Things to Do2020-01-04T21:34:48-08:00

Point Reyes … Coastal Marin Things to Do

The list of activities in West Marin is long and exciting! Within and around the towns of Muir Beach and Muir Woods, Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Olema, Inverness, Point Reyes Station, Marshall and Tomales visitors enjoy: Hiking along the coast or through the woods within the Point Reyes National Seashore or its surrounding towns; bird watching, whale watching, viewing an abundance of wildlife including elephant seals, deer and tule elk. There are beaches to explore, wonderful bicycling paths, picturesque picnic areas, horseback riding, golf, kayaking on Tomales Bay, and digging for oysters. Below you will find phone numbers to help you obtain visitor information.

For general information about activities in West Marin please visit: National Park Service Website

National and State Parks

Bear Valley Visitor Center
415-464-5100

Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center
415-669-1250

Lighthouse Visitor Center
415-669-1534

Muir Woods
415-388-2596

Stinson Beach State Park
415-868-0942

Tomales Bay State Park
415-669-1140

Educational Centers

Audubon Canyon Ranch
415-868-9244

Clem Miller Education Center
415-663-1200

Marine Mammal Center
415-289-7325

Point Reyes Field Seminars
415-663-1200

Point Reyes Bird Observatory
415-868-1221

Slide Ranch
415-381-6155

bear valley visitors center

Bear Valley Visitors Center

Additional Ideas for Enjoying West Marin & Point Reyes National Seashore

How’s the Weather In Point Reyes National Seashore

Typical Weather by Season The moderating influence of the Pacific Ocean creates a climate with no great extremes of heat or cold. Any season can bring interesting weather during your visit to Point Reyes National Seashore. Come prepared! Summer: Although there is very little rain during summer months, there is often dense fog. If you are visiting Bear Valley or Tomales Bay, expect patchy morning fog to burn off by mid-day. Afternoons are often sunny and warm with a light breeze. By contrast, the beaches and headlands are often 20 [...]

Elephant Seals at Point Reyes National Seashore

A Brief History of Elephant Seals at Point Reyes After being absent for more than 150 years, northern elephant seals returned to sandy pocket beaches on the south side of the Point Reyes Headlands in the early 1970s. In 1981, the first breeding pair was discovered near Chimney Rock. Between 1988 and 1993, the population grew at a dramatic annual average rate of 32%. Since 1993, the average growth rate has slowed to 8–9% per year. Fanning out from their initial secluded south-facing beaches of the headlands, the seals have [...]

Whale Watching in the Point Reyes National Seashore

Engaging in the longest migration of any mammal, the California gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) swims 10,000 miles each year, spending about one third of its life migrating from the cold, nutrient-rich waters of Alaska, to the warm, shallow lagoons of Baja California. Along the way, these incredible animals can often be seen from the shores of Point Reyes. What drives the gray whale to undertake this incredible annual round trip from Alaska to Baja? Food and reproduction. Jutting 10 miles into the Pacific Ocean, the headlands of the Point Reyes [...]

The Beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes beaches are some of the most dramatic and beautiful in the country. You'll find places to go walking swimming, kayaking, tidepooling, birdwatching, and beachcombing. Many beaches are easily accessible, others you can reach only by hiking. Beaches on the west coast tend to be windswept and dramatic, surf rough and rip currents treacherous. McClures Beach, south of Tomales Point and west of the Pierce Point parking area, has great tidepooling and lots of wildlife including the giant sea anemones. Take care at this beach as the intense surf [...]

Favorite Hikes in the Point Reyes National Seashore

1. ARCH ROCK VIA BEAR VALLEY. A popular trail in Point Reyes National Seashore, it is the most direct route to the ocean from the Bear Valley Visitor Center and an excellent trail for beginners and children. The trail is sheltered from sun, wind and coastal fog as it meanders through mixed Douglas fir forest and along Bear Valley Creek. Arch Rock is an overlook point. (Distance - 8.2 miles; Time - 4 hours; Level of Difficulty - Moderate) 2. TOMALES POINT TRAIL. Open trail through the Tule Elk Range [...]

History of West Marin & Point Reyes National Seashore

The cultural history of Point Reyes reaches back some 5,000 years to the Coast Miwok Indians who were the first human inhabitants of the Peninsula. Over 120 known village sites exist within the park. According to many experts, Sir Francis Drake landed here in 1579, the first European explorer to do so. In response to the many shipwrecks in the treacherous coastal waters, key lighthouse and lifesaving stations were established by the United States Government in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In the early 1800s, Mexican land grantees established [...]

"The national seashore begins 25 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge, and it must drive developers crazy to see it just lying there, virtually empty. Its natural state is a tribute to former President John F. Kennedy, who declared that the peninsula should be saved as a national treasure. He set aside nearly 80,000 acres for public use. The largest town at the edge of the park, Point Reyes Station, consists of a couple of dozen buildings that line both sides of Route 1."

- Washington Post

"Take the roads less traveled on this coastal road trip. From San Francisco, head north to discover secret wine country, driftwood strewn beaches and romantic coastal hamlets like Mendocino. Escape to cosy B&Bs and exclusive inns, paddle along a secret river, watch the horizon for spouting whales and watch the fog roll in at sunset."

- Visit California

"Making the world your oyster in Marshall (www.pointreyes.org/marshall-marin-county.html)
West Marin's coastal landscape, dominated by grazing land, dairy farms and the vast Point Reyes National Seashore, is the antithesis of the county's affluent inland cities. Marshall, at the north end of Tomales Bay, is where Marin's dairy industry started. Today, though, its fortunes rest with mollusks – about half the state's shellfish producers grow oysters, clams and mussels on the bay floor here. Buy them along the road to take home or rent a picnic spot to shuck and grill them yourself (shucking lessons available on request). Or splurge on a night or two in one of the impeccable stilted cottages over the bay water at Nick's Cove, which includes oysters upon arrival and has an oyster bar in the restaurant."

- SF Chronicle

" Stinson Beach, California - As with most West Coast shores, the hunting on Stinson Beach doesn't compare with that along the Gulf. Still, this beach just north of San Francisco does supply limpet shells and sand dollars―plus lots of surfers, a couple of nice seafood restaurants nearby, rugged natural beauty, and endearing small-town quirkiness."

- Coastal Living

From Travel & Leisure Magazine

Sun worshippers ready to escape San Francisco’s foggy wrath tend to fall back on familiar options, like the lovable but insanely crowded Stinson Beach to the north, or Santa Cruz’s classic boardwalk to the south. This Memorial Day, veer ever-so-slightly from the beaten track for these alluring, under-the-radar beach town alternatives:

Marshall

Just 10 miles up the coast from its touristy neighbor Point Reyes Station, Marshall lures locals for its water-to-table fare and panoramic views of Tomales Bay. Watch fisherman haul in buckets of fresh shellfish from your perch on the sprawling deck at Nick’s Cove restaurant, or buy a sack of buttery-briny kumamoto oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co. and shuck them yourself at their bayside BYOP (Bring Your Own Picnic) tables.

Bolinas

Notoriously reclusive residents and unmarked roads deter the masses from Bolinas, leaving its enchanting beach and meandering coastal trails pleasantly void of Memorial Day crowds. Two Mile Surf Shop provides surfboard rentals for cruising the beach break, or trek one of Northern California’s most photogenic coastal hikes by following the Palomarin Trailhead at the end of Mesa Road to the remote and swimmable Bass Lake.