Just a quick 15-minute veer southeast off of Highway 1 is the quaint peninsula town of Tiburon in Marin County. What used to be a small railway hub before goods were shipped into San Francisco is now one of the most beautiful locations in the Bay Area to live and play, so let’s check the most fantastic things to do in Tiburon, CA.
Always remember to double-check dates, opening times, and weather conditions before traveling.
When the trains finally stopped the land was quickly preserved into an open space parkland that follows the water’s edge in both directions. Along with the preserved land of a few more spots that we will discuss later, there are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had in this small 13.22 mile stretch of land jutting into the gorgeous bay.
And when you are tired of all the fresh air, there are some phenomenal restaurants and a little shopping to fill and fuel the soul before you venture off to your next destination along the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway.
Below are all the fun things to fill a few days in Tiburon, California.
Top Things to Do in Tiburon CA
- Address: 1920 Paradise Dr Belvedere Tiburon, CA 94920
- Visit Website
For those of you that like to get a good lay of the land when you’re visiting a new place, this is a perfect first stop. Along with a historical account of the beginning of the town, there is also a very cool detailed replica of its heyday as a railway town.
There’s also a preserved room on the second floor as it would have looked when the stationmaster lived there. This is a great place for kids to see and use their imagination, or just flex your own history buffness and see the small beginnings of a tiny town-turned real estate mecca.
Just a 10-minute ferry ride from the heart of Tiburon is Angel Island and all it has to offer. As mentioned in the Ultimate 101 Things to do in San Francisco, there are tons to see and do on this unsuspecting island in the SF Bay depending on your desired activity level.
Due to its proximity to Tiburon, it is an easy day trip from the ferry port with round trip adult fares starting at $15 a person and less for kids and seniors (check fares here).
The history of Angel Island is varied and was used for many purposes over the years, mostly military. It was a key location as a line of defense during wars, used as a quarantine station for both soldiers and ships alike, and most notably an immigration camp in the early 1900s.
Most of the buildings have been abandoned save for a few that serve as residents to park officials.
Places to note when you tour the island
- Ayala Cove
- Camp Reynolds
- The Battery Ledyard
- Fort McDowell
- Immigration Dorms
A very popular way to see the island is via a bike ride. You can BYOB or rent one on the island. There are also great rental companies in Tiburon if you want to use them for the whole stay and even some of the hotels have them to borrow.
Personally, I suggest looking into an E-bike for when the hills become a bit much, but biking isn’t my strong suit so I need a little help in that department. They offer both types of bikes if renting on the island.
Again, you can make the island as easy or difficult as you want. The paved trail that rings around the island is 5 miles total, or you can take the trail to the top of Mt. Livermore that begins in Ayala Cove which is about 5 miles up and back and is much more difficult. But these are just the two most popular.
Check out the Alltrails site for a list of additional trails and paths.
There are many placards and informational posts throughout the island for self-guided walking tours, but if you are a fan of people doing the work for you then I suggest booking a guided tour.
There are a few different options to choose from, but you can always book what seems interesting to you and then follow up later with another area on your own if it peeks your interest.
This option is great for families as there is a minimum for booking.
There is a cafe in Ayala Cove if you didn’t pack one, but there is something about the stunning views and many spots to just sit and take a load off that begs for a picnic on Angel Island.
If you really want to be bougie, I suggest ordering something at one of the delicious restaurants mentioned later in this post, grab a blanket and a bottle of wine and just take in the scenery for a bit.
Even on a cloudy day, there is something breathtaking about the rolling hills and the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
Swing at the Tiburon Hippie Tree
- Address 100 Gilmartin Dr Tiburon, CA 94920
- Turn off Tiburon Boulevard onto Gilmartin Drive
- Park near 100 Gilmartin Drive
- Walk up the hill on the fire road to reach the Hippie Tree
- Entrance to the fire road is across from 100 Gilmartin Drive
For a fun Instagramable moment or just a nice walk to see some more sights pop in the address above and go check out Hippie Tree. Rumor has it that there is occasionally more than one swing but it is always changing.
The home to an old but very well preserved mission chapel on 122 acres in a great location to get a good walk in, take in some views, and if you time it right, gawk at the beautiful wildflower meadows.
Some of the trails can be a bit steep or rocky, but other trails that criss-cross can be smaller and just wander through the fields. If you were looking for fun things to do in Tiburon, this is a good hike to get the blood pumping, and if you don’t have enough time to do Angel Island, this is a good alternative.
- If you are looking for a nice stroll or an easy bike ride check out the Old Rail Trail and end at Blackies Pasture. Take a photo of the cool bronzed statue of the famous swayback horse that lived there for almost 30 years. He’s a town favorite.
- Or grab a coffee at Cafe Acri and walk along Shoreline Park for some fresh air and views the bay.
- Address: 3450 Paradise Dr Tiburon, CA 94920
- Visit Website
Get your outdoor water activities on at this local favorite spot along the water. There is a pier for fishing (unlicensed) or licensed from the beach and there is even a place to clean your daily catch. It’s also a great spot to launch a stand-up paddleboard or kayak into the water.
Swimming is also permitted but this is not for the faint of heart. It can get cold and tides can be brutal. Strong swimmers only are highly suggested.
