This charming North Bay city offers a wealth of culture, nature, and outdoor adventures.
Set in the North Bay just north of San Francisco, Novato offers a wide range of cultural options for its size. Walk around the historic Old Town, sample wine, and enjoy a vibrant food scene before heading out into nature. Outdoor lovers can enjoy plenty of open spaces, wildlife parks, and three golf courses. Campers are spoiled for choice, with a wide range of public parks and beaches offering campsites along the coast, in wine country, among the redwoods, and in the bay area, in addition to the Novato Park.
Head to the coast to camp at Point Reyes National Seashore, where options include a boat-in campground and several hike-in sites. Just inland, camp along the Russian River at Austin Creek State Recreation Area. Camp among the redwoods at Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Explore Muir Woods, or choose from walk-in tent sites and rustic bluffside cabins at Mount Tamalpais State Park. There are four campgrounds on the Marin Headlands in Marin county, including three free, primitive backpacking campgrounds. China Camp State Park offers a scenic campground in the woodlands.
Head to wine country for tastings and scenic camping, often with access to cabins and full hookups. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Sonoma County offers a family-friendly campground, while the Skyline Wilderness Park near Napa offers tent, RV, and equestrian sites. Enjoy lakeside campsites with mountain views at Spring Lake Regional Park near Santa Rosa. Further north, you can camp near redwoods and a pretty stream at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, or choose from tent, RV, walk-in, and boat-in sites at Lake Sonoma. Near Lake Berryessa, options include campsites around the lake, Lake Solano Park and Lower Hunting Creek on BLM land.
In San Francisco, groups can stay at walk-in campsites at the Presidio. Further south, camp near the beach at pretty Half Moon Bay State Beach. For solitude and hike-in campsites, head to Pescadero Creek County Park. There are also plenty of options for camping among the redwoods, including at Butano Redwoods State Park, Memorial County Park, Portola Redwoods State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
In the East Bay, head to Mount Diablo State Park to enjoy sweeping views and three different campgrounds. At Del Valle Regional Park, enjoy water play, a variety of outdoor recreation. Overnight options include both cabins and campsites, including some RV sites with full hookups. Camp on the hillside at Anthony Chabot Regional Park with lake views or backpack into the Sunol Regional Wilderness for solitude, hikes, and wildflowers.
Spring to fall offers the most pleasant weather in Novato. From May to September, a popular farmer’s market is held weekly. Summer also sees a series of outdoor concerts and several car races. In the fall, outdoor movies are popular. Visit in the winter to forage for mushrooms. Special family-friendly events are held near the Christmas holidays.