Point Reyes Day Trip Itinerary: The Perfect Weekend Adventure

Are you planning on visiting Point Reyes and wondering what exactly there is to do in this little unsuspecting area? You’re in the right place.

Being a Bay Area native, I’ve been to Point Reyes four times now and have explored the heck out of the area. The result of all my experiences? This exciting itinerary that I get to share with you!

If you’re ready for a day filled with local culture, coastal scenery, rolling hills, wildlife, oysters, and cheesy goodness, then this is the Point Reyes day trip itinerary for you!

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WHAT IS POINT REYES KNOWN FOR?

On a small stretch of land above the San Francisco Bay sits a little hidden gem of an area called the Point Reyes National Seashore. This area is famous for its picturesque lighthouse, epic hiking trails, fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities, and the unmissable chance to gorge on local cheeses and oysters.

Once you cross the Inverness Ridge toward the Point Reyes headlands, you’ll enter a world of rolling hills and coastal grasslands dotted with cattle and scattered ranches.

In a geographical nutshell, Point Reyes is the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place in all of North America.

This might sound daunting (as these conditions have made it a difficult area to sail in the past), but it’s really not like that all the time. In fact, it’s a really cool place to visit almost any time, honestly!

The Point Reyes National Seashore is probably most famous for its historic lighthouse. First lit in 1870, the lighthouse stands over 600 feet above sea level on a rocky outcropping ledge. When in town, you definitely can’t miss a visit to this landmark.

Point Reyes Lighthouse - Point Reyes Day Trip Itinerary

IS POINT REYES WORTH VISITING?

Yes, Point Reyes is 100% worth visiting! I’ve been to the Point Reyes area four separate times now, and I’ll never get sick of the wildlife viewing opportunities, coastal views, rolling hills, seasonal wildflowers, and delicious food!

The Point Reyes National Seashore is great for travelers looking to spend a day outdoors. You’ll have a very relaxing time hiking the trails and relaxing on the beaches–even just driving through the park is lovely!

Aside from outdoor pursuits at Point Reyes National Seashore and Tomales Bay State Park, there are several cute little communities to explore and fabulous food to enjoy.

You might wonder with all there is to do, is one day enough to see it all? As with most places, I like to say the more time you have, the better.

While you can certainly see a good chunk of Point Reyes in just one day (this post will be a 1-day itinerary), there are some huge benefits of spending the night in the area.

Not only will you be able to experience the national seashore during sunset, but you’ll also get the chance to stay in some pretty charming hotels/B&Bs!

You could spend multiple days taking things slow, exploring the seashore, enjoying the different towns in the region, and just relaxing in the gorgeous area.


WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE?

The seasons in Point Reyes are weird because you’re basically going to have to reverse your weather expectations.

  • Winter weather is nice and sunny
  • Summer weather can be foggy and cold
  • Spring and Fall seasons usually see the ‘best’ weather, meaning light fog and warm temperatures

Winter (from December to March) is known as the high season. It’s the best time to go for less fog, sunnier weather, migrating whales, and the ample elephant seal sightings you’ll find in the park.

During the high season, you can even get away with not wearing a jacket in Point Reyes–which can be harder to do in the summer months.

During these winter months, there tend to be more visitors, meaning you may need to take a shuttle bus from the visitor center to the lighthouse (as opposed to driving since parking and traffic congestion can be a problem). If you’re not early, be prepared for crowds and a wait for the shuttle that operates from Drakes Beach to the lighthouse area.

And on the flip side, summer is known to have thick, dense fog which brings cooler temperatures on the beaches and headlands. Despite the cooler temperatures and lack of sun, summer can still be a great time to visit if you want to see Point Reyes from a more moody, foggy perspective. It’s honestly kind of cool to experience!

And obviously, because you’re talking about the California coast here, it’s best to be prepared for totally unpredictable weather no matter what month you visit in. The best plan of action is to be prepared for any type of weather, dress in layers, and be flexible with your itinerary.

Save any indoor sightseeing for rainy or foggy moments of your trip, and hit the trails/beaches when the fog burns off and the weather is sunny and bright!

And as a general rule of thumb, a weekday visit will be much less crowded than a weekend visit! If you’re not into crowds, aim to visit on a weekday or arrive early on a weekend.

