Looking for a great day trip from San Francisco? Check out this Point Reyes Travel Guide!
Jutting miles out into the Pacific, Point Reyes is by far one of the most rugged and scenic spots on the California coast. Forged by intense wind and water, you’ll find everything from wide sandy beaches to forests to tranquil bays in this epic peninsula north of San Francisco.
Now, if you’re wondering what to do in Point Reyes, this Point Reyes Travel Guide has you covered! From scenic hiking to sandy beaches to historic lighthouses, there’s something you’ll enjoy!
And if you’re planning a trip to California, keep in mind that Point Reyes to San Francisco isn’t far at all. It can easily be seen in a day trip from the city.
So, ready to explore Point Reyes? Here’s what you should see…
Point Reyes Travel Guide
Is Point Reyes worth visiting?
Yes, Point Reyes is absolutely worth visiting if you’re in San Francisco! If you’re visiting the city, take Highway 1 north out of the city, over the Golden Gate Bridge. After arriving at Point Reyes Station, enter the park and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
When should I go to Point Reyes?
Like so much of California, September will have the warmest, sunniest weather of the year. This is especially important when visiting Point Reyes as you’ll be dealing with extremely windy and cold weather!
How do you spend a day at Point Reyes?
After driving up to Point Reyes from San Francisco, you’ll want to start out hiking the short Earthquake Trail. Next, drive up to Point Reyes Beach North or Point Reyes Beach South to experience the windiest point in the Western US! Third, you’ll want to see Drake’s Bay, a large natural bay surrounded by white stone cliffs. Finally, drive up to South Beach Overlook for some terrific views over the Pacific!
Point Reyes Lighthouse
One of the focal points in Point Reyes is the historic lighthouse, with terrific views over the Pacific. At this point you’re jutting over 10 miles out into the sea.
South Beach Overlook
Just before you reach the lighthouse you’ll find the sweeping viewpoint over South Beach. Watch out for the wind, though! You’ll feel it strong up there.
Chimney Rock Trail
If you want spectacular views over Drake’s Bay and the Pacific, look no further than Chimney Rock Trail! With stunning views and plentiful wildflowers in the spring, this 2.5 mile hike is great for the whole family.
Drakes Bay is the huge center point of Point Reyes, at over eight miles wide. You can drive down to Drake’s Beach, which is a lovely spot with smaller waves than South Beach. (below)
With intense gusts of wind blowing down the wide and sandy South Beach, it doesn’t come as any surprise that Point Reyes is the windiest spot in the Western US. It’s an excellent place to take a stroll and take in the Pacific coast in all its glory!
Tomales Bay State Park
Tomales Bay State Park is located adjacent to Point Reyes, and visiting both makes an excellent combo for a day trip. In Tomales Bay, you can visit…
- Abbotts Lagoon Trail
Abbotts Lagoon has some excellent birding opportunities in the winter, and is all around a lovely hike just short of 3 miles.
- Tomales Point Trail
This 9.7 mile roundtrip trail takes you to the northernmost point on the Point Reyes peninsula.
- Hearts Desire Beach
A lovely little sandy beach on the shore of Tomales Bay itself.
Earthquake Trail (0.7 miles)
One interesting aspect of Point Reyes is that it is actually on a different tectonic plate than the rest of North America.
While you’re driving to Point Reyes, you’ll notice how the peninsula is separated by the oddly narrow Tomales Bay and Olema Valley, sandwiched between the hills. The reason for this is because Tomales Bay and Olema Valley happen to be directly atop the San Andreas Fault!
Now, on the Earthquake Trail, which is in Olema Valley, you can see the devastation the 1906 earthquake caused, shifting a fence by several feet!
Bodega Bay (About 45 Minutes)
Bodega Bay is a quaint little town up the road from Point Reyes. You can hike the Bodega Bay Trail, with great views over the town, bay, and Pacific ocean, and of course a lot of wind.
Also, visit the Spud Point Crab Company, with some of the tastiest and well seasoned Clam Chowder you’ll find anywhere. It rivals any good seafood restaurant in San Francisco or Seattle!
So, now that you’ve seen this Point Reyes Travel Guide, go check out even more great California travel tips below…
Don’t miss out! Now that you’ve seen these Things to do in Point Reyes, follow along with Never Ending Journeys for more fun Travel Tips and Ideas!
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