Top 10 Tips for Visiting Point Reyes

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Point Reyes National Seashore rangers welcome everyone back to the park this summer. "Plan like a park ranger" with our insider tips for a safe and successful visit to the Seashore. We're expecting an especially busy summer season and want everyone to have a great experience. A little advance trip planning can ensure that your only surprises are happy ones.

Check out more Top 10 lists from other national parks to get the most out of your summer vacation.

A female park ranger holds up a phone displaying the new NPS app!

1. Plan and prepare for your trip with the NPS App!

Skip the line and learn about things to do and places to visit in our new app developed by Point Reyes Rangers! Trail maps, hiking guides, alerts and more are available at your fingertips. You can also download content from entire parks for offline use when you don’t have cell service. Download through the Apple Store and on Google Play.

A man carrying a baby in a backpacker carrier walks on a sandy trail down to the beach.

2. Have a Plan B, C, and D.

Close to 2.4 million people visit Point Reyes each year. Visit midweek or early morning to beat the crowds. If that's not possible, have a plan B or C. Have several possible hikes picked out, just in case you arrive at a trailhead and the parking lot is full.

A fog bow over a foggy cliffside ocean view.

3. Wind and Fog. Wind and Fog.

Temperatures may be in the triple digits just 10 miles inland, yet in the 50°s or 60°s at the coast. Point Reyes is the windiest and foggiest place on the west coast, especially during the summer. Check the weather forecast and views of the coast with our Point Reyes Beach webcam and bring cozy layers—it could be quite chilly!

A male ranger points to a map of closures at a trailhead.

4. Check for changing conditions

After a year of closures, most of Point Reyes is open for your enjoyment. However, while you may have your heart set on visiting a particular spot in the park, sometimes there are circumstances that throw a wrench into the best laid plans. Make sure to check current conditions and any closures that may be in place before your visit.

Two long rows of cypress trees lead to a white building at the end of the road. The large trees create a tree tunnel.

5. Looking for the Instagram highlights?

Cypress Tree Tunnel? Point Reyes "Shipwreck"?" South Beach Overlook? Post your highlights while supporting the mission of the National Park Service. Social media has a bigger impact than you think, so please post appropriate and responsible behaviors. Take the Point Reyes Pledge and adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace. Drones are not allowed anywhere in the Seashore, so leave your drones at home.

A young girl photographs a bobcat in a grassy field.

6. Coyotes, badgers, and bobcats, oh my!

Point Reyes has incredible opportunities for wildlife sightings. Observe wildlife respectfully and from a distance and park your vehicle completely off the road when viewing from the car.

Large waves break on a long, straight beach. A rocky headland rises in the background. Iceplant creeps onto the beach in the foreground.

7. Be wave wise.

The beaches in Point Reyes are known for their dangerous beauty, and people have been swept away by large waves and strong rip currents here. Never turn your back to the ocean, and watch out for sneaker waves, which are waves that come in much higher than previous sets and can wash over and pull out people walking along the ocean's edge. Visit our Safety Issues Associated with Beaches page for more information.

A woman and a child bend down over a rocky tidepool.

8. Know the high and the low of it.

Check the daily tides if you plan to walk along the beach or to Alamere Falls. Incoming high tides can make your planned walk along bluff-lined beaches unsafe and could trap you, while low tides offer fabulous opportunities for tidepooling.

A couple walks their dog on leash at the water's edge.

9. Visit the beach with your B.A.R.K. Ranger.

Friendly pets on leash are welcome on sections of Limantour, South, North, and Kehoe Beaches!

  • Bag pet waste
  • Always leash your pet
  • Respect wildlife
  • Know where to go
A mother and child watch the sunset at the water's edge on a sandy beach.

10. Family Friendly Fun!

The Bear Valley Visitor Center has animal exhibits and easy trails for little legs. Stop by to talk to rangers about what other trails are great for children. You can also learn about and protect Point Reyes by earning your very own junior ranger badge The Junior Ranger program is for young kids, as well as for those who are young at heart!

Last updated: May 27, 2021