If you're in West Marin, you may hear whisperings of a mythic town that time forgot. A town that really enjoys its unique and insular character. A town that revels in its own eccentricities and tears down the signs that would direct a tourist there. Bolinas is not for everyone (and possibly not for you), but that's a large part of the allure. Who wouldn't want to be part of a club that doesn't want to have you for a member? Playing hard to get is a powerful thing, and the more Bolinas says, "betcha can't find me," the more I'm drawn to it.
Since Bolinas's pull is undeniable, and locals are not known for their love of outsiders, the best I can do is to give you a few tips that might help you make the most of your trip without ruffling any feathers.
1. Try passing for a local. Naturally, this is a risky move, as with a population of 2,500, any real locals would spot you for the outsider that you are and shake their heads. That being said, if you're willing to take the risk, I recommend tie-dye, facial hair, and essential oils. Bolinas is a town that celebrates oddballs, so the more conspicuous you look, the better you could blend in. Confidence could go a long way. Try velvet purple pants and an invisible dog on a leash.
2. Don't go to Bolinas. This is a pretty safe bet. Upsides include knowing that you'll survive your trip to West Marin without feeling like an outsider. Downsides include not getting to enjoy a plate of mahi-mahi fish and chips, Marin Sun Burgers, and fresh oysters at the Coast Cafe.
3. Avoid everyone who's been there longer than you. I like to think of Bolinas residents as bears: they're probably more afraid of you than you are of them. Give 'em a wide birth and you'll be alright. Grab a loaf of fresh bread, a hunk of artisan cheese and some bottles of organic juice from the Bolinas People's Store and hit the Palomarin trailhead. The gorgeous Alamere Falls awaits you. Just make sure to pack out your trash.
4. Be respectful. Bolinas is a privilege, not a right. Just because you found the town despite the residents' best efforts doesn't automatically mean you deserve to enjoy its beach, food, and atmosphere. You have to show that you're not the kind of Abercombie wearin', iPhone usin', uncouth out-of-towners that they've tried to protect themselves against. Just pick up a copy of "The Bolinas Hearsay News," and enjoy the area the way you'd want tourists to enjoy your quirky, picturesque hometown.