Just a ferry hop from San Francisco, but world’s away from the city hustle, Tiburon is arguably California’s best kept paradise—where un-hurried New England charm meets Italian riviera seascapes, miles of unspoiled coastal trails, and laid-back luxury that’s refreshingly un-flashy (aka the world’s wealthiest live here….but keep it on the down-low). Not to mention a quaint downtown so adorable it's straight out of a storybook. Here’s how to take the perfect weekend escape in this bucolic Bay Area haven.
Where To Stay: Waters Edge
You seriously couldn’t get closer to water’s edge than this aptly named petite coastal retreat. Jutting over the sparkling SF Bay—with a primo address on picturesque Main Street—this romantic charmer nails nautical R&R. Expect breathtaking Bay Area vistas, dreamy blue-and-white seafaring décor, and quiet intimacy thanks to just 23 rooms—each with wood-burning fireplaces, sumptuous beds, and luxe linens like cozy hand-knitted throws. And thanks to downtown smack at your doorstep and the hotel’s lendable bikes, you can easily explore every inch of Tiburon’s paradisiacal shores.
Don’t Miss: In the evening, head to the hotel’s grand water-perched dock—replete with cozy chaises and fire pit—to savor sunset views and gratis wine and cheese (locally-sourced and delish!). Trust, it’s the ideal spot to ogle spectacular Angel Island, Golden Gate Bridge and sweeping San Francisco skyline seascapes—serenaded by local sea lions, of course.
Beautiful SF Bay and harbor vistas from Tiburon, CA.
Where To Play:
It’s all about the jaw-dropping landscape here—with oodles of opps to gawk at the seaworthy splendor. You can walk or bike miles of waterfront paths—from Shoreline Park flanking the SF Bay to Blackie’s Pasture and Richardson Bay—where pristine emerald greens, serene harbors, wildflower-sprinkled fields, and stunning homes backdrop glistening blue waters. Or hike the hills with magnificent panoramas spanning the entire region. And when the bay calls, there’s always kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, sailing or ferrying—San Francisco, Sausalito, and Angel Island are all just a boat jaunt away.
Back on land, you can meander postcard-perfect downtown Tiburon, which couldn’t be more fairytale quaint with Main Street’s historic A-frame cottage storefronts and Ark Row’s houseboats-turned-eclectic shops. Tiburon Wine is a requisite for tasting local vintages—from Marin, Napa, Sonoma, and beyond. Or hit indie fashion boutique Koze for its must-have staples like Copenhagen-based Rosemunde lace tanks, crave-worthy cashmere wraps, and one-of-a-kind designer accessories.
Woodlands Market in Tiburon, CA.
Where To Eat:
For breakfast, Caffé Acri is a local fave with its window-walled Tiburon vistas, European-inspired charm, delectable bread pudding, custom-made omelets, and made-in-house scones and muffins (blueberry, oatmeal, banana—yes!). And for serious pastry-lovers, Rustic Bakery is a must with homemade croissants, cookies, sourdough, granola—you name it…and must eat it. Not to mention savory bites like to-die-for grilled cheese on fresh-from-the-oven breads and scrumptious organic salads. Or for the best picnic eats, family-owned Woodlands Market is a foodie-lovers dream from gourmet California cheeses, meats, seafood, salads, and seasonal produce to amazing regional and global wines. Pack a basket and head to Shoreline Park for an epic bayside feast.
For dinner, don’t miss Tiburon Tavern’s modern-meets-rustic vibe (think: exposed stacked stones, industrial pendant lights) where New American cuisine creatively mixes with local-grown Marin ingredients for wildly flavorful farm-to-table dishes. And for the ultimate romantic dine spot, the cozy cottage-housed Don Antonio Trattoria on Ark Row serves up Italian-inspired classics—from homemade pasta to plate-licking Chicken Piccata—thanks to the Naples-born owners who bring authentic Amalfi-inspired charm and deliciousness to this seaside town.
Travel Tip: From SFO, book Blacklane’s private airport transfer. Trust, it’s the quickest, easiest and most luxurious way to kick-start your Tiburon adventure. They’ll greet you on arrival and whisk you straight to the hotel via Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lincoln, or other high-end ride.
AUTHOR: Stephanie Orma is an American writer and illustrator. Follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram.