Finding a cool hiking trail on a hot day can be a challenge in the Bay Area. Most folks head for forested parks, and that's fine, but when I crave sunshine and ocean breezes, I drive to the coast. If you get an early start, Muir Beach Trailhead can be a perfect destination. Unlike the Tennessee Valley Trailhead, you probably won't have a lot of company, since at Muir Beach most visitors head straight for the beach, and the trails are empty.
Grab classic pub fare at one of the best après spots in Marin, the English countryside-inspired Pelican Inn. Try the Guinness beef stew and a pint of Pelican Pale Ale (made for the inn by Lagunitas Brewing Company). On nice days, spread a blanket on Pelican Inn's huge front lawn.
"Stick to the coastal trail with great views of the ocean. The Green Gulch trail is physically demanding, but there isn't anything really notable to see."
"Bring plenty of blankets, its not uncommon for wind and fog to sweep in during the evenings."
Three miles west of Muir Woods along the coastline, Muir Beach is a quiet cove, beach, and lagoon favored by locals. Redwood Creek at Muir Beach is home to numerous shorebirds, amphibians, salmon and trout, and marshy, water-loving plants called rushes (Juncus). In addition, the nearly complete restoration project is fostering long-term stewardship by incorporating Traditional Ecological Knowledge of the Coast Miwoks and providing opportunities for youth in conservation.