For our weekend day trips, we like to be in the Point Reyes Station area by 9am. Arriving at this time is perfect because the majority of other visitors have not yet arrived and we tend to have the park (nearly) all to ourselves!

Not only is the morning a great time to visit because of the lack of people, but it also means the cows are still out and moseying about. The morning lighting is also great, and you’ll also be able to enjoy the peace and quietness of the empty trails!


HOW TO GET TO POINT REYES, CALIFORNIA

The best way to get to Point Reyes is by driving. From the city of San Francisco, Point Reyes is just a 1 to 1.5-hour drive–depending on how bad traffic is at the time of your departure.

We always recommend getting an early start. Not only does it mean beating traffic getting out of the city and/or the Bay Area, but it also means you’re going to be able to enjoy a less hectic, crowded version of the Point Reyes area! Also note that a lot of the Point Reyes / Inverness area is serviced by just one-lane roads, so a later start means more traffic to deal with.

From SF, you will be going across the Golden Gate Bridge and eventually connect to Hwy 1 to the Point Reyes National Seashore. The drive is absolutely beautiful, so don’t fall asleep on the drive!

Aside from crossing the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, you’re going to be passing through the wonderful rainbow-arched Robin Williams Tunnel, redwood forests, and rolling hills, as well as weaving in and out of the small towns that make up Marin County!

Do note that the roads do end up getting a bit windy on the way up to Point Reyes, so be sure to drive safely and adhere to speed limits.

We witnessed a really bad 1-car accident on the way up there (a couple was obviously driving too fast in their fancy car and completely totaled their car)!

ARE YOU ROAD TRIP READY? YOUR QUICK CHECKLIST:

License and registration | This is a no-brainer, but always good to check you have all documents before it’s too late and you get too far away from home. Do NOT leave home without them. They are road trip essentials!

Spare Tire | In addition to carrying a spare tire with you, don’t forget to check your current tire conditions before you set off as well.

Jumper Cables / Car Jump Starter | A must-have for any road trip! If you’re looking to invest in something exponentially more powerful/convenient than simple jumper cables, get the NOCO Boost HD Car Battery Jump Starter Box. This tool was sent from heaven and serves as a car jump starter, portable power bank, LED flashlight, and 12-volt portable power–all in one!

iOttie car mount | This is my partner in crime on any road trip. It’s got an amazing grip and popping your phone in and out of the mount could not be easier. If you’re renting a rental car and you’re not sure if it has a navigation screen, bring a phone mount with you. The iOttie attaches by suction, so it’s easy to transport from car to car.

Roadside Emergency Kit | You never know what kind of car trouble you may encounter on the road. This convenient little kit contains 42 roadside emergency components, including jumper cables, an aluminum flashlight and batteries, 2-in-1 screwdriver, duct tape, poncho, cable ties, bandages, towelettes, and zipper-lock bags.

Trunk Organizer | With any road trip comes lots and lots of stuff to pack. Keep your road trip essentials organized with a trunk organizer. Not only will this make it so much easier to find what you need, but it will also lead to more space in your trunk for you to pack other necessities.

Portable Cooler | Coolers are a must for any road trip. Not only will you be able to keep beverages cold and refreshing, but you will also be able to keep perishables fresh. A portable hard cooler will allow you to pack picnic lunches, bring cheese and jams, and more.


POINT REYES 1-DAY ITINERARY

You’ve filled up your water bottle, packed your cooler, grabbed your jacket, sunglasses, and hat–and now you’re ready to hit the road. Let’s get your Point Reyes road trip started!

Make a pit stop at Point Reyes Station

Point Reyes Station is a small town located just outside of Point Reyes National Seashore. It makes for the perfect stop to get a good body stretch in, pick up food, use the restrooms, or top up on gas before heading into the park.

If you arrive early in the morning (like before 9am), chances are not a lot of the businesses will be open aside from a few bakeries, coffee shops, and markets. That’s okay, because we’ll be returning here later in the day to walk around and explore.

Point Reyes Station Town - Point Reyes Day Trip Itinerary

Pick up pastries at Brickmaiden Breads

If you enjoy visiting little bakeries during your road trips, you’re going to want to make your first stop Brickmaiden Breads. Their pastries are next level!

