walking trail surrounded by trees

BlogStaff Picks

  • A Day at Point Reyes National Seashore

    December 04, 2017

    It’s easy to do good and feel good at the same time! Spend a day at Point Reyes National Seashore and choose from a few of our favorite things. With a rotating variety of activities available year-round, the National Park is a must-see and experience while visiting us in Marin County. Whether you have a few hours or a full day, check out the top ways to take in the natural beauty of our local seashore. Yoga and Dune Restoration: Explore the scenic Abbotts Lagoon at Point Reyes, where a number of dune plants are in bloom. Start the day with the restoration team to help remove an invasive plant, the European sea rocket that is currently threatening a federally endangered species, the Tidestrom lupine. Take time to give back to the earth, then find center for yourself during a 30-45 minute yoga session with a certified instructor. The perfect way to relax and recharge after a morning of work on the seashore. More details on dates, times and how to sign up can be found right here.    Elephant Seal Watching: December through March, get in on elephant seal watching from the overlook area at Point Reyes Park. Witness the amazing behavior of these special animals, including the interactions of mothers and pups, birthing of pups, the powerful trumpeting of adult males and the distinctive vocals of the females (which you can hear from up to a mile away!) A highly trained staff offers binoculars, spotting scopes, and a wealth of knowledge during the weekends and holidays. Check out all details and the full schedule of weekly elephant seal updates to help plan your trip. Interested in learning more about Point Reyes National Seashore? A number of activities and unique experiences are available 365 days a year. Learn more about all of the options now.

  • The Marin County Civic Center: An Architectural Masterpiece

    November 08, 2017

    Just a ten-minute drive from our hotel, the Marin County Civic Center is a national landmark that features two performance spaces, a garden, a library, art galleries, and more. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Civic Center was the renowned architect’s most ambitious public project, conceived as an organic extension of the natural landscape: decorative exterior arches compliment the gentle contours of the surrounding hills, the azure blue of the roof blends with the dome of the sky, and the building’s foundation comprises materials mined in abundance from the earth beneath. At the same time, the gold spheres along the perimeter bespeak an Oriental aesthetic that lends the entire complex a subtly exotic air. Regular guided tours are available every Wednesday and Friday at 10:30 A.M., though other arrangements can be made for groups of ten or more by calling ahead.   Address: 3501 Civic Center Drive San Rafael, CA 94903-4176

  • Golden Gate Park: A Garden of Multi-Cultural Delights

    October 08, 2017

    One of the most spectacular series of gardens anywhere in North America, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park occupies over 1000 acres and delights more than 13 million visitors each year with its lush greenery, exotic and variegated flora, extensive walking trails, play grounds, picnic areas, and more. The oldest structure on the grounds, the Conservatory of Flowers, is an ornate Victorian greenhouse that’s home to 1700 unique specimens of water-dwelling and warm-weather plants, including an internationally renowned orchid collection, a massive Imperial philodendron that’s lived more than 100 years, and an assortment of bizarre and carnivorous plants. You’ll marvel at the Japanese Tea Garden, where a multi-level pagoda presides over meticulously manicured Japanese maples, cherry trees, koi ponds, and azaleas. Though the park’s two windmills no longer power the irrigation system that makes these majestic gardens thrive year-round, they do still lend an Old Europe charm to the eclectic aesthetic of this urban paradise. These are just a few of the wonders that await you at Golden Gate Park, where world cultures are cultivated as tenderly as the flowers.

  • The Aquarium of the Bay: Home to Octavio and Other Aquatic Wonders

    September 05, 2017

    A scenic half-hour’s drive from our hotel, the Aquarium of the Bay is San Francisco’s premier aquatic attraction. It’s mission is to educate the public about the overwhelming variety of underwater flora and fauna that makeup the unique, thriving ecology of the Bay Area waterways. As a visitor, you’ll explore 300 feet of crystalline viewing tunnels teeming with some 20,000 marine animals. Laugh at inquisitive and energetic river otters at play, marvel at the unexpected grace of the 13-foot white sturgeon, and be entranced by the harmonious undulations of the jellies. The newest member of the aquarium crew is Octavio. Like most Giant Pacific Octopi, Octavio is very strong. When he decides to use all eight arms, he can move as much as 700 pounds. He is also very intelligent and would get bored easily without the puzzles provided to him. Plus, even though he’s quite big, he can squeeze through just about any space, as long as his beak fits. Plan a day at the aquarium to get to know Octavio and all his aquatic pals. You’ll be glad you did. Address: 2 The Embarcadero & Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133

  • The Enchanting Gardens of UC Berkeley

    August 10, 2017

    During your stay at the Marin Suites Hotel, you will probably want to see the sights in San Francisco, the West Coast’s number 1 city (in our humble opinion), as well as its trendy neighbor across the water, Berkeley, home of the prestigious University of California at Berkeley. While touring the campus, we recommend that you set aside time to see the Botanical Garden at Berkeley, which comprises 34 beautiful acres of plant life representing almost every continent on earth. Renowned for their extensive collection of endangered plants, the various gardens within the Berkeley Botanical Garden are arranged according to geography of plant origin, with particularly impressive displays from the Mediterranean Basin, primarily representing Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Turkey, and Syria. You also find California’s famous giant sequoia trees in the lush and enchanting Redwood Grove. It’s a very popular spot for summertime weddings, though, so you’ll want to make sure it’s open to the public on the day you plan to visit. Address: 200 Centennial Dr, Berkeley, CA 94720

