Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Fairfax, CA

  • Published 2022/08/23

A San Francisco suburb, Fairfax is a tourist favorite because of its small-town atmosphere.

This town prides itself in its vibrancy and life in the streets and the business establishments lined up.

Biking is also very popular within the center of Fairfax, and people within the community can quickly go to all their desired spots and places because of the distance.

Settled in the heart of central Marin County, this town also embodies the ideal nightlife bustle.

Local and national artists come by Fairfax to join in on the liveliness.

If you’re planning a vacation in this exciting town, you are in for a treat.

Here are some of the best things to do in Fairfax, California:

Enjoy the Scenery While on a Hike at Mount Tamalpais Watershed

Signage of Mount Tamalpais Watershed

Sundry Photography /

Nurture your love for outdoor recreation at Mount Tamalpais Watershed.

This mountain area leads to many trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

These trails often lead to neighboring states and recreational parks, bringing you excitement at every stop.

There are also unpaved roads that exude calmness and serenity from the surrounding forest.

View from Mount Tamalpais Watershed's summit

Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz /

Picnic sites are also open to offer a quick break to hikers.

Feel the energy of the trees, plants, and shrubbery thrum as you follow the trail pathway.

Head to Sky Oaks Road to get to Mount Tamalpais Watershed.

Admire the Rock Formations at Loma Alta Open Space Preserve

Your hiking adventure never stops at Loma Alta Open Space Preserve on Sunrise Fire Road.

This preserve offers a south slope and a medium-loop trail perfect for getting that physical exercise in your recreational journey.

The open space and steeping climb gives you leverage to work on your stamina.

Around the bend, you might come across streams with fascinating rock formations.

Be sure to snap a photo of the steep ascent amongst the rock beds and trails.

If you are lucky, you might come across wildflowers in bloom or waterfalls coming out of hiding when you visit Loma Alta Open Space Preserve.

Further uphill, listen to the sound of the stream as it drowns the noise of city life.

Eat a Refreshing Picnic Snack at Peri Park Playground

Built along Park Road and adjacent to the Fairfax Community Center is Peri Park Playground.

This playground was a community effort by the parents within the Fairfax locale.

Even now, it continues to operate because of the perseverance of volunteers.

By April 2021, it welcomed newer structures to the site, like the old oak tree.

The old oak tree is an obstacle-filled playground-based treehouse with connecting bridges and slides.

Watch your little one have fun climbing and exploring this playground equipment.

Walking further into the redwood grove of Peri Park Playground is a picnic area.

Here, you can gather around friends and enjoy the serene atmosphere of your picnic.

Stay at the Rustic Cabins at Camp Tamarancho

Camp Tamarancho is a 412-acre camping property overflowing with scenic natural vegetation.

From grassy meadows to redwood-forest canyons, the magnificent view of the area can take your breath away.

There are also group campsites, rustic cabins, and Adirondack shelters along the property.

Touch up on your scout training at the Green Bar training area.

For the full camping experience, head to the ranges, where you can practice your archery and target shooting skills.

Drop by the lake to go swimming or fishing.

Camp Tamarancho, on Iron Springs Fire Road, meets and exceeds your camping expectations and welcomes you with open arms.

Explore the Hefty Bike Collection at the Marin Museum of Bicycling

Exterior of Marin Museum of Bicycling

Osaze Cuomo /

The Marin Museum of Bicycling, also known as the cultural center of the thriving community of Fairfax, is the best place to be.

It features a vast collection of bikes as they evolve in design and purpose from the 1860s to the present.

The museum’s staff hosts tours along the rich displays of road, track, and bicycling vehicles and accessories.

If you don’t already appreciate bicycling, you will grow to love it as you browse through books about it at the museum.

Lectures and screenings also occur at the museum if you’re into an educational experience.

Situated at the corner of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and Claus Drive, the Marin Museum of Bicycling lets you in on the heart of Fairfax: the community’s love for bicycling.

Embark on a Challenging Hike at Deer Park Parking Area & Trailhead

Deer Park Parking Area & Trailhead, near Porteous Drive, is a premier hiking spot with open fields.

This 3.293-mile trail goes on a loop and offers a stunning view of broad fields and forested areas.

The best thing about this site is its diversified trails.

In fact, you can try out seven different pathways while exploring this site in under three miles.

Its range starts from fairly easy to mildly challenging for those who prefer more adventure to hiking.

On some trail paths, there may be short steep stretches; if you come across these and don’t want to continue, just go back to the trail you’ve come from and choose another fork.

A hidden gem in this site is the Yolanda Trail, which offers a complex terrain perfect for expert hikers.

This trail passes through the woods, with the occasional grassy space and miles upon miles of trees in the distance.

There’s so much to see and explore at Deer Park Parking Area & Trailhead, including buckeyes—a type of walnut—and the variety of tree species all around.

Play Golf at Meadow Club

At Bon Tempe Meadow on Bolinas Road, Meadow Club‘s golf course provides an outstanding game for beginner and expert golfers.

Its traditional golf course, Alister MacKenzie, got its name from the famous course architect.

Placed below Mount Tamalpais, it offers an urban-like setting to the typical golf venue.

The course also features meandering creeks and broad vistas that offer a scenic take on the usual hole play.

The club provides golf lessons and fine-tuning for those playing in large-scale competitions.

At Meadow Club, you can also celebrate milestones at the interior and exterior venues available.

Wander around the elevation changes of the teeing grounds and challenge yourself with a hole-in-one.

Practice Productivity at The Indie Alley

The Indie Alley takes shared community workspaces seriously.

This annex events and co-working center allows students and employees to study and work flexibly.

Its aesthetically pleasing environment includes a printing station, meeting rooms, and shared workspaces.