We ordered a cappuccino, a passion fruit mascarpone tart, and a ham and cheese croissant. Everything was delicious, but the ham and cheese croissant was the star of our haul for sure. Such a strong cheese taste, in the best way possible!

After stuffing that magical croissant in our bellies on the trails, we were definitely craving for more! (Even as I write this, I am daydreaming about my next opportunity to eat their croissant again. Such cheesy goodness.)

If nothing here suits your fancy, you can head to Bovine Bakery right down the block instead. A lot of people recommend Bovine Bakery, but I personally think the pastries at Brickmaiden Breads are more complex and artisanal (and if it means anything to you, I consider myself a croissant connoisseur).

Pick up picnic supplies at the farmers market

If it happens to be a Saturday morning in the summertime, do not miss the Point Reyes Farmer’s Market at Toby’s Feed Barn. Now is a good time to pick up any cheeses, sandwiches, or other picnicking supplies for your journey into the Point Reyes National Seashore!

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Alternatively, if the farmers market is not running, head on over to Palace Market to pick up your picnic supplies. This is a huge market that basically caters to travelers looking to explore the Point Reyes area.

You’ll find all types of local cheeses, materials to have your own oyster-shucking party, as well as all kinds of prepared food in the back of the market (sandwiches, cold pastas, appetizers, etc.). Don’t forget to pick up a few drinks and a bag of chips for your picnic party before heading to the checkout line.

Stop by the Bear Valley Visitor Center

Bear Valley Visitor Center is the main visitor center at Point Reyes National Seashore. It’s located along Bear Valley Road just a bit west of Olema and is a great first stop at the park, especially if you’re a first-timer.

At the Visitor Center, you can get current information on the status of trails and learn about any road or weather-related closures in the park, which can occur at any moment’s notice here. You can also chat with the staff members on trail suggestions, not-to-be-missed seasonal sights, and more.

You can also check out the various exhibits in the visitor center to learn about the many ecosystems in the park, as well as about the area’s diverse flora and fauna. You’ll also learn all about the native peoples that inhabited the area (Coast Miwok) before the arrival of the Europeans.

Along with a bookstore, there are also restrooms and picnic tables for public use. Bear Valley Visitor Center is typically open every day from 9:30 am to 5 pm.

Visit the Cypress Tree Tunnel

The Point Reyes Cypress Tree Tunnel is a famous road that is defined by the beautiful, arching cypress trees that create just the most picturesque tunnel ever. It’s quite easily one of the most photographed places in all of Point Reyes.

At the end of the road is a radio station building called the Historic Receiving Station, which you can actually visit on most Saturdays throughout the year and experience sending and receiving Morse code and radiograms!

Do try to visit this stop earlier in the day so you can get the best shots with the least amount of people. You won’t want to forget your camera for this one!

Cypress Tree Tunnel - Point Reyes 1 Day Itinerary

Hike Chimney Rock Trail or Tomales Point Trail

Hiking is one of the most leisurely and picturesque activities you could do in Point Reyes National Seashore. The trails here are relaxing, scenic, and not too strenuous at all.

If you only have the time and energy to do one hike, depending on the season, I like to recommend one of two hikes–the Chimney Rock Trail or the Tomales Point Trail. During the summer, I like the Tomales Point Trail. During the spring/winter, I like the Chimney Rock Trail.

Because of the short/adjustable length of these hikes, on most trips, I end up doing both. Before we dive into each of them, I’d like to say that if you have time for both hikes, you should try to fit both in!

Chimney Rock Trail - Point Reyes 1 Day Itinerary
Chimney Rock Trail views in the summertime!

Chimney Rock Trail

Chimney Rock is one of my two favorite trails of the entire area. Not only is it a really short and easy hike (meaning it’s great for the whole family), but the views are absolutely stunning.

This out-and-back hike clocks in at just 1.9 miles and depending on how fast you walk, will take you 40 to 60 minutes to complete.

This hike is especially beautiful in the winter/spring months when the grass becomes super lush and green. The pop in color will immediately make you feel like you stepped into the Irish countryside!

On a clear day when the skies are blue, you’ll be able to see miles and miles of pure open ocean. If you stare out long enough, you may even see a whale or two passing through!

Another really cool thing about this hike is the opportunity to see elephant seals. They are there most times of the year, but in the winter and spring, you also be able to hear the elephant seals mating (which in all honesty, sounds like women screaming).

