Southwest

8 Best Hotels Near Muir Woods and Golden Gate Recreation Area

From seaside retreats to small-town inns, stay near California's Muir Woods and Golden Gate Recreation Area at these eight incredible hotels.

Just beyond San Francisco, a protected pocket of ancient redwoods rise on Mt. Tamalpais. Originally spared by loggers due to its inaccessibility, Muir Woods National Monument protects one of the last natural cathedrals of coastal redwood sequoias. Wandering through this towering old-growth forest for the first time made me fall in love with Northern California, and there’s magic in walking the Bohemian Grove Trail past 250-foot tall trees. However, this natural monument is just a tiny slice of the gems awaiting in Golden Gate Recreation Area.

As the most visited site in the National Park System, Golden Gate hosts over 15 million annual visitors who come to explore 37 distinct park sites. From the redwoods of Muir Woods to San Francisco’s Presidio and Alcatraz Island, this recreation area contains 1,200 historic structures and over 130 miles of trails. While it’s impossible to see it all in a single trip, you can hit the highlights in a few days.

Many come to see the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, long called “the bridge that couldn’t be built” due to the fog, wind, and tides that hampered its construction. Today, it’s revered as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, and no Northern California trip is complete without a visit. While the bridge and much of Golden Gate Recreation Area is explorable without reservations, Muir Woods’ popularity makes reservations a requirement.

Once you’ve scheduled your visit, you’ll need the perfect place to stay. From Mill Valley Inn’s redwood forest cottages to Casa Madrona’s seaside Sausalito retreats, these eight hotels offer comfortable luxury and easy access to the entire Golden Gate Recreation Area.

Bayview Boutique Near the Golden Gate Bridge

Perched over the Bay with a Mt. Tamalpais vista, Acqua is a 49-room boutique in Marin County—the birthplace of mountain biking. Bike trails begin just outside the hotel, and free Trek mountain bike loaners make it easy to explore. Pedal four miles to Golden Gate National Recreation Area or six miles to Muir Woods—the closest of any hotel on this list to these parks.

Despite the wonders awaiting outside your door, you’ll be tempted to stay in with Acqua’s shoreside rooms overlooking Richardson Bay. While rooms differ in size, all feature cushy beds, spa robes, and aromatherapy bath products. Luxe suites include soaking tubs and water view balconies.

The best bay vistas are found atop Acqua in its glass-walled indoor-outdoor atrium, where the hotel’s nightly wine reception is held. Unwind here with a glass of local wine and watch the sunset behind Mt. Tam as you warm up around a fire pit. When sunrise calls, fuel your day with a complimentary spread of pastries, fruit, cereal, frittatas, bacon, sausage, and a coffee bar.

Acqua

Top rated
Mill Valley
8.6 Excellent (383 reviews)

Boutique Inn Surrounded By Redwoods in Mill Valley

Nestled among soaring redwood trees, a creek, and nearby forests, Mill Valley Inn‘s unique dwellings make it a favorite of nature lovers. Choose from cozy private cottages, guest rooms in the turn-of-the-century Creek House, or Main Building rooms with forest views—all updated with modern design, plush beds, and botanical body care products.

At Mill Valley Inn, each day begins with a fresh complimentary breakfast served in the Sun Terrace Lounge. Grab a seat inside or on the outdoor deck and enjoy hot coffee, bagels with lox, steel-cut oatmeal, organic yogurt, and fresh pastries.

Steps from the property, walk hiking trails winding through the redwoods or grab a free Trek mountain bike rental and pedal up Mt. Tamalpais or paths leading to the coast. Explore Mill Valley on 46 trails traveling through Redwood grooves, up to panoramic views, and on windy climbs and descents. Find secret stair climbs on the 175 hidden stairways of Mill Valley. One starts right on the property—if you know where to look. In town, explore the village-style center’s delightful mix of independently owned shops, cafes, and restaurants.

When you’re ready to see sights beyond town, it’s just a seven-mile drive to both Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Muir Woods— making Mill Valley Inn the most central hotel featured. Just return in time for the complimentary evening wine reception held in a lounge among the trees.

Hotel Mill Valley Inn

Top rated
Mill Valley
9.0 Excellent (376 reviews)

Luxurious Coastal Lodge in Downtown Tiburon

Overlooking Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the San Francisco Bay, The Lodge at Tiburon spans three acres in this quiet sailing town, with 103 guest rooms and suites. Designed in an upscale rustic style, rooms have private balconies and patios, views of the courtyard or mountains, and pillowtop beds with 300-thread count sheets.

Relax in the hotel’s private outdoor heated pool and hot tub year-round, or lounge the day away in a poolside cabana with beds shielded from the sun. On the outdoor SkyDeck, sip a glass of Napa Valley wine and enjoy endless views of Marin County and the Bay paired with a coastal breeze.

Just underneath the SkyDeck, Tiburon Tavern offers indoor and open-air patio seating and farm-to-fork fare with New American flair. Order the grass-fed burger if you’re craving something hearty, or the Veggie Penne Pasta to sample produce grown in the restaurant’s garden and nearby farms.

Beyond the lodge, wander Tiburon’s “Ark Row” to shop boutiques and galleries or dine at waterfront restaurants. After filling in the town’s lagoon, used boats were converted into homes, giving the block its nickname. For a new view, drive 10 miles to Golden Gate Recreation Area and 14 miles to Muir Woods to see coastal forests, historic structures, and tiny islands.

Hotel The Lodge at Tiburon

Tiburon
8.3 Very good (1831 reviews)

Historic Seaside Suites in the Hills of Sausalito

More than 130 years after its founding, iconic Casa Madrona has been reimagined for the modern era with masterful upgrades that preserve its historic charm. Take in harbor views and the San Francisco skyline (when the fog lifts) in the village of Sausalito—all minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge and Muir Woods.

