and they're also part of a unique terroir that makes Marin a culinary destination in its own right. If you love food and are looking for things to do in beautiful West Marin, allow us to be your guides.

a (brief) Culinary History of Marin County

Nestled between the metropolitan food paradise of San Francisco and the farm-to-table heaven that is Sonoma County, Marin has a culinary identity that effortlessly blends these influences.

Food — and specifically farming — is woven into the history of Marin County. From the earliest days, agriculture has been a major part of the culture and community here. This includes us: Marin French Cheese Co. was founded in 1865, and we've been part of this wonderful community ever since. As the country's oldest cheese company, we're proud of Marin County's strong dairy farming traditions, and we feel incredibly privileged to produce our award-winning cheeses with local milk.

There's more to Marin than dairy though, which is what makes this place to special. Every ingredient you could possibly want for a perfect meal can be sourced from Marin farms. Oysters, mussels, clams, and all manner of seafood from Tomales Bay; pasture-raised meat and poultry; olives and olive oil; wine, beer, and even mead; and of course, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and a wide variety of local produce. This diverse farming culture and the people who make it their life's work are what make our beautiful home so special. The Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), founded in 1980, is dedicated to preserving farmland in Marin County for future generations. Pay close attention, and you'll notice MALT signs peppering the landscape as you drive around, calling attention to protected farmland. You can read more about the history of MALT and its mission here.

With so many local ingredients to choose from, it's no surprise that Marin is a sought-after home base for chefs — and a must-visit for food lovers. If you're looking for world-class dining, we have that; if something a little more low-key is your desire, we have that too. And if you're most fascinated by the "farm" part of "farm-to-table," you can easily spend a day touring farms, ranches, and other production facilities.

Spend a Perfect Day in West Marin

Between farm tours, wineries, and restaurants galore, there are so many things to do in Marin that it can be intimidating to put togther an itinerary. But we've got you. These are some of our favorite spots to eat, drink, and explore the beautiful west side of Marin County.

Eat Your Way Through West Marin

Great meals are at the heart of any trip to West Marin — starting with the most important meal of the day. Inverness Park Market has coffee, breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and everything else you could want to start your day off right. For pastry lovers, Route One Bakery & Kitchen in Tomales is well worth a stop — and if you also love pizza, be sure to come back after 11 a.m. for one of their pies. Point Reyes Station's Side Street Kitchen only serves breakfast Wednesday - Friday from 9-11 a.m., but if you're visiting on those days, you won't regret stopping in. The Point Reyes Roadhouse is another option for hearty, locally-sourced breakfasts.

For lunch, brunch, or an afternoon snack, you can't go wrong with any of the "breakfast" spots listed above, which also offer lots of options for later-in-the-day meals. Tony's Seafood Restaurant in Marshall is only open for dinner on weekends, with a lunch-focused weekday menu that's heavy on the seafood. You can also have a DIY bivalve picnic with help from Tomales Bay Oyster Company; just bring your own cooler and load up on fresh oysters, mussels, and clams. (They supply the ice — and a handy brochure with picnic locations throughout the area.) If you're craving something sweet, carve out a spot on your itinerary for the Palace Market in Point Reyes, where the buffalo milk soft-serve gelato is exactly as amazing as it sounds.

When it comes to happy hour and dinner, visitors are truly spoiled for choice — especially the seafood lovers. Station House Cafe is a longstanding and beloved farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Point Reyes Station, with plenty of local seafood and a full bar. Cafe Reyes, also in Point Reyes Station, serves incredible wood-fired pizza, as well as local oysters, salads, beer, and wine. For the gastropub crowd, Due West Tavern at the Olema House is a delicious, elevated option. Due West offers an extensive tap list, an impressive selection of wines, craft cocktails, and an excellent "farm-to-fork" menu in a relaxed environment, perfect for unwinding after a busy day.

Follow the California Cheese Trail

Once you have an idea of where you'd like to eat during your visit, it's time to plan some activities. There's plenty to do in Marin County, but unsurprisingly, our favorites all involve cheese.

For our fellow cheese lovers, we recommend planning your day around the Marin section of the California Cheese Trail. The Cheese Trail is a network of 79 California cheesemakers with a digital and physical map so travelers can find cheesemakers in their area, as well as events, classes, and tours. The Marin French Cheese Co. Cheese Shop and Picnic Grounds are unmissable, of course: Our cheese shop features all of our handmade cheeses, plus a full menu with great sandwiches, salads, and locally made beer and wine. Bring your shop haul to our picturesque (and extensive) picnic grounds for a truly memorable meal; there's no cell reception, so you'll be able to fully unplug and enjoy. For a completely cheese-centric day, stop by and visit our friends in cheese at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. and Nicasio Valley Cheese for a tour or guided tasting — just be sure to reserve in advance if necessary!

Check out some Wineries (and Other Ranches)

Sonoma doesn't have a monopoly on California wines. Family-owned Point Reyes Vineyards offers wine tastings and has a retail shop so you can pick up a few bottles to go — even if you're only going as far as your room at their inn. Mead lovers (or curious future-mead lovers) should check out Heidrun Meadery in Point Reyes Station. You can enjoy their meads by the bottle or the glass, or book a guided tasting for a little sip of everything.

If alcohol isn't your thing, the wonderful people at McEvoy Ranch grow their own olives and produce their own olive oil and honey on a beautiful 550-acre ranch, which you can tour. Reservations are required for all tours and tastings, so be sure to check their website ahead of your visit to save a spot. In addition to olive oil and honey, they offer culinary vinegars, olive tapenade and other spreads, and even body care products made with olive oil. These souvenirs are especially great for out-of-towners, since they are non-perishable and easy to pack in checked luggage.

West Marin is heaven on earth for true food lovers. Between excellent restaurants, guided tastings, farm tours, picnics, and incredible scenery you'll find no shortage of things to do — and you'll have no problem finding reasons to keep coming back.