Fun things to do in Dillon Beach, a beautiful family-friendly California Beach vacation town
There are so many fun and interesting things to do in this beautiful little town of Dillon Beach, located in beautiful Marin County on the California coast. Plan a wonderful visit for a family reunion, a girls’ weekend, or a corporate retreat. Vacation rental homes abound here, from a tiny beach hut to grand and beautiful homes that can comfortably sleep up to 12 people for weekends or weekly rentals. There are so many fun activities that you will want to come back again and again, year after year. Here are a few things that will delight you with your Dillon Beach vacation:
At the top of the Oceana Drive bluff at the end of the street, go through a cattle gate. On the left, there is a beautiful view from Eagle Rock, overlooking Bodega Head and the beautiful Tomales Bay. You’d think it was in Scotland, but it’s just over an hour’s drive from San Francisco! There are some deer trails you will see, follow them to the right and you will find a fire trail. Go left and you will reach the Estero in about a mile. Lots of good sticks and rocks along the way! Fun for kids of all ages. Dogs love this hike!
Another great hiking area is the Pt. Reyes National Seashore Visitor Center. It is a beautiful 45 minute drive from Dillon Beach. There are fun trails – be sure to go for the earthquake one and then go to Miwok village as well. You can drive along Tomales Bay on an adventure to climb the 300 steps to the lighthouse. Look along the path to see the free-running Tule Elk and hear the barking of the sea lions along the shore.
If you’re heading to the National Seashore Center, plan some time in Pt. Reyes, it’s a cute little town with some fun shops. Be sure to visit Toby’s grocery store. There is a children’s park behind Toby’s. Bovine Bakery is well known, and good! The locals have their own coffee mugs on the shelves, so bring your own to feel a part of things. Next door is a great bookstore to explore.
However, Tomales has the best bakery in the world. Open Thursday through Sunday only, you need to get there early, before they sell out! The William Tell has just been redone and is quite good. now you can sit outside to enjoy a delicious barbecue oyster. The deli is great for sandwiches, which you can take across the street to the park and let the kids play. Don’t miss the hot lamb sandwich! In the opposite direction is the native plant nursery, which is fun to explore.
Petaluma has a great historic center. Nice shops, antiques, and great restaurants. It didn’t suffer as much damage from the 1906 earthquake as so many areas of North Bay and San Francisco were, so the buildings are among some of the oldest in our area. Known for its past chicken industry, it still hosts “Chicken and Egg Days,” with a fun parade and family activities honoring the popular village of yesteryear.
Other Fun Cities to Explore: The small town of Bodega (not Bodega Bay) is where Alfred Hitchcock filmed “The Birds.” Sevastopol has a great city center, plus plenty of antique shops along the Gravenstein highway. Healdsburg is a great place to visit, the town square is beautiful with shops and restaurants to explore.
San Francisco is a fun day trip. You can explore Golden Gate Park, with the museums or the Exploratorium at the Palace of Fine Arts. Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Ghirardelli Square are fun to explore.
So many to choose from! While Napa is the most famous, and is only 45 minutes away, the locals really prefer the area closer to Dillon Beach. Sonoma County’s rivals Napa are world-class wines. Go to Alexander Valley, Russian River Wine Road or try some of the smaller boutique wineries in Sevastopol.
If you want to stay close to home, try our beach! You can make a fire in a bonfire and your dog can also enjoy the beach. The north end of the beach often has large tide pools to explore. The dunes are a lot of fun to run and climb, but make sure you don’t allow kids to dig too deep, the sand moves and a hole can easily collapse.
You can walk south along the beach to Lawson’s Landing, the campground. There is a pier where you can fish or crab. Clams are popular here too. There is a fee to drive to the landing.