The seaside community of Bolinas is the oldest town in coastal Marin. It is separated from the North American continent by the wildlife rich Bolinas Lagoon (kayak and canoe friendly), and the infamous San Andreas Fault line. Bolinas is actually not part of the American continent as it’s located on the Pacific plate. …with only one road in, it’s not quite an island, but a community with an island sensibility.
Finding Bolinas is part of your adventure: Turning left at the head of the lagoon, approximately 4.5 miles North of Stinson Beach, will take you to this once secretive village. With technology and online maps, the secret is out, though you still won’t see a sign indicating where to turn left from Highway 1. This shouldn’t discourage visitors from straying off the beaten path and visiting this charming and eccentric village.
But, be aware that the beach is small, parking is very problematic and residents prefer a quiet and private lifestyle. If you find your way there, the community is friendly. Consider taking public transportation (the Stage Coach) or bringing your bike or good walking shoes and park in the large auxiliary dirt parking lot owned by Mesa Park, located on Mesa Rd. next to the Firehouse and Health Clinic and then biking or walking using the newly created bike/pedestrian path (easy to moderate, as there is a bit of hill on the way up – approximately a 1/8 mile hike) which links the Mesa to Downtown Bolinas.
Downtown Bolinas is a lovely place to stroll and shop, people watch and picnic. It is unique in that so many of the downtown buildings are non-profits providing services for local citizens that enhance the community’s economic viability, while still maintaining a vibrant visitor’s corridor. From the gas station that is owned and operated by a local nonprofit that provides affordable housing (the Bolinas Land Trust), the Community Center with adult and children’s classes and events including music, plays and film, the Library, the Bolinas Museum and the three community parks, this small enclave is known for its connectedness to the land that surrounds it and for supporting the diversity of the people that live and work in this very special village.
Bolinas: An on-going experiment in diversity, volunteerism, sustainability and cooperative attitudes, and a true West Marin destination.