Stinson Beach, California is a jewel of a town set just northwest of San Francisco on the coast by Muir Woods. The Parkside Café (restaurant, snack bar, coffee bar and market) is a gem within in the jewel. Set immediately next to the parking lot for the beach, it is conveniently located and was a great find.
As noted above, and on its website, it is a collection of small businesses or operations. On this trip we simply grabbed a couple of pastries to hold us over until lunch in Sausalito. However, the pastries were worth the drive. I had a chocolate croissant that was heavenly, and my wife had a strawberry and peach muffin that was decidedly different and decidedly excellent. The diet cola I had to wash my down was made better by the pastry and the location.
Parkside features a throwback looking snack bar that was not yet open, a coffee and pastry bar which was, a café that was open and a marketplace that is open on weekends (closed on this trip). The café was very nice and has outside dining. The menu looked great for something almost on the beach, but we were dead set on having lunch in Sausalito, and passed on lunch this time.
Here comes the disclaimer. Stinson Beach is a lovely place with a beautiful beach and gorgeous scenery on the drive up from California 101. The drawback is that this section of Panoramic Highway or Shoreline Highway 1 (depending on the source referenced) is a torturous drive. It is gorgeous, but all passengers should take something for motion sickness before heading out.
Disclaimer aside, the pastry is worth the morning drive, lunch and the beach are just the topping on the sundae.