Nestled along the shore of the San Pablo Bay, China Camp State Park was once a Chinese shrimp-fishing village in the 1880s. Today it’s a nature-lover’s paradise, home to grassland, coyote brush, salt marsh, meadows, and oak groves.
There’s a little something for everyone here. Hikers can roam looking for deer, fox, hawks, and endangered harvest mice. Campers can take their pick of several sites (remote or easy to reach), the seafaring can head down to the beach or go for a dip in the bay, kayakers can rent gear at Outback Adventures, and bikers of all levels can take to the road.
If history’s your thing, there’s a museum telling the tale of the early Chinese settlement, where a group of fishermen from Canton China made their home. Today a few ramshackle buildings remain, and one general store, which retains the memory of the once thriving village. Operated by Frank, the grandson of one of the village’s last remaining residents, the no-frills general store is open on weekends only and sells everything from clam chowder to cold beers to Popsicles near grassy knolls and a sunny stretch of beach.
And, perhaps best of all, the park averages over 200 fog- free days per year.
Read about more of the best 10-mile bike rides in the Bay Area.
Take Golden Gate Transit bus 101 to the San Rafael Transit Center (about 54 minutes), and walk or bike to the trail head (about 6 miles).
101 Peacock Gap Trail
San Rafael, CA 94901