Picnic Areas

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Picnickers eating lunch at picnic tables in a meadow near some trees.
 

Point Reyes National Seashore contains three picnic areas, plus a number of sites at various locations in the park at which there are one or two picnic tables. Use of the picnic areas are free of charge and first-come, first-served, except for a reservable group section at the Bear Valley picnic area. Descriptions and photos of the various locations where picnic tables may be found below. The descriptions of the picnic areas/tables are accurate as of March 2018.

Rules for Picnicking:

  • Leaving food unattended is prohibited.
  • Don't feed the wildlife.
  • Don't litter. Take all waste home or dispose of all waste in garbage and/or recycling receptacles provided. Please don't put any non-recyclable materials in recycling receptacles.
  • Leave No Trace. Do not carve into the picnic tables.
  • Charcoal Grills:
    • Wood fires are prohibited. Visit our Beach Fires page for information about building wood fires in the national seashore.
    • Only charcoal briquettes are permitted in the charcoal grills provided.
    • Charcoal fires must be attended anytime they are generating heat. Do not depart until the coals and ashes are cold to the touch.
    • Visitors are welcome to use their own small portable barbecues. All ash and used and unused briquettes must be packed out of the park.
  • If you move picnic tables, move them back to where you found them when you are finished.
  • Picnicking is permitted within all designated campgrounds; however, picnickers must yield campsites to persons with camping permits.
  • A designated section of Bear Valley picnic area is available by reservation to groups of up to seventy-five (75) people. Contact the Special Park Uses office at 415-464-5111 to reserve this section.
  • Groups of over 100 people who wish to picnic in the park must first obtain a permit. Because there are limited places in the park which can accommodate a picnic group of this size, and to minimize the impact of such a group on other visitors, a permit system is necessary for groups of 100 or more. Contact the Special Park Uses office at 415-464-5111 for more information.
 
Picnickers eating lunch at picnic tables in a meadow near some trees.

Bear Valley Picnic Area

  • Picnic tables: twenty-one (21)
  • Charcoal grills: five (5) family sized + one (1) group sized
  • Parking: Park in the gravel lot adjacent to the picnic area, not in the paved lot adjacent to the Bear Valley Visitor Center. (Directions to the Bear Valley Visitor Center; Download the Bear Valley Area Map [421 KB PDF])
  • Toilets: Flush toilets are available at the southern end of the picnic area.
  • Water: A water faucet is located near the restroom building.
  • Refuse disposal: Garbage and recycling receptacles are located adjacent to restroom building.
  • Shade: Part of the picnic area is located underneath tree cover.
  • Exposure to wind: Minimally exposed.
 
Picnickers eating lunch at a picnic table with willows in the background.

Drakes Beach Picnic Area

  • Picnic tables: nine (9) - seven (7) along the northern end of the parking lot and two (2) between the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center and the beach
  • Charcoal grills: six (6) along the northern end of the parking lot
  • Parking: Potentially adjacent to the picnic tables at the northern end of the parking lot; ~50 meters (~165 feet) from the picnic tables between the visitor center and the beach. (Directions from the Bear Valley Visitor Center)
  • Toilets: Flush toilets are adjacent to the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center.
  • Water: A drinking fountain is located between the men's and women's restrooms.
  • Refuse disposal: Garbage and recycling receptacles are located close at the northern end of the parking lot and near the visitor center.
  • Shade: None.
  • Exposure to wind: Moderately exposed; very exposed if winds are from the south.
 
A picnic table adjacent to a willow-lined, shallow pond.

Five Brooks Trailhead

  • Picnic tables: six (6) - located up to 275 meters (900 feet) from the parking lot along the Stewart Trail.
  • Charcoal grills: None.
  • Parking: Five Brooks Trailhead (Directions from the Bear Valley Visitor Center)
  • Toilets: A vault toilet is located at the Five Brooks Trailhead.
  • Water: None.
  • Refuse disposal: Garbage and recycling receptacles are located at the trailhead.
  • Shade: Partial shade at some sites.
  • Exposure to wind: Minimally exposed.
 

Limantour Beach

  • Picnic tables: two (2) located between the vault toilets and the foot bridge south of the main parking lot
  • Charcoal grills: None
  • Parking: There is a large gravel parking lot ~110 meters (~360 feet) north of the picnic tables. (Directions from the Bear Valley Visitor Center)
  • Toilets: There are vault toilets located ~20 meters (~65 feet) to the north of the picnic tables.
  • Water: No potable water, but there is a water spigot at the base of the shower post on the east side of the main path leading to the beach.
  • Refuse disposal: Garbage and recycling receptacles are located adjacent to the vault toilets.
  • Shade: None
  • Exposure to wind: Moderately exposed, especially if winds are from the south.
 
Two picnic tables adjacent to a large white barn that has a gray roof.

Pierce Point Ranch

  • Picnic tables: four (4) - two on the west side of the milking barn, two at the northwest corner of the milking barn
  • Charcoal grills: None.
  • Parking: Parking is available at the Pierce Point Ranch/Tomales Point Trailhead. (Directions from the Bear Valley Visitor Center)
  • Toilets: Vault toilets are located at the McClures Beach parking lot, ~420 meters (~0.25 miles) away
  • Water: None.
  • Refuse disposal: Garbage and recycling receptacles are located adjacent to parking lot.
  • Shade: None.
  • Exposure to wind: Moderately exposed.
 
A picnic table in a grassy prairie with grass-covered hills in the background.

Estero Trailhead

  • Picnic tables: one (1) at the south end of the trailhead parking lot
  • Charcoal grills: None.
  • Parking: The picnic table is located at the Estero Trailhead parking lot. (Directions from the Bear Valley Visitor Center)
  • Toilets: Vault toilets are located at the northwest corner of the parking lot.
  • Water: None.
  • Refuse disposal: Garbage and recycling receptacles are located adjacent to the vault toilets.
  • Shade: None.
  • Exposure to wind: Moderately exposed.
 
Two picnic tables adjacent to garbage and recycling containers and a white picket fence with Drakes Bay in the background.

Chimney Rock Boathouse

  • Picnic tables: two (2) located on the southeast side of the boathouse at Chimney Rock
  • Charcoal grills: None.
  • Parking: The Chimney Rock Trailhead parking lot is located ~640 meters (~0.4 miles) away. (Directions from the Bear Valley Visitor Center)
  • Toilets: Vault toilets are located at the Chimney Rock Trailhead, ~640 meters (~0.4 miles) away.
  • Water: None.
  • Refuse disposal: Garbage and recycling receptacles are located adjacent to the picnic tables.
  • Shade: None.
  • Exposure to wind: Moderately exposed, especially if winds are from the east.
 
A picnic table in the middle of a paved observation deck, surrounded by chain-link fencing with a view looking out across the ocean and the shoreline.

Observation Deck above the Point Reyes Lighthouse

  • Picnic tables: one (1)
  • Charcoal grills: None.
  • Parking: The lighthouse visitors' parking lot is located ~850 meters (~0.5 miles) to the east at the western end of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. (Directions from the Bear Valley Visitor Center; Download the Point Reyes Lighthouse Area map. [248 KB PDF])
  • Toilets: Flush toilets are located ~150 meters (~500 feet) to the east.
  • Water: A drinking fountain and water bottle filling station are located ~150 meters (~500 feet) to the east.
  • Refuse disposal: Garbage and recycling receptacles are located ~150 meters (~500 feet) to the east.
  • Shade: None.
  • Exposure to wind: Very exposed.

Last updated: October 1, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

Phone:

(415) 464-5100
This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; weather forecast; fire danger information; shuttle bus system status; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

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