12 Best Things to Do in Tiburon, California

Things to do in Tiburon

Disclosure: I was a guest of Destination Tiburon but all opinions and recommendations are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. 

I’ll guiltily admit that I’ve been to San Francisco at least 50 times but hadn’t even heard of Tiburon until maybe 3 years ago. I did actually plan a trip in 2020 but that didn’t happen for obvious reasons. Anyway, better late than never, right? If you’re like me and you’re getting around to planning a Northern California trip (make sure you include Berkeley too!), these are the 12 best things to do in Tiburon.

Tiburon is this super adorable town right across the bay. Despite its small size, there’s plenty to do and eat, of course.

Whether you’re planning a day trip to Tiburon, a weekend in Tiburon, or even longer, check out this travel guide for Tiburon, California.


Things to do in Tiburon
Lyford’s Stone Tower in Tiburon


Arrival in Tiburon / How to Get to Tiburon

Tiburon is incredibly charming and it’s super easy to get to from San Francisco. Best of all? Once you’re there, you won’t need a car at all! It’s small enough to walk or bike everywhere.

Here’s how to get to Tiburon from San Francisco and everywhere else:

From San Francisco

You have two options to get from San Franciso to Tiburon: drive or take the ferry. Either one will take about thirty minutes.

The fun thing about driving is that you get to go over the Golden Gate Bridge, which, if I’m being honest, never gets old. But the San Francisco to Tiburon ferry is arguably the best way to get to Tiburon since you don’t need a car when you’re there. Plus, as someone who doesn’t get to take ferries almost ever, I appreciate getting to experience a different kind of transportation.

To take the ferry, you can use Uber or Lyft or take public transport to get to the San Francisco Ferry building. You’ll need to buy your SF to Tiburon ferry ticket at Gate C, and the ferry leaves from Gate B. You can view the schedule here.


From Los Angeles (and elsewhere)

I recommend flying into San Francisco International Airport (SFO) if you’re planning 2 days in Tiburon. It’s the easiest airport to use when going into the city.

Once you land at SFO, you can take the BART (San Francisco’s public transportation system) to Embarcadero and then walk or Uber to the SF Ferry Terminal. You could also Uber or Lyft all the way to the ferry too.


Things to do in Tiburon
Main Street Tiburon


Best Time to Visit

California is known for great weather year-round, but when you get up into the Bay Area, some seasons are better than others.

Winter can get pretty cold in northern California, so it’s not my preference for a time to visit somewhere known for patio dining and walkable streets. I’m also definitely not a cold-weather girl (although I’ll adapt if absolutely necessary).

Spring and fall can be good times to visit Tiburon. It’s usually less crowded than in the summer. But the trade-off is that the weather can be a little unpredictable. One day might be sunny and warm, the next could be chilly and foggy.

I think the best time to visit Tiburon California is in the summer. There aren’t all that many tourists even in high season. The weather is warm but not super hot. It’s actually kind of perfect especially if you’re coming from San Francisco, which is notoriously windy and chilly during the summer.


Things to do in Tiburon
Rustic Bakery in Belvedere, Tiburon


How Long to Spend in Tiburon

The cool thing is that it’s pretty easy to take a day trip to Tiburon, especially if you’re coming from San Francisco. The SF to Tiburon ferry runs pretty regularly, and the town is walkable.

But if you’re lucky enough to get more than a Tiburon day trip in, you should definitely plan a weekend in Tiburon. I’d actually recommend staying two nights if you can. 2 days in Tiburon will let you get the full experience, especially if you want to visit Angel Island (you’ll want to – trust me!).


Things to do in Tiburon
The Lodge at Tiburon is an excellent place to stay!


Best Things to Do in Tiburon in 2 Days

Tiburon is one of my favorite destinations in California. It’s like it was made for me – tons of hiking, biking, and eating. What’s not to love?

While you can’t go wrong just wandering the streets and people-watching, here are some of the best activities in Tiburon that you really shouldn’t miss:


Visit Hippie Tree

I love finding places that only locals know about. Hippie Tree is one of those places, and honestly, I don’t know how it isn’t super popular!

Hippie Tree is a giant eucalyptus tree up on a hill in Tiburon. it’s huge with incredible views looking over the bay. But what makes it worth visiting is its tree swing. It’s kind of high off the ground so you might need a little help to get up there. But it’s such a fun experience!