  • Fort Point: From Civil War to Silver Screen

    July 03, 2017

    When you think of classic film, you probably conjure up images of Hollywood, with its larger than life stars. But San Francisco has also inspired brilliant filmmakers, particularly Alfred Hitchcock, who chose the Bay Area for what is often cited as the greatest movie of all time, the 1958 thriller Vertigo. Head to the southern entrance of San Francisco Bay, just a short drive from our hotel, and you’ll discover Fort Point under an arch of the Golden Gate Bridge. This iconic locale is the site of Vertigo’s gripping sequence in which Madeline Elster (Kim Novak) pretends to commit suicide by hurling herself into the bay, and the intrepid Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) leaps to her rescue. But that’s not all. Fort Point is also a fascinating Civil War stronghold erected in 1861 to ward off the ferocious Confederate invasion (which never came, by the way). Opt for a self-guided or park-ranger-guided tour to get an up-close look at the soldiers’ daily life. A true gem of American and Hollywood history, Fort Point is one Bay Area attraction you won’t want to miss.   Address: Presidio of San Francisco, Long Ave & Marine Dr, San Francisco, CA 

  • California Shakespeare Theater: A Modern Take on Classic Tales

    June 04, 2017

    If you’re in the mood for the perfect mix of nature, culture, and spectacular communal experience, we highly recommend an evening with the California Shakespeare Theater. This cutting-edge company, affectionately known as Cal Shakes, stands at the forefront of theatrical possibility, merging tried-and-true repertoire with groundbreaking methods that shift paradigms and shatter stereotypes. The scenic drive out to beautiful Siesta Valley will take you to the Lt. G.H. Bruns III Memorial Amphitheater, a 545-seat, open-air performance venue that utilizes the latest wireless technology to make every actor sound as though they’re standing right beside you. If you act fast, you can still see Shakespeare’s madcap comedy As You Like It, on stage through June 18. Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie will tug at your heartstrings from July 5 through July 30. Marcus Gardley’s Black Odyssey reimagines the Greek epic in twentieth-century Oakland from August 9 through September 3. Rounding out the season, Shakespeare is back with a tale of corruption and purity in scheming Vienna from September 13 through October 8. Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way (formerly 100 Gateway Blvd.), Orinda, CA 94563

  • Go Organic at the Marin Country Mart Farmer's Market

    May 01, 2017

    In Marin County, we’re continually inspired by the beauty and bounty of nature. In addition to excursions into the mountains or along the shore, we love making the weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market at Marin Country Mart. Every Saturday, rain or shine, from 9 A.M. to 2 P.M., the Farmer’s Market offers the finest local and organic farm-fresh produce available in this part of the country. Vendors include Bliss Family Avocados, Capay Organic, Farmer Joy’s Eggs, Leap Frog Farm, Old Dog Ranch, and more. Ask about the catch of the day from Anna’s Seafood, or select among the finest cuts of beef from Fallon Hills Ranch. And if you want something to munch on-site, you’ll love the food trucks: try the organic chicken and ribs from the Country Grill truck or the delicious handmade desserts from Johnny Doughnuts. Plus, there’s plenty to entertain the kids, including face painting, pony rides, and a petting zoo. Address: 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, CA 94939

  • From the Redwood Forests to the Coastal Waters

    April 03, 2017

    A bastion of natural beauty and outdoor adventure, Marin County boasts not one but two national parks. Muir Woods National Monument, a “primeval forest” that’s “both refuge and laboratory,” is home to a breathtaking array of flora and fauna. Entire ecosystems thrive below along the forest floor and high above in the canopy of leaves. The most impressive members of Muir Woods, however, are the ancient sequoias, which are among oldest living things on earth. Self-directed tours are available daily, and guided tours are offered as staffing permits. The other national park, Point Reyes National Seashore, promises visitors not only lush forest, but also rolling hills, grassy plains, and majestic beaches. As the site of many different pre-colonial cultures over millennia, Point Reyes truly is “a tapestry of stories,” some of which are told through the authentic replicas of native American villages. So whether you’re in the mood for forest or ocean, these two sprawling national parks are just a short drive from our Marin Suites Hotel.

  • Sail Away in the Bay

    March 06, 2017

    Combine Marin County’s placid waters with those of San Francisco Bay, and you have the perfect setting for a day of water sports and leisure activities. The following are some of our favorites, just a short drive from our hotel. 101 Surf Sports 115 Third Street, San Rafael, CA 94901 Named the “3rd Best Water Sports Shop in the Country,” 101 Surf Sports offers year-round Stand Up Paddle and Kayak Tours. If you visit in Spring, you can also take advantage of the windsurfing and kite boarding downwind runs.   Barbary Ghost Loch Lomond Marina, San Rafael, CA 94901 Barbary Ghost is a mini-yacht that accommodates parties of six. You and your guests will love the unique experience of sailing on the waters immortalized in Jack London’s Tales of the Fish Patrol. Individual opportunities for paddle boarding and kayaking are also available.   SF Bay Adventures 1001 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965 SF Bay Adventures offers a full range of services, including corporate team building, weddings, sunset cruises, Bay Lights tours, and more! The flagship vessel, Schooner Freda B, is an 80-foot classic tall skip schooner that can accommodate up to 49 people.