The peninsula of Point Reyes is a popular tourist destination because of its clean unpolluted beaches and many interesting hiking trails. Popular activities on Point Reyes include bird watching and kayaking on Tomales Bay. It’s also one of the best locations in California to observe northern elephant seals during the winter. Point Reyes includes the towns of Point Reyes Station, Inverness, Olema, and Bolinas on the southern end of the peninsula. On the northeast side of Point Reyes is Tomales Bay where many oyster farms are located.
The first known evidence of humans in this area was left by approximately 3,000 Coast Miwok Indians who built hundreds of campsites on the peninsula and lived there for thousands of years. On June 17, 1579, the British explorer Sir Francis Drake landed at what is now called Drake’s Cove on the Point Reyes National Seashore. He was followed by the Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno who named the land Punto de los Reyes when his ship landed at Drake’s Cove on January 6, 1603. In 1962 the Point Reyes National Seashore was established in order to protect the area from commercial development and limit the amount of residential development while preserving the existing wilderness and the natural ecosystems.
Bird watchers may be interested to know that almost 490 bird species have been observed on Point Reyes’ 71,028 acres of land. Northern elephant seals and tule elks, which were almost exterminated during the 19th century, have made a remarkable recovery at Point Reyes. Ten tule elks were brought from the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge near Los Banos to Point Reyes in 1978 and by 2009 the elk herd had increased to more than 440.
One of the famous local delicacies is barbecued oysters. Uncooked oysters are also served in local restaurants such as Nick’s Cove Restaurant and Oyster Bar on the other side of Tomales Bay. Located at 23240 Highway 1 on one of the most beautiful coastal areas in California, Nick’s serves award winning cuisine and features a wood burning fireplace, a mahogany bar, redwood tables and game trophies mounted on the walls. Nick’s also has charming cottages for visitors and each cottage has plush down comforters, wood burning stoves and bathrooms with heated ceramic tile floors. Other notable oyster bar/restaurants include the Hog Island Oyster Company in Marshall, the Tomales Bay Oyster Company at 5479 Shoreline Highway, and Saltwater Oyster Depot at 12781 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.
Point Reyes is about 1 hour and 15 minutes north of San Francisco by car via U.S. Route 101. Exit at San Rafael and drive west on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard until it reaches Shoreline Boulevard (Route 1), turn right, and then turn left on Bear Valley Road. Follow Bear Valley Rd to your destination on Point Reyes.
Peter Cross is an accomplished article writer and creative writer who has produced hundreds of articles for many different clients since 2006 when he retired from his consulting business.