Point Reyes, located about 1 hour north of San Francisco, feels like something out of a fairytale. Think pristine beaches, rugged coastline, wildlife sightings and a cute little town to top it all off. There are plenty of awesome things to do in Point Reyes for a day trip or a full weekend getaway! Keep reading for my Point Reyes travel guide and start planning your trip.
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How to Get to Point Reyes
Point Reyes is located in Marin County, about an hour north of San Francisco, along the iconic Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway). Cross over the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy the scenic 30-mile drive as you head up to Point Reyes National Seashore!
Since Point Reyes is so close to San Francisco, it can easily be done as a day trip. However I recommend staying at least 1 night – you won’t want to leave!
On a West Coast road trip? Point Reyes is a great choice for a stop along the way. Check out my post: Must-See Spots on a West Coast Road Trip for more help planning your trip.
Best Time to Visit Point Reyes
Point Reyes is great any time of year, but note that July and August will have more crowds (and fog!). Head to Point Reyes in Fall or Winter to escape some of the crowds.
Where to Stay in Point Reyes
If you decide to go for a weekend getaway instead of just a day trip, here are some great options for places to stay in Point Reyes:
- “Serene Bungalow“
- This colorful little vacation home is located right in the middle of Point Reyes Station, the cute little town (population: 848) with shops and restaurants in the middle of Point Reyes.
- Nick’s Cove
- Located in Tomales Bay, Nick’s Cove is not only one of the best restaurants for local oysters in the Point Reyes area but they also have luxury waterfront cottages on the property.
- HI Point Reyes Hostel
- If you’re traveling on a budget, this is perfect. I was shocked to see that there is a hostel in Point Reyes! It looks BEAUTIFUL, has great reviews, and is located right near a beach and hiking trails.
Best Things to Do in Point Reyes
1. Relax at Drake’s Beach
One of my favorite things to do in Point Reyes is to have a chill beach day at Drake’s Beach. Before you hit the beach, hike up the little trail from the parking lot to get a birds-eye view of the beach and rugged coastline. It’s beautiful!
Pro tip: bring some wine and cheese (they have great local cheese in Point Reyes – more on that later) and have a beach picnic! Be on the lookout for dolphins and seals. This pristine national seashore is known for wildlife sightings!
2. Cypress Tree Tunnel
On the way back to town from Drake’s Beach, you’ll pass this AMAZING tree tunnel off the left side of the road. Look out for parked cars along the road to mark the spot. The gate is normally closed as they don’t want cars to drive down it, but you can park on the main road and walk over the gate to stroll under this tunnel. Go at golden hour to see the light filtering through the trees – it’s a photographer’s dream!
3. Point Reyes Lighthouse
Visiting the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse is one of the most popular things to do in Point Reyes (but unfortunately it was closed for maintenance when I was there). The iconic steps leading down to the lighthouse offer a picturesque view of the Pacific Ocean from above. It’s 313 steps down to the actual lighthouse, so be prepared for the walk back up! It’s probably one of the most photographed spots in Point Reyes, which also means it is likely the most crowded as well. Make sure to get there early so you can enjoy the scenic stair climb without as many people in your view.
4. Explore the Town
Exploring the cute small town of Point Reyes Station is a must when you are in the area! Walk along the main street and peruse the shops, restaurants, and bars.
You definitely need to try some of the local cheese. Head to Tomales Bay Foods to pick up some cheese from Cowgirl Creamery – a local brand that sources all their dairy from organic milk from Marin and Sonoma County. We had their award-winning Mt. Tam cheese – it was SO good!
You can also buy other great snacks and supplies here to create the perfect picnic.
5. Kayak Tomales Bay
Looking for some adventure in Point Reyes? Go on a kayaking tour with Blue Waters Kayaking! They even offer night-time bioluminescence kayak tours, which seems like it would be amazing. Make sure you book in advance – we tried to do this on our trip but called the day before and they were all booked up!
There are some great options for hikes in the area! If you have the time, Tomales Point Trail is a great option. This 9.4 mile hike gives you stunning views of Tomales Bay and the Pacific Ocean, and there’s a good chance you’ll see a Tule Elk on the trail!
If you are short on time, try the popular Chimney Rock Trail. This 1.9 mile trail takes you along the coastline with AMAZING views.
7. Wine Tasting
There’s no better way to close out a trip to Point Reyes than with some wine tasting! Check out Point Reyes Vineyard Inn and Winery. This low-key winery has a nice outdoor patio area where you can enjoy your wine tasting with views of the rolling hills in the background. The owner is a big Grateful Dead fan and has some decor in the lobby of the winery which was an added touch of character to the location!
Planning a road trip? Check out how to get the best RV deals to travel on a budget.
Also – check out 12 Epic California Getaways to see more amazing spots in the Golden State!