Elephant Seal Lookout on Chimney Rock Trail  Point Reyes

The Tomales Point Trail (Tule Elk Preserve)

The Tomales Point Trail also deserves a spot on your Point Reyes itinerary because it features jaw-dropping views every step of the way. While the full out-and-back trail is 9.4 miles round trip and leads to the tip of Tomales Point, note that the final stretch is not maintained and many people turn around before that point.

Again, because this is an out-and-back trail, you can adjust this hike to be as long or as short as you want!

This trail is famous for its wildlife viewing opportunities–namely, the tule elk! During one of my summer day trips to Point Reyes, my family and I saw enough tule elk to last a lifetime. Don’t be afraid if they’re on or near the trail, they’ll mostly be grazing and minding their own business.

So how did these elk come to be? In the late 1970s, two bull elk and eight females were introduced into a fenced part of Tomales Point near Pierce Point Ranch. This area became known as the Tule Elk Preserve and is now home to several hundred elk.

Hiking this trail in the winter and spring? Keep an eye out for birds and whales spouting in the water.

Tule Elk Preserve - Point Reyes 1 Day Itinerary

See the Point Reyes Lighthouse

After your hike, pull out that pastry, sandwich, or picnic you packed earlier and enjoy a few bites to eat before moving on to the next stop–the Point Reyes Lighthouse!

The Point Reyes Lighthouse is easily one of the most famous lighthouses in all of California. It’s got a really significant history and was a much-needed addition to the Point Reyes Peninsula.

Why? Because shipwrecks were occurring left and right in this area. Remember when I said Point Reyes is infamous for fog and wind? Not good for sailing ships in the olden times!

The Point Reyes Lighthouse is located at the westernmost point of the Point Reyes Headlands. It was built in 1870 and served its duty for 105 years until 1975, when a new automatic light was installed.

At the lighthouse, you’ll have the chance to learn all about the significance of the Point Reyes Lighthouse as well as get a feel for what life was like at the lighthouse (hint hint: lonely and stressful).

Once you park at the lighthouse parking lot, you’re going to need to walk some distance to get down to the actual lighthouse. But don’t worry, there are some really cool things to see along the way!

After parking in the lighthouse parking lot, take a short walk to South Beach Overlook for some amazing coastal views. Once you’re done snapping some panoramic pictures with your camera, continue walking towards the lighthouse. It’s a light and gradual uphill, but a very doable walk.

South Beach Overlook Point Reyes National Seashore

Along the way, be sure to stop and soak in the views of the famous leaning trees! Since Point Reyes is known for its seasonal heavy winds, a few of the trees in the area have actually started growing sideways! You can literally see the power of the wind manifested in the leaning trees.

Leaning Trees at Point Reyes Lighthouse

To get to the lighthouse, you’re going to have to walk down 313 steps. And while it might not be hard going down the stairs, if you or someone in your group doesn’t do well with climbing lots of stairs, it may be best to just enjoy the visitor center and observation deck, both of which are located at the top and fully accessible (no stair climbing required).

Do note that the stairs down to the lighthouse may be closed if you’re visiting on a day where strong winds are present.

When you do get down to the lighthouse, take a few moments to soak in all the cool sights and sounds of your surroundings–from the actual lighthouse artifacts to the picturesque rocky coast.

See the Point Reyes Shipwreck

Point Reyes is infamous for its treacherous coastlines, often shrouded by fog and amplified by fierce waves and even fiercer winds. Sadly over the past hundreds of years, the Point Reyes Peninsula has claimed many ships and lives.

In fact, shipwrecks had been all too common in this region since 1595, the first recorded shipwreck.

Navigating around the headlands was much safer once the lighthouse was constructed in 1870, but this didn’t completely stop them from happening.

So when in Point Reyes, it only makes sense to witness this history for yourself. To see a “shipwreck” with your own eyes, head to the S.S. Point Reyes Shipwreck in Inverness, CA.

Point Reyes Shipwreck -The Perfect Point Reyes Day Trip Itinerary

The history of this boat is not as menacing or sad as you might think! The boat was not a result of some devastating storm or anything like that–it simply needed repairs but (like most side projects) the owner kept pushing it off. Local photographers and day-trippers started visiting more and more frequently, and from there, the boat has turned into a famous landmark!