Accommodations range from luxurious suites in the historic mansion to chic hillside cottages that fit a range of travel personalities. Still, all feature contemporary design with a touch of Victorian history – and seriously comfortable pillowtop poster beds.

Make time for cardio in the bright, modern Fitness Center on virtual reality bikes, treadmills, and cardio trainers with entertainment screens. For something more chill, take a wellness journey at Casa Madrona’s spa, where vibrational sound therapy, facials, massages, body wraps, scrubs, and enzyme peels revitalize your mind and body.

By night, dine adjacent to Casa Madrona at Poggio, a classic Italian trattoria specializing in Northern Italian comfort food. Unique takes, like a Bing cherry burrata salad and local king salmon with spring vegetables, dazzle. Using herbs grown right in the backyard garden makes every recipe taste fresh.

Hotel Casa Madrona

Top rated
Sausalito
8.5 Excellent (1286 reviews)

Suburban Stay Near Golden Gate Recreation Area

Escape the hustle and bustle of San Francisco and retreat to the suburbs at Best Western Plus Corte Madera. The hotel’s 110 air-conditioned rooms feature complimentary WiFi, mini-refrigerators, video game consoles, and satellite television programming. Spacious family rooms and romantic whirlpool suites are also available.

Get your pump on in the fitness center with free weights and machines, or skip the work and lounge at the resort-style pool. Easily the highlight of the hotel, this fun outdoor area’s water basketball set up, 75-foot pool, and two whirlpool tubs are ready for chillaxing. Beyond the water, play a round on the hotel’s putting green, shoot hoops at the basketball court, or face off in ping pong and shuffleboard. As the sun sets, gather ’round the outdoor fire pit to recount the day’s adventures.

Staying here also helps you avoid city traffic – it’s only 10 minutes to Golden Gate Recreation Area and under 30 minutes to Muir Woods via US-101 South. At Muir Woods, see the redwoods, Mt. Tamalpais, the Pacific Ocean, and distant views of San Francisco on a four-mile hike along Ben Johnson Trail before returning on Dipsea Loop.

Best Western Plus Corte Madera Inn

Corte Madera
8.3 Very good (1454 reviews)

Luxurious Hilltop Hideaway in Downtown San Francisco

San Francisco’s welcoming Pacific Heights neighborhood is home to the Hotel Drisco, a boutique beauty dating back to 1903. Luxurious all-inclusive service reigns here, with complimentary breakfast, daily evening wine receptions, and loaner bikes to cruise around the City by the Bay. When fog and cold ruins outdoor workouts, head for the 24-hour fitness center with treadmills, ellipticals, a Peloton bike, and a range of free weights.

Explore beyond the hotel with free chauffeur service to anywhere in the San Francisco city limits. When you’re ready to stroll across Golden Gate Bridge or through towering old-growth trees, hop on the US-101. It’s five miles north to Golden Gate Recreation Area, or follow it and CA-1 North 16 miles to Muir Woods National Monument. See the best Golden Gate Bridge vista on the Crissy Field Promenade Trail, or harbor seals and a still-active lighthouse on the Point Bonita Lighthouse Trail.

Back at Hotel Drisco, retreat to your suite where nightly turndown service includes dark chocolate shortbread cookies. Cushy pillowtop mattresses and Egyptian cotton sheets invite you to unwind, and you can customize your comfort with a ‘pillow menu’ of different types and styles. Still counting sheep? Let Drisco’s sleep machine help you drift off fast.

Hotel Drisco

Top rated
San Francisco
9.5 Excellent (587 reviews)

A Contemporary Hotel with a Convenient Location

Treat yourself at the Courtyard by Marriott San Francisco Larkspur Landing, a centrally located hotel with contemporary suites. Expect separate workstations and lounge areas, super-plush beds, and in-room mini-refrigerators.

After a day of adventuring in Golden Gate National Recreation Area or Muir Woods National Monument, grab a lounge chair and chill at the massive outdoor pool or warm up ’round a fire pit. If hiking around the parks isn’t enough, lift some weights or go for a treadmill run in the fitness center.

In the chic modern lobby, fuel up at The Bistro with a Farmstand Breakfast Bowl or indulge in comfort dinner cuisine with a grilled cheese sandwich and hot tomato soup. Quell late-night cravings at The Market, the hotel’s 24-hour convenience store, or imbibe in a black cherry old fashioned at the lobby bar.

Courtyard San Francisco Larkspur Landing/Marin County

Top rated
Larkspur
8.5 Excellent (811 reviews)

Intimate Boutique Hotel with City Views & Small-town Vibes

Perched on a historic dock in Tiburon, Waters Edge Hotel is a coastal boutique that balances provincial charm with big city and outdoor access—making it an ideal home base for an adventurous vacation. See the San Francisco skyline from the outdoor deck, or catch a ferry steps from the hotel to Angel Island.

Get a jumpstart on the day with a free gourmet breakfast delivered to your room every day. Then unwind with complimentary cookies and an evening wine reception on the outdoor deck. Retreat to your suite where a cozy fireplace, plush spa robe, and a soaking tub await.

When you’re ready to explore, grab a complimentary hotel bike and take a spin on Tiburon’s coastal trails, or walk idyllic Main Street for waterside dining and boutique shopping. Just 15 minutes from Golden Gate Recreation Area and under 30 minutes from Muir Woods, Waters Edge is central to any Bay Area adventure.

Waters Edge Hotel

Top rated
Tiburon
9.1 Excellent (597 reviews)