What’s Best: Miles of sand and big waves, beachcombers’ beaches with piles of driftwood and junk treasures washed ashore.

From North Beach to Abbotts Lagoon, head to the right as you face the water. After about .75-mile, on the bluffs is the AT&T Radio Station, looking like a techno-art installation, which has received airwaves since 1931 from faraway locales. After almost 3 miles, you’ll have to climb the sand dunes of Great Beach to see Abbotts Lagoon, set just offshore between beach bluffs and hills. Going the other way from North Beach, left as you face the water, you’ll reach the parking lot at South Beach after about 1.5 miles. The area between the two parking lots is called Point Reyes Beach.


From South Beach to Point Reyes cliffs, head left as you face the water. You should be able to see the Coast Guard light flashing some 300 feet above the water at the tip of the point. This beach walk is a classic example of dunes giving way to big cliffs. How close you get to the rock wall will depend on surf and tides. Be Aware: Point Reyes beaches are notoriously treacherous swimming beaches, due to high surf, wave-borne debris, riptides, and, for a special bonus, the presence of great white sharks. The most-common hazard, however, are rogue waves that can snatch a hiker from the shore.

Parking: From Hwy. 1 between Pt. Reyes Station and Olema, turn west on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Continue through Inverness and veer left toward lighthouse, past Pierce Point Rd. Continue on Drake Blvd. For North Beach: Turn right about 4.5 ml. past Pierce Point Rd, just after G Ranch. For South Beach: Turn right about 2.5 miles past North Beach, past E Ranch. Agency: Point Reyes National Seashore Along the western face of the Point Reyes Peninsula is some 11 miles of beach, stretching straight as a string between the 600-foot cliffs of Point Reyes on the south to Elephant Rock of McClures Beach to the north. The wide margin of sand takes a pounding from high surf and prevailing winds. Bordering the inland are sea-grass dunes and coastal hillocks that in turn give way to the pasturelands of the north peninsula’s historic dairy ranches. A solitary beach experience at these vast beaches is a sure thing.

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