This boat has been here ever since I first visited Point Reyes back in 2013, and though it’s way more popular now than it was back in the day, it’s still as beautiful as ever!

To get here, simply type in “Point Reyes Shipwreck” into your Google Maps and it’ll take you to a small parking lot by a grocery store next to the famous shipwreck.

You can park in the grocery store parking lot and walk a few yards to the left of the lot to see the rusty yet majestic boat in the Tomales Bay sandbar. Depending on the water level, you may or may not be able to get right up to the boat but it makes for a very unique pit stop nonetheless!

Before heading out, pop into the market for a re-up on anything you need. I was surprised to find how well-stocked this store was–so many different types of refreshments!

Pick up oysters at Tomales Bay Oyster Company

At this point, you’ll have seen a good amount of cool stuff that Point Reyes offers. It’s now time to enjoy another iconic activity in the area–shucking and eating freshly-farmed oysters!

Drive out of the park and over to the Tomales Bay Oyster Company for some of the freshest (and most affordable oysters in the area). Since we had packed in our cooler everything we needed for our very own oyster party, we only needed to buy a few dozen oysters to enjoy.

You should bring your own cooler (otherwise they charge $10 for a cardboard cooler). They’ll provide you with ice to keep your oysters fresh. If you don’t have your own shucking knife, hot sauce, lemons, or other condiments, Tomales Bay Oyster Company does sell them.

Since picnicking is no longer allowed here due to the county not allowing picnicking permits anymore, you’re going to have to drive to a nearby park or picnicking area to enjoy your fresh oysters. A few spots with picnic tables that I recommend you take your oysters include:

  • Point Reyes Station
  • Olema Campground
  • Hearts Desire Beach
  • Shell Beach

However, because we personally wanted to crack right into our Golden Nugget oysters without having to drive miles and miles, we pulled over after seeing the first parking lot we spotted–right at Millerton Point–less than 2 miles away from the oyster farm.

Because it was just Papu and I, we just parked in the parking lot, popped open the trunk of our van, and started shucking right then and there! Quick and dirty, that’s just how we roll!

We ended up eating half of our bounty and saving the other half to enjoy at home later that night with a decadent homemade garlic butter sauce!

Alternative: Eat a late lunch at a restaurant

Alternatively, you can stop by one of the many restaurants in the area for shucked-for-you oysters! Do note that these oysters will cost you more than if you were to visit an oyster farm, buy them, and shuck them yourself!

Hog Island Oyster Company is a very popular option (they also have a few other locations in SF, Marin County, and even Sonoma). You can head here for a late lunch, or opt for a picnic table reservation so you can shuck your own oysters and even grill them onsite!

Be forewarned, reservations for picnic tables fill up weeks in advance, so if you’re reading this post early enough, do try to make those reservations as early as possible.

Not into oysters? Totally okay. They have other delicious foods too.

Try mead at Heidrun Meadery

After getting your fill of food, it’s time to get a taste of something so incredibly unique to Point Reyes–sparkling mead at Heidrun Meadery!

That’s right, you can actually drink mead, just like how they used to do it in medieval times, right here in Point Reyes.

For those of you unfamiliar (don’t worry, I also had no idea what mead was made out of)–mead is essentially alcohol made of fermented honey instead of grapes.

The tasting room is filled with lots of honey products and other bee-related products, which only made sense to me after the lady who poured our drinks explained what mead was to us! It all made sense at that point.

Now unlike traditional mead, Heidrun makes a sparkling mead in the traditional French Methode Champenoise, which is incredibly unique. While you’re here, definitely get a glass or even a tasting flight to try out for yourself!

Once you’ve been handed your glasses, head outdoors to their large, grassy picnicking area and grab a seat. Walk around to the back of the barn and you’ll even find a few boxes of bees buzzing!

All in all, we had a wonderful experience trying something completely new at Heidrun Meadery. This is a fun alternative to wine tasting if you’re up for it. On top of that, you’ll likely learn something new about mead and how it’s made!

Take a stroll around town

If you had arrived at Point Reyes Station too early in the morning for any of the local businesses to be open, now is your chance to actually enjoy the little town!

What you’ll find is that Point Reyes Station is full of artisan galleries and local boutiques where you can shop art, clothing, home decor, and more.

