One of the most ecologically diverse landscapes in the U.S., the Point Reyes National Seashore is also one of the last few pristine and unpopulated wild areas left within the U.S. that is within an hour’s drive of a major city. Located off the 101 highway, Point Reyes is just an hour north of San Francisco, yet feels a world away. Located in west Marin County, the peninsula is 111 square miles, making it excellent for hiking, biking, horseback riding, swimming, or kayaking. Its convenient location to redwood forests like Muir Woods and Samuel P. Taylor State Parks make it an excellent launching spot for exploring the coast of the North Bay.
Lodging options vary from camping to cabin rentals. For those interested in roughing it in their own tent and sitting around a crackling fire in the evenings, Samuel P. Taylor State Park offers campsites for $35 a night, alongside a bubbling creek and right under the redwood canopy. Wake up under the tallest trees in the world and hike along the pioneer trail or jump on your bike for one of the most beautiful rides to Olema, the small town nearby.
The Point Reyes Hostel offers a more remote sleeping option with shared dorm rooms from $25 a night ranging up to private rooms for $120. This is a great launching point for those who want to hike around and explore the coastal beaches, marshes, and Douglas fir forests of the area. You can buy local cheeses, produce and meats from Marin Sun Farms and prepare them in the hostel kitchen for a more budget approach to enjoying the local fare.
For a more homey, cozy feeling, the historic Bear Valley Inn in the small town of Olema offers a quaint country feeling, with beautifully decorated rooms and cabins, ranging from $125-$250 a night. For more upscale lodging, you can rent small cabins suspended over Tomales Bay at Nick’s Cove, starting at $290 a night. Stay in the cabin made from the hull of an old boat and pop over to the restaurant for a beautiful sunset meal featuring local oysters and Dungeness crab.
Things to Do:
Wake up and stop through Point Reyes Station for some Chai tea and morning buns from Bovine Bakery before heading to the Bear Valley Visitor Center, where the Park Rangers can help you choose a hiking trail to your liking.
Bring a picnic with some local bread and cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery . Hike out to the coast on the Coastal Trail, a five mile loop to the beach, where you can picnic and enjoy the seclusion of miles of open beach. Or drive out to the Point Reyes Lighthouse with epic views and check for migrating whales.
A shuttle bus can take you to the elephant seals, where you can watch these gigantic magnificent mammals lounging on the beach and nursing their young. You can also head out to the western tip of Point Reyes to the Elk Reserve to search for herds of these beautiful creatures shrouded in fog. Or make a reservation with Blue Water Kayaks for a personal tour of Tomales Bay led by a fantastic guide, and witness seals and rare birds, including bald eagles.
After your trip, stop by the Marshall General Store for some fresh or BBQ oysters while sitting at a rustic wooden table overlooking the bay. For a more budget option, bring your own picnic to Hog Island Oyster Company and shuck your own oysters. In the evening, head up to Nick’s Cove Restaurant for some local fare or to Point Reyes Station to the Station House Cafe or to Osteria Stellina for local and rustic fare.
For additional information to help you plan for your Point Reyes National Seashore weekend getaway adventure, visit the National Park Service’s website. You’ll come back from your trip feeling a renewed sense of appreciation for California’s splendor and charmed by the quaint local history and ingenuity.