Fodor's Expert Review Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore Park (National/State/Provincial)
Free Fodor's Choice

One of the Bay Area's most spectacular treasures and the only national seashore on the West Coast, the 71,000-acre Point Reyes National Seashore encompasses hiking trails, secluded beaches, and rugged grasslands, as well as Point Reyes itself, a triangular peninsula that juts into the Pacific. The Point Reyes Lighthouse occupies the peninsula's tip and is a scenic 21-mile drive from Bear Valley Visitor Center; at this writing it is closed for renovations, but check online. The town of Point Reyes Station is a one-main-drag affair, with some good places to eat.

When explorer Sir Francis Drake sailed along the California coast in 1579, he allegedly missed the Golden Gate Strait and San Francisco Bay, but he did land at what he described as a convenient harbor. In 2012 the federal government recognized Drake's Bay, which flanks the point on the east, as that harbor, designating the spot a National Historic Landmark.

The infamous San Andreas Fault runs along the park's eastern... READ MORE

One of the Bay Area's most spectacular treasures and the only national seashore on the West Coast, the 71,000-acre Point Reyes National Seashore encompasses hiking trails, secluded beaches, and rugged grasslands, as well as Point Reyes itself, a triangular peninsula that juts into the Pacific. The Point Reyes Lighthouse occupies the peninsula's tip and is a scenic 21-mile drive from Bear Valley Visitor Center; at this writing it is closed for renovations, but check online. The town of Point Reyes Station is a one-main-drag affair, with some good places to eat.

When explorer Sir Francis Drake sailed along the California coast in 1579, he allegedly missed the Golden Gate Strait and San Francisco Bay, but he did land at what he described as a convenient harbor. In 2012 the federal government recognized Drake's Bay, which flanks the point on the east, as that harbor, designating the spot a National Historic Landmark.

The infamous San Andreas Fault runs along the park's eastern edge; take the Earthquake Trail from the visitor center to see the impact near the epicenter of the 1906 earthquake that devastated San Francisco. A half-mile path from the visitor center leads to Kule Loklo, a reconstructed Miwok village of the region's first known inhabitants.

You can experience the diversity of Point Reyes's ecosystems on the scenic Coast Trail through eucalyptus groves and pine forests and along seaside cliffs to beautiful and tiny Bass Lake.

The 4.7-mile-long (one-way) Tomales Point Trail follows the spine of the park's northernmost finger of land through the Tule Elk Preserve, providing spectacular ocean views from high bluffs.

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Park (National/State/Provincial) Views Free Fodor's Choice Family

Quick Facts

1 Bear Valley Visitor Center Access Rd.
Point Reyes Station, California  94956, USA

415-464–5100

www.nps.gov/pore

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Free

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