Point Reyes
Tomales Bay State Park -
Heart's Desire Beach - This is one our favorite picnic spots, lots of picnic tables, sandy beach to play or swim, restrooms. Check out the spooky looking trees draped in pale green - the green stuff is lichen, called "old man's beard."
From Heart's Desire Beach, take Johnstone Trail to Pebble Beach (half mile). This easygoing trail passes through a cool dense forest, filled with clumps of ferns and moss-covered trees. Watch out for poison oak at the sides of the trail; don't brush up against it. Pebble Beach is another sandy beach, covered with smooth skipping stones (see how far you can skip your stones on the water).
Or, take the half mile nature trail, crossing over a bridge and little creek to Indian Beach, an even bigger sandy beach. On the beach are a several replicas of Miwok houses, covered with redwood bark. Wade in the creek, play in the sand, splash in the water, Indian Beach is a gem.
Tip: Watch out for poison oak along sides of both trails; don't brush up against it.
Abbotts Lagoon - Continue north on Pierce Point Rd. to Abbotts Lagoon. It's a short walk from the parking lot to the lagoon and a huge sand dune.
Kids will have fun running and sliding down the dune! Bring buckets and sand toys for little kids to play in this giant sand box.
The double lagoon is also perfect for kids, especially lagoon on the west side, after the bridge. Picnic on big pieces of driftwood, watch many birds, dabble toes in shallow water. Lagoon is protected from the beach, which has dangerous rip tides.
Have a picnic, plan to come early, parking is limited and crowded in summer.
Tomales Point Trail and Pierce Point Ranch - On the northern end of Point Reyes are dairy farms, cows quietly munching away. In the 19th century, the Pierce Ranch produced premium butter for San Francisco restaurants. At the ranch, walk into the old hay barn, and around the weathered buildings – the old dairy, calf shed, bunkhouse, one-room schoolhouse where the Pierce kids went to school.
Tomales Point Trail The Tomales Point Trail goes to northern end of Point Reyes. The trail follows the high above the west side beaches below (listen to the waves crashing), and views of Tomales Bay and Hog Island to the east.
The trail follows through the Tule Elk Reserve, so keep your eyes peeled for these majestic animals. Tule elk, native to California, are most visible in September and October. The two best places to spot the herds are White Gulch, and a pond about 45 min. north. Bring binoculars.
Tip: Stay on the Tomales Point Trail. Especially when the herds are visible, do not wander off the train for a closer view. We watched two thoughtless people cause a large elk herd to gallop down the hill (this is not good for the elk, they run when alarmed or threatened).
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