Since Hippie Tree is a lesser-known spot, here’s how to get there (you’ll need to drive or Uber to the trailhead):

  • Turn off Tiburon Boulevard onto Gilmartin Drive.
  • If you’re driving, park near 100 Gilmartin Drive (there are parking spaces across from the fire road entrance). If you’re using a rideshare, the entrance to the fire road is across from 100 Gilmartin Drive.
  • Walk up the hill on the fire road to reach the Hippie Tree.

Bring a blanket and watch the sunset with incredible views.


Take the Ferry to Angel Island

It’s 12 minutes by ferry from Tiburon to Angel Island. The entire island is a State Park, and it’s known as a great place for hiking, biking, and taking in views. On clear days, you can see all the way to the Napa Valley!

There’s a ton of history at Angel Island. It has been used as a hunting ground by the Coast Miwok and a resupply station for Spanish explorers. One of them was Juan Manuel de Ayala – the first person to map San Francisco Bay! Since then it’s been a cattle ranch, a military garrison, and a missile base. You can learn about all of this at the Visitor Center.

If you’re only visiting Angel Island for the day, I recommend heading straight to Immigration Station. There’s a tram that will take you there, but I preferred to walk. It’s an easy 1.5 mile hike. Just take North Ridge Trail from the dock to the Perimeter Road.

Things to do in Tiburon
Many immigrants slept in side-by-side triple bunks while detained at Angel Island

At the Immigration Station, you’ll learn a ton about Chinese immigration in the early 1900’s. Chinese immigration was really restricted, so the Chinese were sent to Angel Island instead of getting processed in San Francisco like other immigrants.

On one of the guided tours (you should do a guided tour if you can), I learned that Chinese immigrants were only allowed into the country if they could do a specific job or if their husband or father was a citizen.

Some of these immigrants were detained on Angel Island for years while officials tried to track down relatives or witnesses. You can still see some of the poetry these detainees carved into the walls. It’s haunting and beautiful.

Things to do in Tiburon

After the Immigration Station, go for a hike! The island really is beautiful. The Perimeter Road is a great option for a hike. There are informational plaques to explain what the old military buildings are along the way.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, climb the North Ridge Trail to the top of Mt. Livermore. It’s about 2 miles to the top, but it’s worth it. The view is unbelievable. You can see for miles on clear days.

Biking is another fun way to explore the island. Rentals are available right by the docks. They’re first come, first serve and rent for the day or by the hour. Biking is a great way to make sure you have plenty of time to see everything there is to see on Angel Island.

You can bring a picnic lunch with you to the island if you want. If you prefer to eat there, the only place to eat on Angel Island is Angel Island Café & Cantina. It’s got a great outdoor patio. They also offer box lunches that you can take to eat as a picnic on your hike. And if you finish hiking early, they offer live music on weekends.

Note: Be sure to refer to the ferry schedule for the latest ferry times. You can also camp on Angel Island if you’d like.


Rent a Bike in Tiburon

Things to do in Tiburon

If you’re a big biker then good news: Tiburon is super bike-friendly.

A great route to try is the Tiburon Historic Trail. It starts off on Paradise Drive and runs along the bay through Shoreline Park. You’ll get to see great views from here and lots of historic markers. If you’re into it, the Railroad & Ferry Depot Museum is a fun quick stop on the history trail.

Keep going a few blocks past the end of the trail to see Lyford’s Stone Tower. It was built in Victorian times when Dr. Benjamin Lyford was trying to turn Tiburon into a spa town. There’s not much there now, but it’s fun to see. And Lyford’s Tower makes for great photos! I may or may not have done an entire mini-photoshoot there.

Another good bike trail runs north, starting on the other side of downtown. Look for signs for Tiburon Linear Park. This path runs along an old railroad line and has great views of the bay.

Things to do in Tiburon

Tiburon Linear Park ends at Blackie’s Pasture. For a truly unique Instagram pic, be sure to snap a selfie with the statue of Blackie the horse.

And be sure to go check out the berm by Tiburon Boulevard. If you climb to the top, you see what’s left of Tiburon Trestle – an old railroad trestle from 1883.

Pro tip: A lot of the hotels offer complimentary bike rentals so be sure to check with yours. If they don’t, the front desk staff can direct you to the bike rental shop.


Go for a Hike

There are tons of places for hiking in Tiburon. With scenery like this, why not get out and explore? A few of my favorites are:


Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve

Ring Mountain Preserve is about a 15-minute drive north of Tiburon. The main trail isn’t super long. It takes between 1.5 and 2 hours to finish – if you don’t go off exploring side trails.

