Marin: Why go

Marin County is just across the Golden Gate from San Francisco, extends as far as Point Reyes National Seashore (a geographically unique peninsula created by the San Andreas Fault), and is renowned for its natural beauty. This includes a stunning coastline with some lovely beaches (Stinson Beach and Muir Beach are favourites), California Coast Ranges sloping dramatically into the ocean, bays and tidal inlets, and rich rolling agricultural land. Not to be missed are the redwoods of Muir Woods, a first growth forest preserved against all odds in a wrinkle in the hills, less than an hour from San Francisco. The landscape is preserved by a National Wildlife Refuge, the Golden Gate Recreation Area and Marine Sanctuary. Hiking, mountain biking, watersports and birding are all very popular.

The Marin Headlands overlook the Golden Gate and provide some of the best views across the Bay. Most of the well-heeled populace lives in attractive enclaves and commuter communities (including Sausalito and Tiburon) along the more sheltered eastern side, home to good restaurants and marinas. You can catch ferries across the Bay. The Slow Food movement has strong roots in Marin (there is a successful farmers cooperative known as Marin Organic), and the first organic supermarket is said to have opened here in the late '60s. The New Age ethos is evident in the large number of alternative therapies and lifestyles practiced by locals; hot tubs are found in many a home.

13:29 | GMT + 8 Hours