A kitchen also has free snacks and coffee to indulge yourself in while busy with your tasks.

The center hosts workshops where members can share their interests and offer a learning space to fellow members.

A monthly Culture Club is open to everyone, where healthy discussions take place on any content topic.

If you’ve got work you need to finish while on vacation, hop by The Indie Alley to get them done.

Head to Bolinas Road to get to this comfortable and innovative center.

Examine Reptiles and Wildlife at Cascade Canyon Preserve

Waterfalls at Cascade Canyon Preserve

Lucy Autrey Wilson /

You’ll find Cascade Canyon Preserve at the Corte Madera Creek Watershed on Oak Road.

This preserve opens to 504 acres, and the Cascade Falls drops an impressive 20 feet.

Hiking and biking are the ideal activities to do there.

You can also bring your dogs, but they must be kept on their leashes for safety.

Nature trail at Cascade Canyon Preserve

Lucy Autrey Wilson /

At the preserve, wildflowers, mushrooms, and various butterfly species are rampant during spring.

While at this site, you can also use your time to study the variety of birds roaming the area.

Perhaps the most anticipated animals are the reptiles and amphibians.

Cascade Canyon Preserve is the best place to learn more about every kind of reptile and amphibian that Marin County offers.

Enroll in a Succulent Arrangement Workshop at The Potting Shed

For people with a green thumb, visiting Fairfax is not complete without a stop at The Potting Shed.

This garden shop offers a vintage feel with outgrown nature highlighted in the corners of the establishment.

It boasts eclectic gifts and souvenirs, which are up for grabs for tourists and residents in the community.

Aside from these trinkets, the shop also provides unique plant arrangements for local deliveries.

Its wide variety of air plants and succulents for home decors will surely have you itching to buy one for yourself.

The best part about these plants is their low-maintenance care requirements.

Browse through their windowsill and find hanging plants thriving.

You can also join DIY arrangement classes for free at The Potting Shed.

This shop is right around Bolinas Avenue, at the heart of the Fairfax community.

Buy Local Products at Good Earth Natural Foods

Good Earth Natural Foods, on Fairfax Plaza at Center Boulevard, has served the community with organic food and similar products since 1969.

This natural goods store got its inspiration to sell natural produce from writer and biologist Rachel Carson.

Her strong claims against deadly chemicals used in fruits and crops eventually started environmental revolutions.

Good Earth Natural Foods gives honor to Carson’s beliefs up until today.

Its selection of products does not undergo chemical and additive processing, so everyone can enjoy food the natural way.

Proceeds from purchases also go to foundations and non-profit organizations with various advocacies.

So, you aren’t just eating healthy; you are also saving the planet.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Have you already checked out all of Fairfax’s spectacular tourist spots and scenery?

There’s always fun right around the corner—or, in this case, nearby.

Wander around the Gardens and Lakes at Golden Gate Park

Conservatory of flowers at Golden Gate Park

Pung /

Only 24 minutes from Fairfax, in the beautiful city of San Francisco, lies the extensive Golden Gate Park.

This park ensures a top-notch recreational experience you won’t forget.

The attractions at the property have made it the third most visited park in the country.

It offers everything from arts and sports to nature and wildlife.

Beautiful landscape of Golden Gate Park

Kropotov Andrey /

Golden Gate Park also allows you the opportunity to visit other cultures, like within the Japanese Tea House attraction.

There are carousels and kids’ rides for your little ones, too.

So, your whole family can enjoy their stay by exploring the grounds and stopping by attractions at Golden Gate Park.

Relax under the Shade of Trees at Paradise Beach County Park

From Fairfax, travel 24 minutes to Paradise Drive in Tiburon to reach Paradise Beach County Park.

This site is famous among swimmers and kayaking enthusiasts.

Spanning 19 acres, it offers a picturesque view of the East Bay.

If you’re interested in using your fishing skills, you don’t need a license to do so at this park.

Similarly, it’s a great place to cook some barbeque dishes to include in your picnic setup.

Relax in the shade of trees when the sun’s heat takes its toll.

Spending your afternoon at Paradise Beach County Park will truly be a delight.

Watch Your Child Play and Learn at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

The grounds of Bay Area Discovery Museum

Rosangela Perry /

The Bay Area Discovery Museum is the perfect educational getaway for children.

This spot is in Sausalito, approximately 22 minutes from Fairfax.

All 7.5 acres include exhibition spaces for indoor and outdoor play.

Its programs cater to children half a year old to the prime age of eight.

Exterior of Bay Area Discovery Museum

Rosangela Perry /

Camps and classes held at the center are project-based and hands-on to provide kids with better learning opportunities.

The Bay Area Discovery Museum uses research to let kids discover more about art, nature, exercise, and history.

Some of its more profound exhibits include the Lookout Cove and BADM Beach, which offer a simulation of outdoor exploration.

Set up Your Tent at Bicentennial Campground

A tent at Bicentennial Campground

Bobjgalindo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bicentennial Campground is a campsite outside San Francisco in the Marin Headlands that takes you on an uphill path to reach it.

The short hill provides excellent exercise for those who prefer more fun in their workouts.

Set up tents and watch the stars through your tent openings at night for peaceful reflection.

Dogs near a tent at Bicentennial Campground

Bobjgalindo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Be one with nature as you spend time with yourself or a loved one on this campsite.

If you’re wondering how far it could be from Fairfax, it only takes you 26 minutes of travel to get to Bicentennial Campground.

Final Thoughts

Even with its village-like aura and residential build, Fairfax is abundant with natural and historic sites, most especially aquatic preserves.

It never disappoints in mixing modernity and natural beauty with a historical charm that keeps visitors coming back.

After rounding up the best things to do in Fairfax, California, what’s your top pick?

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