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Getting to Marin County, CA

Easy-to-follow directions from San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose airports

Reaching Marin County from Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose airports can be confusing, but here you find simple to follow directions. You also get sightseeing tips along the way.

If you have a car, Marin makes a excellent base for part of your San Francisco Bay Area stay.

From Oakland International
From San Francisco International
From San Jose International
Sightseeing along the way from SFO
Finding a great Marin County hotel location

From Oakland International Airport (OAK)

From Oakland International Airport, head north on Interstate 880 to I-580.

Then take the combo I-80 and I-580 freeway northbound toward Sacramento.

Do not use the San Francisco exit of I-80.

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Just north of Berkeley, exit on I-580 off I-80 and cross the Richmond - San Rafael Bridge to Highway 101 in San Rafael.

Then go north (toward Novato) or south (toward Mill Valley and San Francisco) on 101 depending on your hotel location.

Because I-580 takes you past the San Quentin Penitentiary (at the west end of the bridge), you may not wish to pick up any hitchhikers!

From San Francisco International (SFO)

From the San Francisco International Airport rental car facility, follow the signs northbound on McConnell Way to I-380.

Take 380 westbound (the only way you can go) to I-280.

Drive north on I-280.

Ignore the first Highway One exit, but instead take the second exit northbound toward San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. You are on Highway One.

As you approach the Golden Gate Bridge, merge into northbound U.S. 101, which takes you into Marin County.

The main hotel areas are along 101 as you continue north.

From San Jose Airport (SJC)

From San Jose Airport, follow U.S. Highway 101 northbound toward San Francisco.

Just beyond San Francisco International Airport, go westbound on I-380.

Now, follow the SFO directions (above).

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Sightsee along the way from SFO

You can easily have fun sightseeing on the way to Marin County.

For really detailed directions from downtown San Francisco or the local airports, see our beautiful Marin County Scenic Drive.

Otherwise, continue on Highway One through San Francisco from San Francisco International Airport. You'll pass through Golden Gate Park, which makes a nice stop.

As you exit the park, turn right on Fulton, and take the first available parking.

You are within easy walking distance of the Golden Gate Park’s famous Japanese Garden, as well as its extensive Strybing Arboretum.

This area of the park is very popular. If you stay among other visitors, you should be quite safe.

From here, go around the block, and then head back westbound on Fulton Street.

Continue until Fulton reaches the Great Highway at the end of Golden Gate Park, just above Ocean Beach.

Turn right, find the first available parking, and then walk across to the beach, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Forget swimming here. The rip tides are strong and the surf is extremely unsafe. You will enjoy the view, however.

Continue driving northbound on the Great Highway to the Cliff House Restaurant on your left, which has an even better view down the beach.

The Great Highway curves to the right, becomes Point Lobos, and then Geary Boulevard.

You are now driving eastbound on Geary, which is the main shopping street of the predominantly Chinese-American Richmond District.

One block beyond 15th Avenue, turn left onto Park Presidio, which is Highway One.

Highway One joins U.S. Highway 101 to go northbound over the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County.

Stop at the Vista Point at the north end of the bridge for great views on clear days.

Just beyond the Vista Point, take the Alexander Avenue exit into Sausalito.

Follow the waterfront through very picturesque Sausalito until you rejoin the northbound 101 freeway ("The Redwood Highway") toward the main accommodation areas in Mill Valley, Larkspur, San Rafael, and Novato.

From the Sausalito Ferry Terminal (next to the Yacht Club and waterfront park), you can take commuter ferries to Fisherman’s Wharf or to the Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street. This trip is highly recommended.

From across the plaza in front of the Ferry Building, the California Cable Car takes you to Grant Street, in the heart of Chinatown.

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