Toby’s Feed Barn is a lot of fun to walk around (they sell way, way more than feed). Here you’ll find gourmet food items, home decor items, clothing, soaps and lotions, and even an art gallery! They even have a wonderful little coffee nook on the side of the building.

Grab something cheesy at Cowgirl Creamery

If you’ve still got room in your belly for more, I recommend making a stop at Cowgirl Creamery Barn Shop & Cantina–serving up both delicious cheese and cheese-related food items.

Point Reyes Station is where the Cowgirl Creamery dream began. It’s the home to their first, and still operating, creamery! Californians love their cheese products, that’s for sure!

Grab yourself a decadent grilled cheese or simply pick up a few wedges of cheese to bring home with you.

Do note, they are open from Friday – Monday, 11am – 4pm. If you want to try Cowgirl Creamery on your itinerary, you’ll have to be mindful of time, and even possibly switch things around to visit before they close!

On our last trip, we arrived at 4:30pm and they were sadly closed for the day.

Get a cup of buffalo soft serve

What better way to round out your day in Point Reyes than with a heaping cup of water buffalo gelato soft serve? If you’ve never heard of water buffalo gelato, that’s okay, I didn’t either–until I stumbled upon such magic in the back of a supermarket!

It’ll be the best cone you’ll ever have from a butcher counter at the back of a grocery store.

To get a cup for yourself, head back into Palace Market. Head to the cashier to pay for a cup of buffalo soft serve (choose between small or large). Then, head to the back of the market to the meat counter with your receipt in hand. Show your receipt to the worker, and BOOM, enjoy one of the most creamy cups of soft-serve you’ll ever have!

At this point, use the bathroom one last time, pick up any last-minute gifts or drinks, and hit the road. It’s time to head back to your hotel or back home to finally relax after the fun-filled, jam-packed day!


HAVE MORE TIME? OTHER ACTIVITIES NEARBY POINT REYES

  • Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company – This spot is located a few miles out of town, but definitely worth the short drive if you love cheese! If the farm tours are being offered when you visit, definitely don’t miss it. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about how their famous cheeses are made. Also don’t miss their Cheese Lovers Tasting Experience ($45 a person)! Or simply dine at the onsite restaurant, The Fork, offering a menu showcasing their famous cheeses and other fresh local ingredients.
  • Hike Alamere Falls – Alamere Falls is a coastal waterfall at the southwestern end of Point Reyes National Seashore. It is a tide falls, a waterfall that flows directly into the ocean. If you wish to do this 14-mile round trip out-and-back hike, be prepared–it’s a long one! Not very difficult, just long. The payoff (seeing the sheer size of Alamere Falls at the end) is well worth it!
  • Kayak Tomales Bay – The calm and scenic waters of Tomales Bay are ideal for kayaking, especially on a bright sunny day! Tomales Bay is 15 miles long, with multiple kayak and SUP launching areas. You can find kayak and SUP rentals at Point Reyes Station, at the head of the bay.
  • Walk From Limantour Beach To Sculptured Beach – If you are looking for a beautiful and relaxing walk on the beach, start at Limantour Beach and walk south along the beach for about 2 miles to Sculptured Beach. Because the sand is packed, this makes it easy to walk on. Both beach areas boast gorgeous coastal views, perfect for picnicking!
  • Laguna and Coast Trail Loop – To avoid the crowds but still experience the beauty of Point Reyes’ coastal hills, give this easy 5-mile loop hike a try. This one features coastal scrub, sprawling grasslands, and epic coastal views.

WHERE TO STAY IN POINT REYES, CALIFORNIA

If you are looking to spend the night, there are a ton of great accommodation options both in Point Reyes as well as in neighboring towns in Marin County.

Below are some of the best hotels, bed & breakfasts, and campgrounds in the Point Reyes area.

Olema House

Courtesy of Booking.com

Olema House is hands-down the best luxury hotel in the area. It’s situated right between Bolinas and Point Reyes Station, just a 15-minute walk to Point Reyes National Seashore. If you’re looking for that quintessential rustic countryside retreat, this hotel really needs to be on your bucket list.

But don’t just take my word for it! Olema House was actually named not only the Top Hotel in Northern California but also the Top Hotel in the US in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards for 2020!

