Point Reyes
Bear Valley Visitor Center
Bear Valley Visitor Center - Exploring Point Reyes, this is a great place to start, pick up free brochures and maps. Point Reyes covers a large area, and the rangers are very helpful. The Center has exhibits about the plants and animals of Point Reyes, habitats (forests, marshes, beaches), the Coast Miwok and Sir Francis Drake, and a bookstore.
The stairs to the Point Reyes Lighthouse can be closed, due to high winds or fog - any closures are posted each day at the visitor center. Check before driving all the way out to the lighthouse.
Next to the Visitor Center are picnic tables in shade, and the starting points for the Earthquake Trail or Woodpecker Trail. Both self-guided nature trails are less than a mile and easy walking for kids.
On the Earthquake Trail, check out a fence that shows the effect of the 1906 earthquake (one part moved 16 ft) and blue poles that mark the San Andreas Fault.
The Woodpecker Trail passes through grassland into the dense fern and laurel forest and comes out at the Morgan Horse Ranch. On the trail, look for California quail bobbing in the undergrowth, and woodpeckers in the trees.
Kule Loklo - When Sir Francis Drake arrived at Point Reyes, it was already inhabited by the Coast Miwok people. A quick half mile from the Visitor Center is Kule Loklo ("bear valley"), a re-creation of a Coast Miwok village, built with native tools and techniques.
In Kule Loklo, you can run inside and out of a typical Miwok house, a framework of branches covered with redwood bark slabs, and go inside the family sweat lodge (see if your family fits).
Morgan Horse Farm - Big chunks of Point Reyes are inaccessible by road, so the park rangers use Morgan horses to keep an eye on the back country. Stop by the working ranch to see the barn where horses are washed and groomed, the pole shed, blacksmith shop, and corrals. The self-guided exhibits cover the history of Morgan horses (the first American breed) too. Check for scheduled demonstrations on grooming, blacksmithing and horse training.
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