Smiley’s Schooner Saloon and Hotel

Smiley’s Schooner Bar & Hotel in Bolinas, CA

With Labor Day behind us and the kids back in school, summer has sadly drawn to its official close.

I took a bunch of mini-vacations around Northern California with my family this past summer, but our trips up the coast from San Francisco to the quirky seaside hamlet of Bolinas were among my favorite.

We rented the Bolinas Gallery for the month of August for a photo show of my husband’s work chronicling 20 years shooting artists at the Fillmore in San Francisco. The gallery was open every weekend, so we spent quite a bit of time in “Bobo.” My kids made friends with locals as they zipped around on razor scooters and Skuut bikes.

On the opening weekend of the gallery, Dan and I booked a room at Smiley’s, which is better known as the local bar then a hotel. Smiley’s Schooner Saloon & Hotel was established in 1851 and served liquor straight through Prohibition. These days they host live music on the weekends.

The hotel is set back from the street, tucked away in a lush garden making it surprisingly quiet despite the proximity to the rowdy bar.

Rooms are tidy and modest — no tvs or phones. Current rates published on the website are $104-$114. All rooms have private baths and include free coffee and a morning newspaper.

If you’re looking for an affordable getaway in a quirky Northern California town, Smiley’s won’t disappoint.

Insider Tip

You won’t see a sign to Bolinas from Rte. 1. As a deterrent to tourists, the locals have a tradition of removing the sign that indicates the turnoff to their seaside hamlet. Eventually the highway department gave up on installing new signs. Look for a street off to the left past the lagoon, approximately 6 miles from Stinson Beach.

Smiley’s Schooner Saloon & Hotel
41 Wharf Road, Bolinas, CA
(415) 868-1311

This guest post was contributed by Lisa Dion of

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