In addition to the beautifully designed rooms and stylish common areas, there is also an on-site farm-to-table restaurant and bar that dates back to 1865.

Nick’s Cove

Did you know that this popular oyster bar and restaurant also features luxurious cottages you can stay in overnight too? Nick’s Cove is located in Marshall, California not too far away from Point Reyes.

Along with your stay, you’ll get a gourmet continental breakfast prepared and delivered to your cottage daily.

Each room has unique features such as wood-burning stoves, rustic wood furnishings, red and green accents, or deep clawfoot tubs. Some even overlook the water and showcase Hog Island views. Each spacious cottage also features heated tile floors and includes cozy terry robes for use!

One of the best features of your stay will of course be the restaurant! You can enjoy the locally sourced oysters in a fine dining, yet casual atmosphere, then follow it up with a drink or two at the bustling bar area!

Private Treetop Cabin

Point Reyes Private Cabin - Where To Stay In Point Reyes CA

This private treetop cabin is the vacation home rental for the couple that wants to feel like they are a million miles away in total privacy yet close to everything.

The cabin enjoys absolute privacy as it is located at the very end of a street on 2 private acres surrounded by the National Seashore. The home is located in a flat area of Point Reyes, yet elevated in the treetops, making it very sunny and bright with panoramic views of the National Park.

Though you’ll feel like you are miles away from civilization, you are conveniently located 1 mile from downtown Point Reyes and 2 miles from the village of Inverness.

Guests are also provided with tennis racquets and tennis balls and the key to a private tennis court 2 miles away.

Fox Lodge in Point Reyes/Inverness

Courtesy of VRBO

Fox Lodge is perfect for larger groups looking for a private, rustic experience to pair with their Point Reyes adventures. This 4 bedroom / 3 bathroom house is situated on the Inverness Ridge overlooking the Olema Valley.

Truly a home away from home, this modern, charming and rustic home is perfect for people who love staying in as much as they love exploring the outdoors. It’s the ideal stay for families or couples who want the luxury of an exclusive inn, but the size and privacy of a large home.

One of the best things in this house is definitely the kitchen–an open, true California-style kitchen with a wrap-around sunny breakfast nook loaded with pillows and cushions to seat ten for coffee and snacks!


WHERE TO EAT IN POINT REYES

  • Hog Island Oyster Company
  • Tony’s Seafood Restaurant
  • Nick’s Cove
  • Saltwater Oyster Depot
  • Side Street Kitchen
  • Cowgirl Creamery
  • Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company

ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR POINT REYES

  • Dress in layers and expect any type of element from rain, wind, fog, clouds, and sunshine–all in one day.
  • Point Reyes is the windiest and foggiest place on the west coast, especially during the summer. Be sure to check the weather forecast and even use the Point Reyes Beach live webcam to check visibility on the coast.
  • Since you’ll probably be hiking on some trails, make sure to wear sturdy shoes with traction, a hat, and sunscreen.
  • While in the Point Reyes National Seashore area, you will most likely not have phone service. Make sure you’ve downloaded your maps app to work offline. Or go the old-fashioned route and pick up a map at the visitor center!
  • Plan your trip for midweek or plan to arrive early in the morning so you can beat the crowds. If that’s not possible, be sure to have a Plan B in mind. If you’re not early enough, you may face a situation where you arrive at your hike’s trailhead and the parking lot is already full! You’ll want a backup hike in situations like this.
  • Point Reyes has great wildlife sighting opportunities, but be sure to observe wildlife respectfully and from a distance.

POINT REYES DAY TRIP: ESSENTIAL PACKING LIST

Aside from the usual clothing and toiletries you’d pack for any regular trip, here are the things I’d recommend you not leave home without on your Point Reyes road trip:

