Welcome to Stinson Beach
Stinson Beach sits along Highway 1 just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. While the area is close geographic neighbors with San Francisco and the Bay Area, the few miles distance translates into a world of difference. Life moves a lot slower in Stinson Beach than it does south of the bridge. The minor things don’t seem to matter as much and the commercial development is as relaxed and modest as the people.
Lay of the Land
While Stinson Beach is a thriving community, its lack of incorporation means it is officially recognized as a census designated location and not a city. It’s located in Marin County along the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It is flanked along the coast by Muir Beach to the southeast and Bolinas to the northwest, while the Mount Tamalpais State Park sits on its border to the east and north. Though Stinson Beach is a small community of just over 600 residents, it is a geographically desirable location, with home values well over $1,000,000. At $111,840, the average household income for the area is also above state and regional averages.
Most of Marin County is miles and miles of undisturbed redwood forests and pristine canyons. The price that residents pay for uninterrupted views and picturesque backdrops is a relative lack of public transportation or extended infrastructure in general. Despite its close proximity to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Area, Stinson Beach is only accessible by road via coastal Highway 101 which runs along the Marin County Pacific Coast to the north and down into the Bay Area in the south or by going east up the Panoramic Highway over Mount Tam into Mill Valley. Public transportation is limited to Golden Gate Transit and The West Marin Stagecoach which offer shuttle services to Central Marin County and West Marin County, respectively.
The actual beach area at Stinson Beach is approximately 3.5 acres of lightly developed sand and hills. It features a host of amenities, including showers, public restrooms, and picnic areas at the nearby park, though camping is not allowed and there are no facilities for recreational vehicles on site. Despite the community’s modest size, Stinson Beach has existed in some form since the early 1800’s. This means that several local businesses, restaurants, and hotels have had a long time to develop and establish themselves as part of the cultural roots of the community.
For the most part, the restaurants in the area are relatively modest; featuring local dishes prepared using ingredients from the region. However, Marin County being what it is, modest local ingredients are a relative term. In this case, it includes fruits and vegetables grown locally, seafood caught fresh off of the coast, wine from vineyards just across the Golden Gate Bridge, and beef raised naturally on local, organic farms. The Park Side Cafe is the largest of the local eateries, featuring a cafe, bakery, beachfront snack bar, and wood fired pizza.
Sandpiper Lodging provides guests with a variety of lodging options. Located alongside Highway 1, it offers beach-side rooms, redwood cabins, kitchenettes, and traditional hotel rooms. Each of the lodging types presents guests with a separate price point and ambiance. However, each room provides guests with clean, cozy sleeping quarters, beachfront service, and access to the Sandpiper’s private garden and barbecue facilities.
Finally, the town also features a surprisingly active 2,000 square foot community center. Since the communities limited size prevents many organized community services, the community center is used primarily as a location for large social functions, including weddings, seminars, and large musical productions. To this end, it features a large stone fireplace, lofted, wood ceilings, a large kitchen area, a creek-side patio, and limited public parking spaces.