Picnic Areas

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

Woodward Fire Closures

Due to the Woodward Fire, charcoal fires are prohibited and the Bear Valley Picnic Area is closed until further notice.
Determination of Temporary Closure - September 22, 2020, until further notice - signed on September 22, 2020 (112 KB PDF)


COVID-19

A Stay at Home (also known as Shelter-In-Place) Order is in place for Marin County until further notice. Following guidance from the CDC and public health officials, and to comply with county-wide shelter-in-place legal orders, park picnic areas are now open with the following rules:

  • Each picnic table may be occupied by only one household or living unit at a time.
  • Each barbecue grill may be used by only one household or living unit at a time. Due to the Woodward Fire, charcoal fires are prohibited until further notice.
  • Each member of a household or living unit must maintain at least six feet of separation from all members of other households or living units in the area. For clarity, members of the same household or living unit do not need to maintain six feet of separation from each other.
  • Visitors are encouraged to bring hand sanitizer.

Updates pertaining to COVID-19-related closures will be posted to our Current Conditions page and social media channels.

Please help do your part to slow the spread of the coronavirus by staying close to home; if you do visit Point Reyes, please maintain at least six feet of physical distance. Individuals engaged in outdoor exercise, such as walking, hiking, running, or bicycling, are not required to wear a face covering, but should carry one with them and must wear a facial covering when interacting with others who are not members of their household in public and private spaces if they cannot practice physical distancing. Visit our Recreate Responsibly page for guidelines for responsible recreation in the outdoors at Point Reyes and other park lands during the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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:
    • Due to the Woodward Fire, charcoal fires are prohibited until further notice.
    • 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 [427 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.
 
Two picnic table in front of a split rail fence with vegetation and sand dunes in the background.

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.

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. [247 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 ~85 meters (~280 feet) to the east.
  • Shade: None.
  • Exposure to wind: Very exposed.

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Last updated: October 21, 2020

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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