It is an amazingly out of the way beach that gives you the ideal Northern California vibe.
The drive into Stinson beach is definitely a journey. There are two ways to get there from the South.
You drive through Mill Valley, and see some awesome houses as you climb up the hill toward a super intense winding road that will leave you breathless and nauseated.
You can take Highway 1. This takes you through the top of Marin City, past Muir beach and through a less winding road that overlooks the coast.
Either way, you may get a bit car sick, if you are normally affected by motion sickness.
Once you get into Stinson, you’ll drive through the super small downtown. It is filled with cute tourist gift shops, and an amazing surf shop. Not to mention, if you are looking at staying directly by the beach, they have an adorable lodge!
When You Get There
I absolutely love Stinson beach because of how the weather changes quickly. When you get there at 10 or 11 am, it can seem like you’ll be having a nightmare of a day as the sky is always overcast. But an hour later the clouds dissipate and the sun shines through.
Not to mention an hour after that, at around 1 pm people start rolling in and setting up camp on the beach and it becomes a huge party with children playing, couples playing on their guitar and singing.
Then around 2 pm the birds start to come in. That is honestly the one of the downsides to this beach. The seagulls can be really forward and will come onto your beach towel with no hesitation looking for a scrap of food if you don’t immediately scare it away. So if you do come to this beach, keep an eye on your area and food.
As I mentioned above, the weather at this beach can sometimes be unpredictable. But that’s honestly the beauty of it! It never gets too hot, and the sand always stays lukewarm.
What I Brought With Me
When I visited Stinson beach, I went with my mom, sister, and nieces. It was a total girl’s day. We packed a lot of fun beach items.
A beach tent. These are super awesome, you can use it to block the wind, and take a break from the sun. It can also give you the privacy you need if you want to take a nap!
Beach towels. We brought a bunch of old towels and blankets, but I have seen some amazing beach towels lately that filter sand when you pick them up.
Camping chairs. These are super useful if you don’t want to sit on your towel, or if you want to tan your upper body.
2 coolers. We packed 1 heavy cooler full of cold items and water bottles. The other fabric cooler was packed with all of our dry goods.
The best cold foods to bring to the beach are sandwiches (either pre-made, or if you are on a budget, made at home), cheese (like the Baybel cheese that comes individually wrapped), cut up fruit (any kind of melon works best for this), and berries.
The best dry foods to take to the beach are jerky (beef or turkey, whatever is healthiest for you), crackers, protein bars, granola (this is my absolute favorite dry food to bring).
A Note on Bringing Food
I just wanted to also mention that if you do end up bringing food, you might find yourself making some bee friends (yellow jackets to be more specific). They are pretty aggressive at this beach, and honestly are the worst creatures ever!
So make sure to keep your food away from the crazy bee friends, and seagulls!
Go Check This Beach Out
If you love secluded beaches, cute downtown areas with nautical vibes, and perfect 70 degree weather then Stinson beach might just be for you!