11 Things to do at Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore is a mesmerizing wonderland where rugged cliffs meet the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, hidden lagoons teem with wildlife, and waterfalls fall directly onto the sand. Nestled along the California coast, Point Reyes is captivating with its untamed beauty and countless adventures. I have visited the area frequently, and I wanted to share some of my favorite spots in the national seashore with you in this video. Let me know what I left off in the comments, and let’s jump into it.

Point Reyes Lighthouse

A historic landmark perched on the edge of a rocky cliff, the Point Reyes Lighthouse is a breathtaking sight to behold. It feels like an engineering marvel when you see the lighthouse sitting on its own and the 300 steps you must climb to get down to it. With panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding rugged cliffs, it is a must visit in the park. Be sure to check when it is open, though, as it is often only open 1-2 days a week, and you want to ensure it is open when you go.

Alamere Falls

As one of only a few waterfalls on the Pacific Coast that fall directly onto the beach, Alamere Falls is one of the park’s top attractions. Cascading down a cliff face and into the ocean, these falls are a true marvel of nature. The long 14 hike to reach the falls is an adventure in itself, and the destination is well worth the effort. Check the tide schedules when you hike out there, as you want to avoid getting caught in a high tide.

Chimney Rock

The hike to Chimney Rock is one of the more accessible hikes on this list. However, the payoff at the end feels like something you would hike double the distance for. The mesmerizing panoramic view of the coast, with jagged cliffs and crashing waves in the background, makes it one of those hikes I return to. It is perfect if hiking with a family; make sure to watch your younger children near the steep cliffs in a few sections though.

Tomales Point Trail

For hikers looking for a challenge, Tomales Point Trail is a must-do. Trek through rolling hills and lush farmlands where wildlife such as Tule elk and harbor seals are the stars of the show. When you reach the end, you will be standing out on the point with dramatic coastline views and rarely other people enjoying the views with you. it is a long hike at over 10 miles round trip but it is pretty.

Drakes Beach

Drakes Beach is an amazing spot in the summer to unwind and soak in the sun as you relax at this gorgeous beach. However, one of my favorite times to visit Drakes Beach is when the elephant seals are there, and the beach is actually closed. This is one of the best elephant seal viewing areas as they are right up close to you, and you can stand near the visitor center and observe them. Whenever you visit Drakes Beach you will enjoy it though.

Abbotts Lagoon

Here you can witness the diverse ecosystems that make Point Reyes unique. This serene lagoon is home to various birds and marine life and is perfect for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. There is a nice trail that will take you to an overlook or even out to the beach. If you are a birder, this is where you will want to be in Point Reyes.

Cypress Tree Tunnel

For a dreamy and often photographed experience, head to the Cypress Tree Tunnel, a picturesque path lined with towering cypress trees. It’s a spot you have undoubtedly seen on Instagram, but that doesn’t make it any less memorable. You cannot drive on the road, so you must park along the main drive and walk in. Also, expect there to be lots of other photographers there.

Elephant Seal Overlook

If you visit the park when the elephant seals are there, this overlook is a great way to witness them relaxing on the beach. The overlook is only a short walk from the parking area for Chimney Rock, and even though it is not very close to the shore below, you can still get a pretty decent view. The experience at Drakes Beach is better, though, if you are there when the beach is closed to elephant seals.

Point Reyes Shipwreck

A rusty shipwreck stranded on the shore may seem an unlikely attraction. Still, the Point Reyes Shipwreck, located behind the Inverness Market, is something that many visitors want to see. This quirky landmark is an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts, and witnessing it amidst the ruggedness of the seashore is a fun experience. Don’t wait; the boat degrades more every time I visit.

Pierce Point Ranch

With rolling hills and verdant pastures as far as the eye can see, Pierce Point Ranch is a picturesque slice of rural life. Once a working dairy ranch, this spot is now a window to the past, allowing us to glimpse the historic agricultural heritage that defines the region. If you want to hike to Tomales Point, this is right on the way; if not, you can always go out here to experience the history by itself. You may even see some elk on the drive out.

Point Reyes Beach North & South

For beach lovers, Point Reyes Beach North & South are gems that should not be missed. Miles of sandy shoreline, crystal clear waters, and gentle waves make for a relaxing day in the sun. Soak in the stunning beauty of the coast, and be sure to stay and witness the colorful sunset as the sky transforms into one of the best beach sunsets in California. It is often where I choose to end my visits at Point Reyes National Seashore.

From shipwrecks to ranches to beaches, Point Reyes National Seashore is a treasure trove of adventure. I hope these spots inspire you to explore this remarkable region, and be sure to let me know what I left off in the comments. We will see you on the next video.

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