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Point Reyes

Point Reyes is worth a visit any time of year. When the rest of Marin is golden, hot, and dry, the coast can be green, moist, and misty. Springtime brings wildflowers on high cliffs overlooking the sea, fall offers warm, sunny days, and the winter sun will warm you on the miles of trails with spectacular ocean views.

Start your trip with a stop at the Bear Valley Visitors’ Center. If you have time, take the short Earthquake Trail and cross the epicenter of the 1906 quake! You might like to park the car here for the day and start off on one of the many trails. A day’s walk will take you all the way to the coast and back. Or continue on northwards for a day of whale watching out at the lighthouse, a leisurely day at the beach, or a walk out to Chimney Rock with its magnificent views and nearby elephant seals.

And if you’re in the mood for some unique small-town atmosphere, Point Reyes Station is the perfect place to stop. Spend an hour or two browsing the two or three gift shop-galleries, the bookstore, and the saddlery. Take a look into West Marin Pharmacy for a drugstore that seems to have absolutely everything. Taste some out-of-this-world cheese at the Cowgirl Creamery over in the former hay barn – they have picnic tables out in back. And finally, don’t miss the Bovine Bakery and its fresh, handmade, organic pastries.

As for eateries, Point Reyes Station has some fine choices, as does nearby Inverness. Or if you’re an oyster fan, take an evening drive up to Tomales where you can sit comfortably over a Chardonnay and a plate of oysters on the half shell as you watch the sun set upon the bay and the evening fog roll its way in as night slowly falls.

Written by AlocatoNot from stock or prompts

      

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Things to Do & See

Here are some of the best things to do in Point Reyes. Add them to your trip and we'll hold on to them in your Travelog. Look for to find free stuff.

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Elephant Seals

From December through March the elephant seals can be observed from the overlook near Chimney Rock. Depending on what part of the season you are there for, you will be able to see males contesting their dominance, females giving birth, and females with their pups. Be sure to bring your binoculars. On the weekends, the road out there is closed and the park operates a shuttle bus leaving from the Drakes Beach parking lot. Call for updates. Viewing is free, but the weekend and holiday shuttle is $7, children under 16 free.

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Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse

The peak of the southern whale migration is in mid-January and the best place to view them out at Pt. Reyes is the Lighthouse. Later in March they will be heading north again, and in late April or early May you may even see some mothers with their calves coming close to shore to feed. Don't forget to bring some binoculars, sun screen, and snacks - plan in a bit of time out there. Scarves are also good - it can be quite windy. Also, earlier in the day is better viewing, before the sun starts shining in your eyes in the later afternoon. If you come on the weekend be prepared to take the shuttle bus leaving from the Drakes Beach parking lot. Call for updates on the shuttle. Viewing is free, but the weekend and holiday shuttle trip is $7, children under 16 free.

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Limantour Beach

LImantour is a long sandy beach with gentler waves than other Pt. Reyes beaches as it's not on the open ocean. Nice for a family day at the beach, for picnicking, playing in the sand, kite-flying, wading or swimming (though the water is a bit cold). The beach is about a 5-min walk from the parking area. It's on-leash dog-friendly but the northern part of the beach is off-limits to pooch, because of the Snowy Plover's nesting area. Bring layers of clothing - weather out at Point Reyes can be unpredictable. Permits for fires are available for free from a ranger or at a visitors' center.

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Heart's Desire Beach

If you get out to Point Reyes with the kids and it's windier and colder than expected, head back to Inverness and turn off at Heart's Desire Beach. The beach is a small, wind-protected cove, with a mellow atmosphere and nice shallow water for wading and swimming that is way warmer than the ocean any time. Perfect place for a picnic. There's an $8 vehicle entrance fee.

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Bear Valley Visitors' Center and Earthquake Trail

Nice first stop on your trip. If it's time for lunch there are plenty of picnic tables. The Earthquake Trail begins right at the southeast end of the picnic area. It's paved, only about a half a mile, and great for both young and old. The highlight is a fence that was split on the fault, demonstrating how much the ground moved that day.<br /> Pick up all the information (and fire permits, etc.) you need at the visitors' center. If it's a rainy day, take your time viewing the nature exhibits. There's also a nice little shop with nature books and small gifts.

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Alamere Falls

This is a 13-mile round-trip hike, but it's more than worth it. The best way to do this trip is to reserve a campsite out at Wildcat Camp for the night. The next day, if it's warm you can head over for a swim in Bass Lake - but watch out for poison oak and stinging nettle.

Events

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Big Time FestivalAnnually, July

This annual event takes place in July at Kule Loklo, a recreated Miwok village near the Bear Valley Visitors' Center. Basketry, flint knapping, clamshell bead-making, dancing, and more. A traditional trade festival. Bring a picnic lunch and spend the day. (No dogs allowed).

Top-Reviewed Restaurants

You're probably going to get hungry while you're there, but what's good in the area?

We've asked our friends at Yelp to keep us updated on what's cool and tasty, and they sent over their top-rated Point Reyes eats. Add some to your trip and we'll store them for you.

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