Today your destination is Point Reyes National Seashore, located about 1.5 hrs north of San Francisco. We selected the best spots in this large geographic area to give you an immersive experience in just one day.

Highlights

  • Admire the Tule Elks at the Tomales Point Elk Reserve
  • Learn to shuck some oysters at the Hog Island Oyster farm
  • Explore the historic small town of Point Reyes Station

With a 10-mile round trip hike planned for today, it's best to get an early start. Take the scenic Highway 1 from San Francisco to Point Reyes Station. This small town is the gateway to the peninsula and a common stop for the many cyclists, motorcyclists, and visitors to the area. 

Make a quick stop at Cowgirl Creamery to pick up a few provisions to enjoy on your hike.  The creamery is housed in a large hay barn in the middle of town. While here, you may catch a glimpse of the cheese-making in action, or taste a sample.  Pick up some of their popular cheeses and a loaf of fresh bread or sandwich from the deli.

Cowgirl Creamery (Photo courtesy of Cowgirl Creamery)

 You are going to start exploring the National Seashore  today with the Tule Elk Reserve on Tomales Point, at the northern tip of the national park. To get there, get back on  the road and continue about 30 minutes to the Tomales Point trailhead. The trail starts at the historic Pierce Point Ranch, which is worth a visit. 

The hike is one of the best in the Bay Area: you will encounter rolling hills, coastal views, and amazing vistas,  and you will quickly come across the Tule Elks galloping and grazing against this beautiful backdrop. These magnificent animals were almost hunted to extinction in the late 1800s. The state moved 2 bulls and 8 cows onto the reserve in 1978, and over the past 40 years, the elk population has dramatically increased. At the last count in 2009, there were over 400 Elks, making this one of the largest herds in California. Three miles into the hike you will arrive at a small lake, often a great spot for viewing elks.  

Tule Elks at Stock Pond
Tule Elks at Stock Pond (Photo courtesy of National Park Service)


The final mile of the hike is on the sand, but the effort will be worth it when you arrive at an amazing view of the bluffs at the end of Tomales Point. Take some photos and enjoy your lunch as you admire the view over the picturesque beach.  Hike back to your car, but save some energy, the day is not over yet!


Hog Island Oyster Company awaits on the opposite side of Tomales Bay, a 45-minute drive away. Hog Island was founded by 2 marine biologist and has been raising oysters in Tomales Bay since 1983.  This farm is an iconic stop, known for its sustainability practices and the fresh, delicious oysters.  If you are visiting on the weekend, reserve ahead for one of the popular picnic tables at the farm.  You will be able to buy fresh oysters and all the equipment you need to shuck them (someone there can teach you the proper technique). 

Hog Island Oyster Farm
Hog Island Oyster Farm (Photo courtesy of Hog Island Oyster Company)


Have more time?
You can easily extend this trip into a weekend or overnight, and spend some more time soaking up the atmosphere at Point Reyes Station.  Alternatively, you could see more wildlife with a kayak rental from Blue Waters Kayaking. Paddle into Tomales Bay where you will spot many seals, otters, and local bird species.

Looking for more day trip ideas? Check out kimkim's top 10 day trips in the Bay Area



Map route

 

Map

Yenyi
Written by Yenyi Fu, updated Apr 23, 2020