Novato, California is a city in Marin County, just 30 miles (48km.) north of San Francisco. It was once the site of several Coast Miwok villages, and you can read about their history in the local Marin Museum of the American Indian. The weather is pretty moderate ranging from 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 26 degrees Celsius) throughout the year, with low precipitation. Novato is a great place to soak up history, explore the many parks and wildlife, as well as take a leisurely stroll or grab a glass of wine downtown.
1. Stroll through Old Town Novato
Old Town is the quaint downtown area of Novato, rich in history and full of boutique shops, local establishments and dining options. Take a walk along the main drag of Grant Avenue and window shop or try one of their many delicious bakeries, such as Rustic Bakery, Creekside Bakery or a tasty gluten-free option, Flour Chylde Bakery.
On Grant Avenue, you can also find the Novato Theater. This local landmark was recently rebuilt and renovated and is a great venue for movies, performing arts, live music and events.
Old Town Novato
Address: Grant Avenue
Website: Old Town Novato
2. Enjoy wine, music and olive oil at Trek Winery
Happy #WineWednesday! This weeks featured wine is our 2013 Sangiovese from the Shenandoah Valley. Much like most of our...Posted by Trek Wine on Wednesday, 14 September 2016
This family owned and run winery is a must stop for those traveling to Novato. It is local, award-winning and located conveniently downtown. The winery is known for its excellent and affordable red wines but they also have a few white wines as well. This is a great way to meet locals, taste some delicious wine on their patio or take a bottle home for later. The tasting costs 5 USD, which is waived if you purchase a bottle. You can also taste and purchase their excellent olive oil and browse through their selection of wine merchandise such as jewelry, wine glasses and pourers.
If you’re looking for more than wine, Trek Winery also hosts monthly events, such as live music, comedy shows and even a “paint nite” for those who want to sharpen their artistic skills.
Address: 1026 Machin Ave, Novato, CA 94945
Opening Hours: Noon to 8pm. Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Contact: +1 4158999883
Website: Trek Winery
3. Spend a day at Pioneer Park
Pioneer park is a beautiful park in Novato and one of the most popular in the area. It is family friendly, a great place to bring the kids or pack a picnic to enjoy under the sun. It has a recently updated play structure, tennis courts and even a historic cemetery. If you follow a paved walkway, it will lead you to the top of the hill where you will find the cemetery where many of Novato’s famous settlers were buried.
Throughout the year, Pioneer Park will also host festivals as well as night movies projected outdoors during the summer. A movie in the park is a perfect place to bring a bottle of wine and a blanket for a romantic date night.
Address: 1007 Simmons Ln, Novato, CA 94945
Website: Pioneer Park
4. Buy fresh from Novato Farmer’s Market
A community favorite, Novato Farmer’s Market provides an array of fresh produce from local farms as well as local cheese and honey. The market is also full of delicious prepared food stands, from sweet kettle corn and spicy thai food to mouth-watering barbecue.
If you didn’t come hungry, the market also hosts art vendors with jewelry, pottery and more. It’s a great place to bring the family - there is even a bounce house or sometimes pony rides for the kids and live music for everyone to enjoy.
The market is open every Tuesday night from May through September from 4pm-8pm. It is located in the historic downtown on Grant Avenue between 1st and 4th Street.
Novato Farmer's Market
Address: Grant Avenue
Opening Hours: 4pm-8pm every Tuesday from May through September
Website: Novato Farmer’s Market
5. Plan an adventure at Point Reyes National Park
The windiest and foggiest location on the Pacific Coast sure was kind (and beautiful) on this day. → https://www.instagram.com/p/_GS5ZyCFhi/Posted by Matt J. Fraser on Monday, 20 February 2017
Just a 30 minute drive west, is a picturesque 70,000+ acre (~28327.995 hectare) national park on the Point Reyes peninsula. This nature preserve is the perfect place to take in panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, stand on windy bluffs and explore nature through the many hiking trails and beaches.
The Point Reyes Lighthouse is not to be missed. Situated on the tip of Point Reyes, it looks out into the Gulf of the Farallones, where it used to be a shining beacon of light for mariners and sailors looking to make safe passage through. To get down to the lighthouse, you must walk the 300 steps that lead to its base. It’s less than half a mile (0.8km.) walk and is accessed from the parking lot. If you’re looking to spot whales, this is a great location to do so, although make sure you check the weather beforehand to pick the least foggiest day.
Make sure you also come bundled, Point Reyes is the windy point on the Pacific Ocean and the second foggiest place on the North American continent.
Point Reyes Lighthouse
Address: Point Reyes National Seashore, Lighthouse Visitor Center, 27000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness, CA 94937
Opening Hours: 10am to 4:30pm. Closed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Website: Point Reyes Lighthouse
Surround yourself in history and nature on your next trip to Novato
Novato is a great place for a weekend trip from San Francisco or if you’re looking for a small town type of vacation. From wine tasting, museums galore and one of the most beautiful national parks, Novato is full of ways to keep you entertained. If you do make it out to Point Reyes, be sure to make a stop at Hog Island Oyster Farm on your way over for fresh oysters as you wind your way along the coast.
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