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Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Drakes Beach in Point Reyes
Drakes Beach in Point Reyes

About a one-hour drive from the densely populated San Francisco Bay Area, Point Reyes National Seashore was established to protect wilderness and natural ecosystems along the California coastline.

Point Reyes is rich in biological diversity: over 45% of North American bird species are sighted in the park, and nearly 20% of California's plant species grow here. In all, over 1,000 plant and animal species call the area home.

Located on the Marin coast, the park was established by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. It encompasses over 71,000 acres, including 33,000 acres of wilderness. Estuaries, windswept beaches, coastal grasslands, salt marshes and coniferous forests create 86 miles of unspoiled and undeveloped coastline. There are 147 miles of hiking trails, backcountry campgrounds and numerous beaches.

The best time to visit Point Reyes National Seashore is during spring (March–May). If you visit in March, you might see the California gray whales as they migrate from Baja to the Alaskan feeding waters. During mid-spring, you may see the elephant seal pupping season.

The park is open daily (with overnight camping available by permit only) from sunrise to sunset throughout the year. Point Reyes visitor centers offer a free map of the park's trails, indicating which trails are designated for bike travel. You can explore trails through evergreen forests, coastal scrub, or along estuaries and beach bluffs.

Located at beautiful Drakes Beach, the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center contains exhibits that focus on 16th century maritime exploration and marine environments. A minke whale skeleton is suspended from the ceiling. Allow 20-30 minutes to view the exhibits.

The Lighthouse Visitor Center offers exhibits on the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse as well as on whales, seals and sea lions, wildflowers, birds and maritime history. It’s located 45 minutes west of Bear Valley on the Point Reyes Headlands. There's a 0.4-mile walk (mostly uphill) from the parking lot to the visitor center. Allow at least two hours round-trip for travel to the lighthouse from the Bear Valley area and another hour to tour the visitor center and lighthouse.

Headlands and beaches on the Pacific Coast are subjected to frequent heavy fogs (most common in the months of July, August and September), and the rainy season is December through March. I’d recommend dressing in layered clothing if you plan to visit.

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Drakes Beach in Point Reyes
Drakes Beach in Point Reyes

About a one-hour drive from the densely populated San Francisco Bay Area, Point Reyes National Seashore was established to protect wilderness and natural ecosystems along the California coastline.

Point Reyes is rich in biological diversity: over 45% of North American bird species are sighted in the park, and nearly 20% of California's plant species grow here. In all, over 1,000 plant and animal species call the area home.

Located on the Marin coast, the park was established by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. It encompasses over 71,000 acres, including 33,000 acres of wilderness. Estuaries, windswept beaches, coastal grasslands, salt marshes and coniferous forests create 86 miles of unspoiled and undeveloped coastline. There are 147 miles of hiking trails, backcountry campgrounds and numerous beaches.

The best time to visit Point Reyes National Seashore is during spring (March–May). If you visit in March, you might see the California gray whales as they migrate from Baja to the Alaskan feeding waters. During mid-spring, you may see the elephant seal pupping season.

The park is open daily (with overnight camping available by permit only) from sunrise to sunset throughout the year. Point Reyes visitor centers offer a free map of the park's trails, indicating which trails are designated for bike travel. You can explore trails through evergreen forests, coastal scrub, or along estuaries and beach bluffs.

Located at beautiful Drakes Beach, the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center contains exhibits that focus on 16th century maritime exploration and marine environments. A minke whale skeleton is suspended from the ceiling. Allow 20-30 minutes to view the exhibits.

The Lighthouse Visitor Center offers exhibits on the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse as well as on whales, seals and sea lions, wildflowers, birds and maritime history. It’s located 45 minutes west of Bear Valley on the Point Reyes Headlands. There's a 0.4-mile walk (mostly uphill) from the parking lot to the visitor center. Allow at least two hours round-trip for travel to the lighthouse from the Bear Valley area and another hour to tour the visitor center and lighthouse.

Headlands and beaches on the Pacific Coast are subjected to frequent heavy fogs (most common in the months of July, August and September), and the rainy season is December through March. I’d recommend dressing in layered clothing if you plan to visit.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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