The hike starts at the Phyllis Ellman Trailhead on Paradise Trail. It’s not always super well marked, but you’re basically going to follow that trail to Ring Mountain Fire Road and turn left. Then turn left again on Loop Trail. That will take you back to Phyllis Ellman Trail near the trailhead.

Like most of Tiburon, the views here are fantastic. So are the wildflowers. Be on the lookout for the Tiburon Mariposa Lily. Ring Mountain is the only place it grows in the world!

There are some shady spots on the trail but be sure to bring plenty of water with you (this is a great water bottle for hiking). The trail is marked as moderate, but it can get tricky in places so I recommend wearing good hiking shoes.


Old Saint Hilary’s Church

Just up the hill from Tiburon is Old Saint Hilary’s Open Space Preserve. This preserve is 122 acres and it’s named after a pretty white church that was built in 1888.

Old St. Hilary’s Church is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s built out of redwood and some of the original stained glass has been restored to how it was originally. It’s a short walk up a hill from Esperanza Street.

But while you’re there, take some time to hike the wildflower preserve that it sits in. There are flowers there that only grow in Old Saint Hilary’s Preserve. It’s gorgeous to see them growing all around the old stone walls.

There’s almost no shade up here. Be sure to take plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing.


Fishbits Trailhead

You can also get to Old St. Hilary’s Church from the Fishbits Trailhead. This is a little better for anyone who has a car because it’ll be a little easier to find parking. The trailhead is located on the north side of Old St. Hilary’s Preserve, at the end of Vistazo Street W.


Explore Main Street 

Things to do in Tiburon
The Candy Store on Main Street

Tiburon is a great place to wander around. It’s small and easy to get around and it’s filled with beautiful storefronts. Plus, almost all the shops I encountered were independent mom-and-pop shops. So cute!


Best Restaurants in Tiburon

Okay, so you should visit Tiburon for its views and outdoorsy vibe, but definitely stay for the food! There are a ton of great places to eat in Tiburon. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to narrow it down to a few favorites!

Here’s where to eat in Tiburon:


Caffe Acri

Things to do in Tiburon

If you’re looking for the best pastries in Tiburon, you have to stop at Caffe Acri. The vibe is very “breakfast in France.” Super cute! It’s a great place to stop for breakfast or brunch – especially if you’re catching a ferry to Angel Island.

I have to admit, I just got coffee and pastries because I wanted something light. The coffee at Caffe Acri was seriously good, and every pastry I tried was delicious as well. If you want a little more to eat in the morning, they’ve got a good breakfast menu and daily specials that look amazing.


Tiburon Tavern

Things to do in Tiburon

The best breakfast in Tiburon is at Tiburon Tavern. This restaurant is attached to The Lodge, the hotel I stayed in right on Tiburon Blvd. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I can only speak on behalf of breakfast (although the other options look equally delicious)!

Tiburon Tavern has a great lodge-y feel to it. Plus, they’ve got a truly excellent dining patio if the weather is nice. My friend and I ordered the corned beef hash and the truffle eggs benedict plus the pancakes. The savory options blew it out of the water – I still don’t know which one I liked better!


Sam’s Anchor Café

Things to do in Tiburon
The ahi burger

If you want to eat somewhere with truly amazing views of the harbor, check out Sam’s Anchor Café. It’s a Tiburon icon. But it’s not just because of the amazing deck (although that’s definitely a factor). The food here is why the locals say Sam’s is the must-eat spot to eat in Tiburon.

The waitstaff here is also really great. They’re all super nice and chill but still make you feel like the most valued customer they’ve had all day.

Sam’s serves a pretty wide range of American food, with an emphasis on seafood. Try the amazing ahi tuna burger or the super fresh calamari. And be sure to save room for dessert – the butterscotch layer cake was delightful.

Pro tip: Visit Sam’s Anchor Café for lunch and be sure to bring layers. It can get really cold on the water even when the weather is warm, which I learned first-hand. 


The Bungalow by Michael Mina

Things to do in Tiburon
Steak at The Bungalow

I visited Tiburon for my birthday, so I decided to go fancy for dinner. The Bungalow was a splurge for me but everything was so amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday meal.

Bungalow Kitchen offers upscale New American fusion Everything is super fresh, well-seasoned, and well-cooked and it’s definitely the best place for dinner in Tiburon.

