Tiburon – A San Francisco Lesser-Known Day Trip

Just about everyone has heard of Sausalito, California, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. But few know about Tiburon, just a 10-minute drive away. Don’t feel like driving? Then it’s just a 30-minute ride across the water from San Francisco’s Ferry Building during rush hour or Pier 41 throughout the day. In fact, it’s a great place to hike, bike or sail for the day.

“Tiburon” is Spanish for “shark”. Some historians say it was named that for leopard sharks seen in the area when Spanish explorers first discovered the Tiburon Peninsula in 1775. All I know is that in 1978, I was in Acapulco and saw a movie marquee reading, “Tiburon Dos” which translated to “Jaws 2”.

A Hiking Paradise.
If you love to hike with your friends or four-legged companions, Tiburon is a hiker’s paradise and your dog’s best friend. After all, of its 13.22 square miles, about 1/3 is land and 2/3 is water in Richardson Bay between Mill Valley and Tiburon. And the 4.48 square miles of land has a great deal of open space such as Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve, the Reed Ranch Fire Road, the Old St. Hilary’s Open Space Preserve, and Blackie’s Pasture.

A Bike Trail To Die For.
If you love to cycle, Tiburon is an easy ride from San Francisco, across the Golden Gate, through Sausalito, then on bike paths through Mill Valley, and southeast into Tiburon. The Town of Tiburon’s bike paths are well-marked, well-travelled and popular with groups throughout most of the year. In fact, almost every day at Blackie’s Pasture, you’re likely to see teams of riders whipping down the trails east and west.

A Choice of World-Class Yacht Clubs.
Tiburon has not one, not two, but three world-class sailing clubs. The Corinthian Yacht Club is the biggest and most prominent, dating back to 1886 and fronting San Francisco Bay on Main Street. Next, the San Francisco Yacht Club is a block away on Beach Road, faces the harbor, but was established even earlier –– in 1869, Finally, the Paradise Cay Yacht Club is the peninsula’s only public marina; it’s about a 10-minute drive north along the coast on Tiburon Boulevard towards Corte Madera, the adjacent town.

Did We Mention Food With a View?
Hiking, biking and sailing choices are all wonderful. But the great majority of visitors to Tiburon come for the restaurants along Main Street that have drop-dead gorgeous views of the bay and San Francisco skyline.

The most popular and longest-tenured venue is Sam’s Anchor Cafe at 27 Main Street. It opened in 1920 and completed an extensive renovation six weeks ago so that both dining rooms and its huge deck all have spectacular views of the water.

Sam’s is situated between two of my favorite European-style restaurants anywhere: Luna Blu at 35 Main Street is an intimate, romantic place for home-cooked Italian seafood, while Servino at 9 Main Street features organic and sustainable vegetables, meat and seafood. Both also have back decks that face the Bay, Angel Island and San Francisco in the near distance, a mere seven nautical miles away.

Tiburon Is A Great Destination for a Few Hours or a Few Days.
So for hiking, biking, sailing, dining, or just getting away from the congestion of San Francisco for few hours or a few days, there’s nothing quite like Tiburon. Maybe that’s why I moved here two years ago and don’t plan to move away.

Finally, to really get away from San Francisco, there are even a few hotels in town: The Lodge at Tiburon is perfect for groups but a few blocks from the bay, while The Water’s Edge is smaller, more cozy and features views that you’ll always remember.

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