  • License and registration | This is a no-brainer, but always good to check you have all documents before it’s too late and you get too far away from home. Do NOT leave home without them. They are road trip essentials!
  • Spare Tire | In addition to carrying a spare tire with you, don’t forget to check your current tire conditions before you set off as well.
  • Roadside Emergency Kit | You never know what kind of car trouble you may encounter on the road. This kit contains 42 roadside emergency components, including jumper cables, an aluminum flashlight and batteries, 2-in-1 screwdriver, duct tape, poncho, cable ties, bandages, towelettes, and zipper-lock bags.
  • Trunk Organizer | With any road trip comes lots and lots of stuff to pack. Keep your road trip essentials organized with a trunk organizer. Not only will this make it so much easier to find what you need, but it will also lead to more space in your trunk for you to pack other necessities.
  • Flashlight | You never know when you’re going to be stranded on the road at night, out hiking late, or even exploring a dark cave. Leaving a flashlight in your car can really come in handy when you’re faced with unexpected situations.
  • Umbrella | An umbrella, particularly a wind-proof umbrella, is crucial when traveling to destinations with varying/unpredictable weather. If you have an umbrella with you, then it means the rain can’t stop you from enjoying your trip and exploring the outdoors.
  • Portable Cooler | Coolers are a must for any road trip. Not only will you be able to keep beverages cold and refreshing, but you will also be able to keep perishables fresh (like sandwiches, cheeses, and oysters!).
  • First Aid Kit | It’s always good to carry a first aid kit around with you when traveling and hiking. Road trips make it easier to do this since all you need to do is toss it in the trunk! Note: This is not the same as the roadside emergency kit.
  • Garbage Bags | Because you don’t want the inside of your car to resemble a dumpster can. Plastic bags (or garbage bags) can also be used to hold wet clothes if you get caught in the rain, go for a swim, etc.
  • Hiking Boots | If you plan on hiking, bring well broken-in boots or walking shoes with good ankle support and good traction.
  • Waterproof Rain Jacket | A lightweight waterproof rain jacket is critical for any outdoor adventure in the Point Reyes area. Since these weigh virtually nothing and are so easily packable, I recommend you carry one with you whenever you head outdoors. Depending on the weather forecast and chance of precipitation, I’ll either go with a rain shell or a puffier windbreaker. Despite the options I have here, one thing is for sure— I’m never without some sort of outer layer. My top recommendations are Marmot Men’s PreCip (for men) and The North Face Women’s Venture 2 Jacket (for women).
  • Puffy Jacket | You’re going to need layers in Northern California. The coastal climates of the west coast bring chilly evenings year-round, even on warm summer days. You have a lot of options here, but I personally have the North Face Thermoball, and it’s kept me warm throughout my many years of outdoor adventuring!
  • Daypack | I’m a fan of the Osprey Daylite Daypack. It has ample room for all the snacks and water you’ll need, as well as for your camera and the safety essentials for the hike.
  • Hat, Bandana, or Buff | Sun protection is key for any outdoor destination. Keep the sun off your skin with a fancy sunhat, bandana, or a Buff. All three can be used to shield your neck or forehead from the sun. As a bonus, bandanas and Buffs can be used as headbands to keep hair and sweat off of your face. Soak your bandana or Buff then put it on your head, face, or neck for a quick cool down.
  • Portable Power Bank | You’re probably going to be out all day, snapping away taking pictures, GPSing to all the great landmarks and eateries… the last thing you want is to be stranded with no phone battery! A portable power bank is a must-have, and Anker’s ultra-light, ultra-portable power bank is tried and true by so many travelers! I never embark on a day of exploration without it.
  • Soft Hydration Flask | Stay hydrated throughout the day with a water bottle that can go anywhere with you—and fold up when not in use. I love the packability of these bottles!
  • Medications | Motion sickness pills for those windy roads, painkillers, anti-inflammatories, etc.

Lastly, things to pack in your cooler will include:

  • Plates, cups, utensils
  • Beer, wine, juice
  • Cheese
  • Bread
  • Olive oil
  • Charcuterie meats
  • Sandwiches
  • Fruits
  • … and anything else you can think of in order to have the perfect picnic!

And that about wraps up our Point Reyes itinerary guide! Wishing you a very wonderful and memorable trip to Point Reyes and the rest of Northern California!

Are there are stops in Point Reyes that you especially love that didn’t make it on this list? Drop it in the comments below–we’d love to hear about it!

Looking for more Northern California travel tips? You may also like:

2 thoughts on “Point Reyes Day Trip Itinerary: The Perfect Weekend Adventure”

  1. What a great guide to Poont Reyes! So thorough. Love the photos and all the tips.
    Thank you for putting this together. I look forward to reading your other posts.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for your comment, Carol! Feel free to browse the site as I have a lot more road trip itineraries for the state of CA! 🙂

      Reply

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