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Getaway Guide: A Weekend in Point Reyes
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Getaway Guide: A Weekend in Point Reyes

Escape to the coastal utopia of Point Reyes for a weekend, a pristine wilderness rich in natural wonders, and spectacular scenery.

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7 min read

October 23, 2022

Kick off your weekend in Point Reyes, briskly entering vacation mode, as you turn onto Highway 1. A coastal utopia only an hour and a half north of San Francisco awaits in this magnificent region established by John F. Kennedy in 1962. Point Reyes National Seashore is a 5,965-mile protected coastal expanse, rich in spectacular scenery, wildlife, and lush green forests. Home to family-run organic dairy farms and sustainable grass-fed cattle ranches run by fourth-generation owners, the region’s undulating landscape is a picturesque frame taking full advantage of its riches.

Relatively crowd-free, your weekend in Point Reyes can feel rather calm, especially compared to its neighbor to the north, San Francisco. And though you’ll encounter some tourists hiking the trails, circling the beach parking, or having prized oysters in roadside seafood shacks, most times your weekend in Point Reyes will feel as though you have it all to yourself.

Tucked away in the Point Reyes region, Tomales Bay is a shining blue ribbon famous for its prized oysters, clams, and mussels that thrive in its cool waters.  

Where to Stay in Point Reyes

Getting There

The picturesque Cypress Tree Tunnel is a popular natural landmark in Point Reyes that deserves a spot on any Instagram photo feed. 

Getting settled in would be the first step before you hop on the adventure train. Whether you’re looking for destination campgrounds or seeking luxe yet laid-back abodes, the variety of places to stay in Point Reyes is endless. Quaint California homestays and welcoming inns are only the beginning of the accommodations Point Reyes has to offer.

If you’re looking for a relaxing luxurious weekend in Point Reyes, Point Reyes Station Inn is the top choice for travelers seeking to unwind and relax at this zen destination. Drop off your bags and freshen up in the warm company of the fireplace as you sulk in the relaxing atmosphere of the antique guestrooms, overlooking the mesmerizing vistas of Point Reyes landscapes. Enjoy the perks of the inn as it makes your stay downright cozy for you and your partner. Though it might feel difficult to draw yourself away from the relaxation-inducing property, with the strong call of nature, you’ll soon feel compelled to explore the marvels of the region.

There are also a ton of cute B&Bs, cottages, cabins, and hotels to choose from that all embody the quaint coziness of Point Reyes.

Day 1

Leading from the Bear Valley Visitor Center to the spectacular Point Reyes National Seashore coastline, the scenic, 8.2-mile Bear Valley Trail serves as an ideal introduction to the region's natural wonders. 

Afternoon

Once you’ve settled in, hop on over to Cafe Reyes for a quick and yummy bite. And with a good night’s rest and a satiated belly, venture on a six-minute drive to Bear Valley Visitor Center, where friendly rangers wait to help you make the most of your time in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Wander through the ecological and historical exhibits to learn more about the region before hitting the trails. We recommend grabbing a map from the visitor center, as the cell services can be a little iffy in this remote expanse.

With numerous pathways to explore, a therapeutic feeling sneaks in as you slowly start embracing this adventure wholeheartedly and disconnect from the outside world. Allow the peace to set in during your weekend in Point Reyes as you quiet the mind and open the doors to your heart. Embrace traversing in time as you read the paper map while trekking this captivating wilderness.

Is Point Reyes Lighthouse Open?

When you visit the national seashore later this fall, drive down the road to the Point Reyes Lighthouse and Visitor Center. This 16-sided, the 35-foot-tall tower is a famed regional landmark built in 1870. The lighthouse is open every day, excluding holidays, from 6 am until 12 am, giving you basically all day and night to visit the gorgeous site. Great for whale watching, especially during the winter months, ensure ample time to visit this cool lighthouse when you're planning your weekend in Point Reyes - and dress for the weather.

The historic Point Reyes Lighthouse is the shining beacon of the gorgeous region, offering restored facilities after its $5 million renovation is complete this fall. 

 

If you have the time, a 30-minute drive will take you to Drakes Beach and it’s the perfect way to seal the afternoon. Sheltered by white sandstone cliffs, this four-mile-wide swath of sand has been a longtime favorite among Point Reyes visitors. And with the government shutdown in 2018 which resulted in the park rangers being unable to access the property, and a colony of elephant seals taking over the vacant Point Reyes seashores, the fame of this spot has reached new highs. As you make your way to and from Drakes Beach, keep an eye out for Tule Elk, which can be spotted in the area on occasion. Linger until the sun starts to sink into the horizon, and soak up the kaleidoscopic scenery of the sunset.

