Welcome to Marshall
Like most of the coastal communities in California, Marshall is a tourist destination. However, unlike many places, it is not a touristy area. It doesn’t have an abundance of fine dining locations, or family attractions, or luxury resorts. Realistically, the area doesn’t have much outside of clams and scenery. Fortunately, several miles of undeveloped beaches and a few local restaurants is enough to draw visitors from all over the region.
Lay of the Land
Marshall is a small, unincorporated community along the western edge of Marin County. It is one of the numerous unincorporated communities sitting along the edge of the Tomales Bay that get lumped together when describing the Point Reyes Peninsula. This includes Inverness, Millerton, Seahaven, and Cypress Grove. Marshall is truly one of the smallest official communities in the area, with a listed population of just 50 residents.
The western edge of Marin County is one of the most isolated regions in California with regards to transportation infrastructure and the availability of public transportation options. The only roadway in the area is State Highway 1 which traverses the California coast for miles in each direction. It eventually bisects Interstate 101 in the south which provides access to the eastern section of the county and to the Bay Area. Public transportation is limited to the West Marin Stagecoach which operates a series of small shuttles designed to connect the outskirts of the county with the more populated central and eastern regions.
Marshall may be one of the most commercially active communities in the western section of Marin County. It functions as one of the largest growing areas for oysters and clams in the state. Of course, the growing beds are all sitting at the bottom of the Tomales Bay which means the only visible manifestation of the industry are small processing centers within the town and a handful of roadside stands where harvesters sell fresh shellfish. Additionally, Marshall is often considered the home of the dairy industry in Marin County. While the industry has shrunk gradually over the years, the area is still home to several active dairy farms.
The abundance of local cottages is one of the main ways in which the city operates as a tourist location without generating an overtly touristy vibe. The cottages are located around the community in a haphazard fashion. In most cases, they are easily confused with local houses. Currently, cottages are available from Bayglow Cottages, High Tide Cottages, and Nick’s Cove Cottages. Each of the locations features cottages of varying sizes and level of luxury. Additionally, the Strauss Home Ranch is available for overnight lodging. Connected to a functional dairy farm, The Strauss Ranch is essentially a historical location within the community that is operated as a bed and breakfast by the descendants of the original owners.
As is to be expected, the primary eateries in the area feature a wide range of locally harvested seafood. Tony’s Seafood Restaurant is the quintessential coastal dining establishment and could be easily located in any town on the edge of any ocean in the country. The restaurant was originally opened in 1940 as a way for a family of fisherman to sell the excess portions of their aquatic bounty. Over time, the restaurant grew at the same rate as the family. The modern iteration of the establishment is famous for its BBQ oysters, array of seafood chowders, and fresh crab, which are all available year round.
Nick’s Cove Restaurant is the more refined version to Tony’s rustic atmosphere. Nick’s Cove Restaurant serves the same array of freshly caught seafood as every other location along Tomales Bay. However, it does so with a grace and elegance missing from many of the earthier seaside locations. This has led to a reputation as a coastal destination for award winning cuisine and service.