Above: Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore was established to preserve and protect wilderness, natural eco-systems, and cultural resources along the diminishing undeveloped coastline of the western United States. Located just an hour's drive from a densely populated metropolitan area, the Seashore is a sanctuary for myriad plant and animal species and for the human spirit — for discovery, inspiration, solitude, and recreation — and exists as a reminder of the human connection to the land.
Point Reyes is located approximately 30 miles north of San Francisco on Highway 1 along the west coast of California. Travelers may approach the park from the winding scenic Highway 1, either northbound or southbound. You can also reach the park via Sir Francis Drake Boulevard or the Point Reyes/Petaluma Road.
Operating Hours & Seasons:
The park is open daily from sunrise to midnight throughout the year. Overnight camping is available by permit only. Visitor Center hours are as follows:
Bear Valley Visitor Center
0.5 miles from Olema along Bear Valley Road
Olema, CA 94950
The Bear Valley Visitor Center is open on:
Weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Weekends and holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Lighthouse Visitor Center
The Lighthouse Visitor Center is open: Friday through Monday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Lighthouse stairs, the exhibits in the lower Lighthouse chamber, and the Equipment Building are open (weather permitting): Friday through Monday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Lens Room is open (as weather & staffing permit): Friday through Monday, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
All Lighthouse facilities are closed Tuesdays - Thursdays.
All Visitor Centers are closed December 25. Visitor Centers may close at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Call 415-464-5100 for hours of operation on these holidays.
Overview of Beaches in Point Reyes National Seashore:
Abbotts Lagoon Beach: This is a great place for bird watching. The sand dunes backing the beach are home to the endangered snowy plover.
Drakes Beach: This is the nicest beach at the Point Reyes National Seashore. The tall cliffs provide shelter from the usual northwest summer winds. There is a visitor center, cafe and memorial to Drake here. The annual sand sculpture contest is held the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.Kehoe Beach: A half-mile walk alongside a marsh and over a sand dune takes you to Kehoe Beach. Once at the beach, turn left to explore the stream meandering to the Pacific Ocean. To the right, giant dunes make explorations fun.
Kelham Beach: A 4.8-mile trek from the Bear Valley trailhead brings only hardy hikers to this quiet, secluded beach north of Arch Rock. The trail leading from the Coast Trail down to Kelham Beach has recently been repaired and is now open (as of September 4, 2009). The beach access trail was washed out a number of years ago during a winter storm.
Limantour Beach: You can take long walks on Limantour Beach, over a mile in each direction; you can also wade, watch the birds, beach comb, or picnic. The nearby Estero de Limantour is a favorite for bird watchers for its variety and number of birds.
McClures Beach: This is Marin's most scenic beach with rugged coastline framing both ends. During super low tides, there are great tide pools at the south end. Palomarin Beach: This beach is good for tide pooling at minus tides. Note: the trail to this beach is a strenuous walk down a cliff.
Pt. Reyes Great Beach (North and South Beaches): North and South Beach make up an incredible expanse of over 10 miles of undeveloped ocean beach to roam - also known as "Point Reyes Beach." If you are looking for the drama of heavy surf this is the place to be. Dogs are allowed on a 6' leash on this beach. Dogs are not permitted north of the North Beach entrance as this area is protected habitat for the endangered snowy plover. Please be very cautious near the water as "sneaker waves" have been known to drag unwitting victims out to sea.
Sculptured Beach: Tide pools, rock formations, a blowhole where the sea really does "blow through," birds, passing whales and dolphins (bring binoculars), incredible sunsets, and great sand are just some of the things you'll see here.
Wildcat Beach: Wildcat Beach is south of Limantour Beach, near Alamere Falls. It is a 5.5-mile hike from the Palomarin trailhead in the southern part of Point Reyes. It is one of the most beautiful, remote white sand beaches in California and a popular place for horseback riding.