I loved the ahi tuna tartare and the yellowtail sashimi we started with. For mains, the miso seabass and steak were also spectacular. Bungalow Kitchen is another place where you have to get dessert – specifically the chocolate pudding. Even if you don’t normally opt for chocolate desserts, trust me on this – it’s decadent and just sweet enough without being cloying. SO good.


Salt and Pepper

After going fancy, I was ready for cozy. Salt and Pepper didn’t disappoint. It’s the cutest little place, right on Main Street in downtown Tiburon, with a great patio.

Everything I tried at Salt and Pepper was amazing and the waiter was attentive and fun. I tried the shrimp salad, burger, tacos, and crème brulee. Every bite was delicious, but I also kept looking at what everyone else was eating and wanting that too.

If you’re looking for the best lunch in Tiburon, I recommend checking Salt and Pepper out. There are a ton of salad, burger, and sandwich options for pretty reasonable prices. But they’ve also got great breakfast and dinner menus too if you’re looking for where to eat in Tiburon for those meals.


Where to Stay in Tiburon

There aren’t a ton of hotel options in Tiburon. In fact, if you want to stay within walking distance of downtown Tiburon, there are only two options.


The Lodge at Tiburon (Mid-Range)

Things to do in Tiburon

I really loved my stay at The Lodge. It felt slightly dated, but my room was comfortable and clean. Plus, every room has a little patio or balcony – win!

It was pretty hot when I visited so I made sure to cool off in the pool. It’s not a huge space, but there were plenty of lounge chairs and a hot tub. It also had a few cabanas around it so I got to crawl under the canopy and get some shade.

Another bonus of staying at The Lodge? They offer complimentary 2-hour bike rentals with your room! Perfect for biking along one of the waterfront trails!

Read TripAdvisor reviews | Book a stay


Waters Edge Hotel (Luxury)

I’m pretty sure the definition of luxury is having your complimentary breakfast delivered to your room every morning! But that’s not the only thing that makes Waters Edge an amazing place to stay.

Waters Edge is located right on the water, and for those rooms that don’t have a waterfront view, there’s a big deck with comfy chairs and firepits. Every room has a fireplace and snooze-worthy featherbeds too!

It’s a small boutique hotel, so it doesn’t have amenities like a fitness center or onsite restaurant. But with how close it is to parks, downtown, and hiking in Tiburon, you really don’t need them.

Read TripAdvisor reviews | Book a stay


What to Pack for Tiburon

There are few things to remember when deciding what to pack for Tiburon that will make your trip way more enjoyable. Here are a few of my recommendations:

  • Take great sneakers or hiking shoes. Tiburon is a great town for walking, but that means you’ll be on your feet a lot. Make sure your feet don’t hurt! And even though most of the trails in the area are listed as moderate, it’s still a good idea to wear a good pair of hiking shoes if you’re planning to hike. For the rest of the time, these sneakers are always a comfortable choice!
  • Pack workout clothes for hiking and biking in Tiburon: Leggings, a sports top and bra, and good socks. I’ve made the mistake of choosing fashion over function before, and let me tell you, Tiburon will be way more fun if you’re comfy. Plus, everyone seemed to be wearing workout clothes most of the time anyway.
  • Have layers with you. The temperature swings pretty drastically in Tiburon. On my trip, it was so hot that I spent the afternoon in the pool, but was freezing on the patio for dinner. If you need a good packable jacket, I like this one.
  • Pack a bathing suit. If you’re going to Tiburon in summer, you’ll thank me for telling you to take a bathing suit (here are a few cute options). Whether you’re taking a dip in the pool on a hot day or soaking in the hot tub on a chilly night, you won’t regret bringing one.
  • Take sun protection. There’s not a lot of shade around Tiburon, so make sure you can protect yourself from the sun. Put on a good sunscreen even if you’re not hiking in Tiburon. And it gets really bright so make sure you’ve got sunglasses and a good hat too.

I’m so glad I was able to finally able to visit Tiburon and now that I know how amazing it is, I’ll be sure to return again in the future.


Tell me: Are you planning 2 days in Tiburon or a Tiburon day trip? What do you think are the best things to do on Tiburon itinerary?


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2 thoughts on “12 Best Things to Do in Tiburon, California

  1. Andrew says:

    Hello I’m living in Ireland I’ve been checking out your info video on areas to visit around San Francisco, it was very informative . It gave me plenty of ideas , I’ll definitely have my hands full .
    Thanks again

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