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“Quiet and Beautiful” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore
1 Bear Valley Road, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
415-464-5100
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Type: Tourist/ Visitor Centers, Beaches, National Parks, Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Outdoors
Activities: Birdwatching, Hiking, Viewing wildlife
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Owner description: The 100 square miles of this spectacular coast are home to over 400 species of birds.
Knoxville, Tennessee
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Quiet and Beautiful”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2014

This was one of the most peaceful, quiet places I've been. I want to go back just for the quiet. Coastline, ocean, rolling hills, cows, elk.

We went during the week, early December so there were very few people around. Didn't get to tour the lighthouse as it's only open weekends. Saw lots of elk, some elephant seals and various birds, especially redtail hawks. Recommend stopping by the Welcome Center; the ranger is extremely helpful and there's a nice gift shop. Had a very nice conversation with him and the shopkeep.

Some things to note: it's just as well the lighthouse was closed; I probably wouldn't have walked the stairs anyway. Very steep. You will drive through several dairy farms on the way; slow down as you go over the stockgaps (those metal rods in the road) and through the farm. There are people, pets, and cows wandering by!

Recommendation: Stop by Perry's Inverness Park Grocery on the way and pick up sandwiches. I'll write a review specific to them, but WOW the food was great.

Can't wait to go back.

Visited December 2013
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New York City, New York
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
42 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Enjoyed without my dog.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

Had to leave my dog in the car, but the beach was expansive, plenty of room to roam. This place is pretty remote, which makes for a pleasant approach. Lots of cows and hills on the way.
I wasn't allowed to drive to the lighthouse. You had to buy tickets and ride a bus from Drake beach. Didn't end up going.

Visited December 2013
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San Ramon, California
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
37 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“Classic california coast, with no crowds. Great winter option”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

Similar to the California coastline along Monterey, Point lobos, etc., yet a completely different vibe. It feels much more vast and desolate, hardly any folks due to it's remoteness.

Best visited in winter, when there's less chance of fog and wind. Check your forecast for a sunny winter day and go for it. The drive takes a while though, as you'll be spending quite some time along winding country roads. Took us over 2 hrs from the east bay (though google maps said 1.5 hrs).

Ideally you want to spend 2 (or more) days, and stay somewhere closer to the park (Inverness town, for example). That way you don't have to waste half your time driving. You can spend both days hiking, or a day of hikes and a day kayaking.

We visited recently for a day. With kids, so we did the two main short hikes - the climb down to the lighthouse and back, and then the Chimney rock trail. If you have to choose, go for the latter as the lighthouse itself is an old structure - no big deal, and chances of getting a clear close-up view of any whales are remote. The excellent chimney rock trail straddles the Pacific ocean and Drakes bay; with lots of elk and deer dotting the landscape.

Visited December 2013
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Palo Alto, California
Top Contributor
139 reviews 139 reviews
39 attraction reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
114 helpful votes 114 helpful votes
“Superb place for hikers, birdwatchers, poets, fans of the San Andreas Fault Line, etc etc”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2013

This place is a must-see for those who love National Parks, especially those poetically-inclined souls who love an empty windswept beach. Take the winding 20-mile-or-so drive across the peninsula to get to the Lighthouse and, on a quiet winter weekday, you can almost imagine Kate Bush singing "Wuthering Heights". (Note to Generations X and Y: look it up on the Internet). Be advisd that the roads here are - how do we put this tactfully? - of "federal" quality, i.e., they desperately need to be repaved.

Test your cardiovascular capacity by taking the many steps down to the Lighthouse - and then huffing your way back up again. The Lighthouse is only open for several days each week, so check before you arrive; but the Fresnel lens is still in place, for you lighthouse aficionados. The day we were there, the rangers actually closed the steps later in the afternoon, due to high winds (gusting to 40 MPH), so take your warm scarf.

There is a blacktail-deer herd near the Lighthouse. We also took a walk along the 2 1/4 -mile-long Limantour Spit on a December weekday, reached by a separate road. We were the only people on the actual landspit. The birdwatching was good (no, we won't say what we found - go and see for yourselves). In previous visits, we have seen the Tule Elk herd from the hiking track that goes to the northermost extent of the peninsula; we even saw a bobcat there once.

A shuttle-bus system has been put in place for the whale-watching season, from late December onwards for several months. Apparently lots of people show up to watch for passing grey whales. Once again, this Park is probably much better-appreciated on weekdays than on weekends. There is no admission charge.

The Bear Valley ranger station is a good place to start from. There are flush toilets there, and there is a trail that crosses the Fault Line, although signs of earthquake activity have been largely covered by Nature. There was a Botta's Pocket Gopher digging a burrow right outside the ranger station.

There used to be a small informal restaurant at the Drakes Bay visitor center, but the last word was that the lease had not been renewed, or something to that effect. So take all the food that you will need - and all the drinks too. A hot flask is recommended at any time of the year - the wind can blow hard here!

Visited December 2013
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Ottawa, Canada
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Spent a day here but it was not enough!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2013

What a great park! We did two major hikes and one baby hike - all of which I would recommend. Go on the Earthquake trail - only 30 minutes but really interesting to walk right along the San Andreas fault! We also did the Bear Valley trail to Arch Rock (about 4 hours - flat and easy, through the woods and ending at the ocean with great view of Arches rock) and the Tomales Point trail (three hours but we did not make it the whole way). If I had to do it again would start with the Tomales trail - we saw coyote, elk and great ocean views. We had not factored in how long it would take to drive from the Visitor Center to the trail head. Also, be sure and get advice from the Rangers. They are very helpful.

Visited November 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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