Evening

After spending a good deal of time in nature, all you need is a little freshening up before you hit the town. With comforting and popular dishes from Point Reyes Roadhouse, retreat to your home away from home and lounge in front of the fireplace or your suite as you reminisce about the first day of your weekend in Point Reyes.

What to Do in Point Reyes?

Carve some time out of your day to visit the cute mom-and-pop shops and indoor farmers market of Point Reyes to find precious gems you couldn’t get elsewhere.

Day 2

Kick off the day with a strong cup of organic coffee and a handcrafted pastry from Bovine Bakery, one of the most beloved culinary destinations in Point Reyes Station. 

Morning

Rise and shine to continue your weekend in Point Reyes as you join the morning line at Bovine Bakery. Situated in Point Reyes Station, this nearly 30-year-old establishment is the go-to spot for locals needing a strong cup of coffee and a handmade pastry to power their days on the trail or at the beach. While you won’t find any espresso here, you will find everything from fresh-baked pain au chocolat and savory croissants, to orange-chocolate scones and fluffy blueberry-banana muffins. Coffee in hand, wander around the rest of Point Reyes Station - the main hub offering a collection of family-owned eateries, a renowned bookstore, a yoga studio, and a handful of boutiques.


After that, it’s time to leave civilization behind and continue your Point Reyes day trip by heading down to Tomales Bay State Park. A 15-min ride down from Point Reyes Station, this 2,000-acre expanse boasts a handful of easy-going hiking trails. Bask in spectacular ocean views leading through sweeps of coastal oak trees, across lush meadows, and past herds of Tule Elk. Walking 2 miles from Jepson Trailhead, the path turns sandy and you’ll have arrived at Heart’s Desire Beach. Tucked away on the eastern edge of the Point Reyes National Seashore, the pristine stretch of sand and a small patch of lawn make this scenic hideaway perfect for enjoying a picnic. So, pull out your Cowgirl Creamery Mt Tam cheese, artisanal charcuterie, and a sourdough loaf to reward your efforts.

Tomales Bay State Park is a prime place to view Tule elk, which were reintroduced to the Point Reyes region in 1978 after nearly being hunted to extinction back in the 1860s.

Afternoon

Whenever oyster hour calls—and by the sheer force of simply being in Tomales Bay, it inevitably will—go get your fix. There’s a reason these waters are home to buttery Kumamotos and smoky-sweet Pacifics; not to mention prized salmon and halibut and schools of anchovies. It’s called upwelling: when nutrient-packed, cold, deep water rises and replaces warmer shallow waters, creating a diverse, healthy marine and wildlife ecosystem. 

Get a taste for yourself on your way back from Tomales as you score a hand-carved wooden seat on the heated patio at Saltwater Oyster Depot in Inverness. Enjoy a serving of broiled bivalves with fermented Fresno chiles and roasted tomatoes in a white wine sauce.


After eating to your heart’s content, head to Limantour Beach to walk off your mid-day snack. The soft ribbon of sand makes this picturesque spot ideal for exploring. Once you muster the strength to pull yourself away from this beautiful slice of paradise, slowly make your way back to the inn to get ready for the fun things coming ahead.

Evening

Spend the last night of your weekend in Point Reyes at the Station House Cafe. A Point Reyes classic, the lively restaurant dishes up delectable New American fare starring sustainably grown, organic ingredients sourced from local businesses. Sit out on the lush garden patio and kick off the evening with an artisanal drink and an order of local mussels. Pro tip: allow the slices of toasted rustic bread to soak up the rich broth spiked with saffron and white wine.

End the meal on a sweet note with the warm apple-blueberry crisp or with the indulgent brownie sundae complete with whipped cream, hot fudge, and caramel sauce. Linger a bit longer to enjoy rockin’ live tunes and a nightcap before bidding adieu to Point Reyes Station.

Day 3

Morning

Upon waking in this fascinating NorCal destination, you definitely won’t feel ready to leave and return to reality. If you want to make the most of your remaining hours in Point Reyes, pull yourself from the plush bed, pack your bags, and hit the road for a bit of an adventure. Heading to Alamere Falls, a majestic 40-foot-tall waterfall that cascades down towering ocean bluffs can be the best way to end your weekend in Point Reyes.


Be sure to take care of your wardrobe in advance and slip on appropriate shoes to make your downward hike easier. Though the hike is roughly 14 miles long, it is well worth the effort. Take in the spectacular scenery as you walk past seasonal wildflowers and verdant grasses along the coastal pathway. Watching the rushing water tumble down the cliffs and flow into the wide-open ocean is nothing short of blissful. Spend your final moments in Point Reyes soaking up the magnificent frame as you take a deep breath and embrace the refreshing breeze blowing around you. Listen to the soothing sound of the crashing waves, and carry the feeling home with you.

On the way home, make a pit stop at Alamere Falls to witness the rushing water cascade down the 40-foot-tall coastal bluffs. 

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