If the solid ground is more your thing, there is ample space to set up a picnic in the grassy knolls or picnic benches. With even a few Adirondack chairs placed around to just sit and take it all in. It really is a sweet little park.
Another great hike for the naturalists out there is at Ring Mountain. Geologists and rock buffs are big fans of this preserve due to its interesting mix of mineral rocks, boulders, and formations. Nature lovers come here for the vast array of wildflowers, at their peak in the springtime through early summer.
You can also see boulder climbers often at the top of Turtle Rock. It can get pretty windy at the top of the mountain and a little muddy on the trails so make sure to dress accordingly.
Back in the days when houseboats were the rave, there were some gorgeous arks that docked along the downtown area in the winters.
Once the lagoon was filled in and the desire for living on the houseboats seemed to ease, many of the arks were converted into a permanent building, some even being stacked onto one another. This can be seen now in what is known as the historic Ark Row in Tiburon.
Small boutique clothing shops and businesses run along Main Street alongside restaurants and wine bars. This is not Melrose Ave, it’s tiny and quaint. But fun to wander in a few shops and maybe stop for a small bite to eat in the area, rumors claim that some og the best plaes to eat in Tiburon CA are in this area.
- Address: 96 Main St Belvedere Tiburon, CA 94920
One of my favorite places to pop into whenever we’re in Tiburon is this small and adorable little thrift shop within “Lower Ark Row”. Just like any thrift shop, it is hit and miss, but the curation is fun and definitely has a lean towards the higher end and brand names that are popular.
- Address: 5 Main St Tiburon, CA 94920
- Make Reservations
We’re going to start off with a fairly newer addition to Tiburon that is easily becoming a go-to in Tiburon. I’ve even recently eaten there for a girls get together for the prix fixe brunch during the holidays.
Everyone loved what they got. Well maybe except for the crinkle fries, which apparently is a very touchy issue. I didn’t know this, but you either love ‘em or hate ‘em I guess.
The one thing we didn’t try but I still think about is their lobster pot pie. Which is supposed to be amazing. But the dinner menu looks delish too. And the cocktails were very well thought out and balanced. Highly recommend.
- Address: 27 Main St Tiburon, CA 94920
Many a good time has been had at Sam’s Anchor Cafe by locals and visitors alike. I swear this restaurant is almost a right of passage for people who live in the Marin area or SF. And it is arguably one of the must-go places to eat in Tiburon.
You have to go at least once to experience the lively staff and ambiance. There is a huge patio overlooking the bay and docks right below where you can either dock a boat and come into the restaurant or even order for boat delivery.
Most popular is the weekend brunch, where the ever-changing seasonal menu rarely disappoints. The cocktails are on point and on a really sunny day, their (adult) pink lemonades hit the spot perfectly. Weekdays and evenings are a great time for a more chill vibe.
Pro Tip: If you can try to sit on the benches on the edge as they are heated, but dont worry, heaters are throughout if it turns chilly. And just like all good things, there might be a wait. This place can get busy (mostly during the brunch/lunch hours on weekends)
- Address: 35 Main St Tiburon, CA 94920
- Make Reservations
This small idyllic Italian seafood restaurant is everything you want in a small-town eatery over the water. Dishes are made with love and passion, the wait staff is sweet and you can see in the details of this restaurant that it’s just the definition of a mom & pop restaurant that’s kicking butt and taking names, along with a few awards. It’s recommended to make reservations ahead of time.
- Address: 38 Main St Tiburon, CA 94920
- Visit Website
A great lunch spot or place to grab something to go for a picnic on Angel Island. They have everything you would expect from a seaside luncheon spot. From crabcakes and ahi tuna salads to sandwiches and melts.
- Address: 1 Main St Tiburon, CA 94920
- Visit Website
Remember when I suggested grabbing a coffee and walking along Shoreline Park? This is the place. It’s conveniently located near the Ferry Building and delivers on all the caffeine needs one has in the morning.
Other Tiburon Restaurants to Check Out
- Rustic Bakery: 1550 Tiburon Blvd Belvedere Tiburon, CA 94920
- Squalo Vino Wine Bar: 34 Main St Tiburon, CA 94920
- Tiburon Wine: 84 Main St Belvedere Tiburon, CA 94920
- The Caprice: 2000 Paradise Dr Tiburon, CA 94920
If we’re being totally honest here, there aren’t many places to choose from. It’s a small town and nearby, in Marin, there are many more options. But the two hotels in Tiburon they do have are very popular.
Airbnb and Vrbo are always an option as well, but for this article, we will list what’s available year-round.
Right in the heart of Tiburon near the ferry is this gorgeous small boutique hotel with maritime vibes and great views. They have welcoming staff and do a complimentary breakfast delivered to your room each morning (ordered the night before). The rooms are spacious and have everything you need for a getaway in Tiburon.
This family-friendly hotel has been a staple of Tiburon for many years. Recently undergoing a renovation, the rooms are good sized, has an outdoor pool and outdoor fireplace to cozy up next to. There is the Tiburon Tavern Restaurant as well for easy dining.
So there you have it, unique things to do in Tiburon California, plus best place to eat and hotels in Tiburon. Are you visiting soon?