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Muir Woods, the Point Reyes National Seashore, the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center... all on the sunny side of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Guide to Point Reyes/Coastal Marin

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    Great Beach

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    Point Reyes Lighthouse

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    Tomales Bay

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    The Fork at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company

Posted in Blogging Marin on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 by MCVB Staff

By Megan Eileen McDonough

 

Point Reyes is easily one of Marin County’s most scenic highlights, and you won’t want to skip town without spending ample time exploring the park grounds. One of the perks of winter travel is that you’ll avoid the crowds. Plus, we can’t think of a better way to kick off the new year than with a jaunt in nature. Whether in town for a day, a week or a month, here are five ways to experience the best of coastal Marin.

 

1. Visit Point Reyes Lighthouse.

 

There's nothing like a bird's eye view on a clear, crisp day to get your heart racing. Point Reyes Lighthouse itself is a sight to behold and the view gets better once you climb to the top. Winter is a great time to visit the lighthouse because if you're lucky, you'll spot the 30,000 gray whales that migrate to the Marin coast each winter. They travel all the way from the cold waters of Alaska. Also keep an eye out for birds. The odds are definitely in your favor, especially since more than half the bird species in the United States have been spotted right here in Point Reyes.

 

2. Join a Point Reyes safari.

 

Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can't get a little safari action! That said, it doesn't get terribly cold in Marin like it does in other coastal areas. Point Reyes Safaris’ tours host a maximum of three people, making it an ideal activity for a couple or group of friends. Because tours are so small, the guide caters to participants’ interests. So, whether you’re hoping to spot a rare bird or see a bobcat, your guide will do his best to make it happen. Choose between a half-day safari or a full, 10-hour-day excursion. You'll enter the park at sunrise and leave at sunset.

 

3. Go sea kayaking.

 

Instead of staying within your comfort zone, test your limits with Blue Waters Kayaking, which offers tours for all skill levels, including morning and evening paddles. For a truly one-of-a-kind experience, paddle in the dark on a bioluminescence tour, where you’ll witness the eerie magic of glowing dinoflagellates. For a tour that combines your love for outdoor adventure and your fascination with wildlife, opt for the Drakes Estero option. You'll kayak through one of the last estuaries along the California coast as you paddle by eelgrass and kelp beds below and white pelicans, osprey and geese above.

 

4. Tour West Marin by bike.

 

West Marin is home to some pretty fantastic bike trails, and they’re arguably the best way to tour the area. If you're having trouble picking a spot, narrow down your options based on interest. Beach bums should take the trail that ends at Marshall Beach on Tomales Bay. The journey begins uphill but it soon levels out to flat road. Experienced riders seeking a challenge can opt for the Inverness Ridge trail, which is steep and narrow but boasts stunning views of Drakes Estero. Families or travelers new to biking can cycle along the Samuel P. Taylor trail. The path is paved for easy riding.

 

5. Learn a new recipe.

 

West Marin’s culinary scene is anything but ordinary. In fact, you can actually take a cooking class at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company. Farmstead also regularly hosts ticketed dinners, but those tend to sell out fast! If you’re not able to snag a space at Farmstead, splurge on a farm-to-table meal instead. There are plenty of top-tier restaurants nearby, including the Olema Farm House at Point Reyes Seashore Lodge. Dishes are made using local ingredients, and as such, menus rotate seasonally. It's the perfect reward after an afternoon hiking through the grounds.

 

For all you need to plan your Marin County vacation, visit the Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website or Facebook page, or download the mobile app.

More information on featured attractions:

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Point Reyes Lighthouse

The Point Reyes Lighthouse is located at the western-most point of the Point Reyes Headlands. Due to concerns that Point Reyes’ heavy fog could obscure the lighthouse, it...[Learn More]

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Point Reyes Safaris

WILD IS WAITING

On a Point Reyes Safari, you will be joining professional wildlife photographer Daniel Dietrich on an unforgettable experience seeing and photographing the amazing wildlife and scenic...[Learn More]

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Blue Waters Kayaking

Blue Waters Kayaking is your outdoor activity resource for the West Marin area. We offer kayaking tours, hiking tours, as wells as specialized camping, birding and oyster tours....[Learn More]

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Point Reyes Outdoors

Point Reyes Outdoors offers sea kayaking tours, classes, and overnight kayaking trips in the Point Reyes National Seashore. We also offer customized team building (on land and water)...[Learn More]

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The Fork at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company

Just one visit and you’ll find The Fork is a long way from every-day!

The Giacomini family has been making farmstead products for more than 50 years. Producing the...[Learn More]

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Olema Farm House Restaurant at the Point Reyes Seashore Lodge

With the feel of an old-time cowboy tavern, our classic Farm House Bar is the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring Point Reyes. What could...[Learn More]