On the southern tip of Marin two forts that hug the Marin headlands and the entrance to the Golden Gate end up being more than just abandoned concrete structures. Starting on the west side of the bridge you look out over the water where Fort Cronkhite resides. There you will find a beach along with old World War II (WWII) bunkers where military personnel would reside to keep San Francisco Shores and ports safe from any Submarines or military assaults; luckily the west coast was never attacked. In the past few decades California has built a Marine Mammal center there for the study and care of all California’s marine inhabitants.
One way of leaving Fort Cronkhite is not by car but by bike. An easy and accessible tunnel route straight through the Marin Headlands is one of the special features of this Marin Area. The tunnel was once used by George Lucas in the opening scene in The Raiders of the Lost Arc, where Indiana Jones had to escape from a long cave like structure filled with booby traps along wit a gigantic boulder that most literally chased him from the bleak and unpleasant place. On one hand it would be a much more interesting ride if each biker was chased from the tunnel by a rolling boulder, but in an attempt of making this a safe passage not only did George Lucas take down his film set but there is an easy access button that you can push to alert cars of your presence by constant flashing lights on either end of the slender tunnel.
As you arrive on the other side the recognizable odor of bay water and fog teases your nose with its freshness. From here you bike down to Fort Baker with its own distinct view of the Golden Gate Bridge along with its own set of military bunkers. Here you can play openly with a Frisbee or ball of your choice along the “parade grounds” (a grassy field setup for pedestrians). Along with the sights and sounds of the bay the Bay Area Discovery Museum is located with its own display of fun and child-friendly activities.
After visiting the Discovery Museum take a short ride to the town of Sausalito where a nice stroll or bike ride along the waterfront and piers allows you to see the world famous Sausalito houseboat colony. This colony came about after the shipyards at the north end of town closed post WWII, and artists and beatniks began building these artfully constructed hand made boats.
Near the houseboat docks you can find the Army Corps of Engineers San Francisco Bay Model, which is a football field-sized model of the San Francisco Bay used for studying the bay’s hydraulic systems, and housed in one of the historic WWII, Marin Ship warehouses. In the Bay Model building there is an excellent exhibit of the historic Marin Ships shipyards which once thrived in Sausalito.While in Sausalito you might like to enjoy some of the many places to eat with choices like Sushi Ran, Poggio Trattoria, or Gaylord Indian Restaurant. Other activities while visiting Sausalito would be renting a kayak to boat around the bay, swim along the beach, or visit the many shops, art galleries or go to the movies.
-- Zephyr Forest