I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Martinez and environs are a great place to spend a day or two, if you’re a nature-lover. Take your bikes (we used Amtrak from Berkeley, only $10 per person each way and you get great views of North Richmond and Point Pinole that you can’t get from the car). and enjoy a lovely ride from Martinez out to Port Costa and back, along a beautiful road with no cars. (Or hike in the adjacent hills). Return to Martinez and head out to the small but worth-a-visit Muir National Historic Site. Then do a hike in the hills from the nearby trailhead. Head back into downtown Martinez for a snack, then do some birding at the wetlands where Alhambra Creek meets the bay. Have an early dinner, finishing just before dark so you can head over to the beaver dam — they have beavers right in the middle of town! — and look for the beavers, and the muskrat, and the green heron that is always around, and the mink and otter that occasionally come through. Afterwards, head just down the street to Armando’s for some music until you start to get tired. Then head over to Benicia (if you’re car-free, I recommend the local Martinez Taxi service, which has a van that you can put two bikes into, as we proved this weekend) and stay at one of Benicia’s charming hotels or B&B’s. Get up early in the morning, bike two miles over to Benicia State Park and bird the wetlands there, then head back for breakfast. Afterwards, head on home, or bike back to Martinez on the brand-spankin’-new Benica-Martinez bike path and catch the train back to your destination. Put it all together, and you have a terrific 24-hour or 48-hour getaway.
The description above isn’t _quite_ how we did it this past weekend — for example, it was the hottest weekend of the year, so we swapped out some of the outdoor activities in favor of a massage by Joyce Cid (excellent). But trust me, you can do a great weekend of outdoor activities in and around Martinez.