top of page

Hidden Gems of Marin

By Tiffany Moore

There are so many hidden gems in Marin, from beautiful beaches and trendy shops to delicious eateries and picturesque nature habitats. Over the past several months, Mariner Cove neighbors, both young and old, have shared some of their favorite iconic locations with me. It is my hope that as you peruse the list, you will find a new hidden gem for you and your family to try!

I am old school and have always enjoyed lunch or dinner at Marin Joe’s here in Corte Madera – Not small portions with added flowers and garnishments, but really good seafood and steaks. I am told the hamburgers are the best, but calamari, scallops, and the other seafood treats on the menu work for me. There is a great old fashioned piano bar to top it off. ~ Bob Bundy

We love hiking Ring Mountain as a family with some picnic items from Nugget! ~ Sara Brooks

My family’s favorite pizza is hands down Tony Tutto’s (now in Ross) - We dream about The Smokie. My husband and I love Picco and Burmatown while our son loves Perry’s (their kid’s cheesy pasta in particular). Our favorite wine bar is Zinz where the manager Kyle treats everyone like a friend! Of course, like the rest of Mariner Cove, we’re at the Nugget multiple times a week. ~ Kim Adams

A prime spot for dining is Café Verde in Corte Madera because they sell good food, have outside dining, and great chefs. Their pizza is like the best thing ever, and the best can’t be beat. This place has many dining seats outside with shades if it is nice, but if it is cold they have indoor dining, too. You can reserve a party or a meet up with people outside. Their chef is very authentic and delivers a great pizza! ~ Brooks, age 11

One of my favorite spots is Green Jeans Garden Supply in Mill Valley. Not only are they a locally owned business, but they also focus on organic soils and fertilizers, offer a huge variety of plants and seeds, and support local businesses by selling furniture, art, and planting containers from local makers. Their staff is also so friendly and helpful. ~The Azevedo Family


One of my favorite restaurants to go to is The Junction in Mill Valley. It’s a beer garden that serves yummy pizza in a lovely, outdoor space with a Mt. Tam view, a play structure for the kids, bonfire pits, and free live music! What’s not to love? ~ Karen Ruppanner

For frozen yogurt deliciousness, I recommend Swirl. For the little ones, playtime in the creek near the Sycamore Park playground is always fun. ~ Maggie Braff

One of my favorite playgrounds to visit is Loch Lomond Marina Park. It’s a little off the beaten path in San Rafael, but the Bay views are so worth it. The playground is all fenced in with new playground boat structures and equipment appropriate for kids of all ages. An added perk is that this playground is close to Andy’s Local Market, a great spot to visit for a post-playdate lunch, snack, or dinner. They have a wonderful deli and bar with outside seating with Bay views. There you can order sandwiches, salads, soups, tacos, burritos, pizzas, barbequed meats, ice cream cones, coffee, beer, wine, and much more! ~ Karen Ruppanner

One of my favorite hikes is to drive down and park at the Morning Sun Trailhead right off 101 in Sausalito. Once you brave the hundreds of stairs straight up, take a left on the Alto Trail and then take the SCA Trail to get a great view of SF. If you want, you can even hike over the Robin Williams Tunnel and watch the cars go in and out.~ Michelle Snyder

My dad has been eating breakfast at Fred’s in Sausalito for over 20 years, and as soon as I started going there, I fell in love instantly. The people are super nice and the food is top notch. My favorite dish is the Chorizo Benedict, but they also have Mickey Mouse pancakes and pretty much whatever else you want. Oh, and my dad says they have the best corned beef hash - and he is a corned beef hash expert. ~ Cooper, age 11

El Palmar in San Rafael is one of my favorite Mexican restaurants anywhere. It doesn’t look like much but everything there is delicious. From burritos to huge Mexican soups to combination plates and even breakfast, it is all very authentic. They also have five different excellent salsas to pour all over the amazing food. ~ Reef Wilson

Liz Brusseau opened the Sassy Post in San Anselmo. This exclusive gift shop offers a one-stop shopping destination for hostess gifts, birthday gifts, and other unique merchandise. ~ Maggie Braff


One hidden gem my family loves is Horse Hill, a preserve in Mill Valley. I often passed by it going to and from San Francisco before I moved to Marin and marveled at the horses. It wasn’t until my wife suggested to try to find it that we went and hiked around. We were able to pet horses and have a nice hike. It’s beautiful. ~ Dave and Amanda Goodspeed

I love Silbermann’s Ice Cream in San Rafael. It opened in 1966, and I like watching the ice cream being made. All different types of flavors and cones can be tried. My favorite flavor is the one I choose that day! ~ Christian, age 14


Our family loves Sunday evenings at Ross Common - we grab a shady spot under the big oak tree, order a couple of pizza pies from Tony Tutto’s, and enjoy a little down time ahead of the week to come. ~ Kristy Wheeler


Revolution 9 is a one-stop shop for art books, toys, and unique middle school belongings. ~ Maggie Braff

bottom of page