Oysters don't get any fresher than buying them just as they are harvested from Tomales Bay.
The San Francisco Chronicle named the Hog Island Sweetwater the "Best American Oyster" in a blind taste test and the aquaculture operation received the Award of Excellence for Animal Husbandry from the American Institute of Food & Wine. Today, Hog Island Oyster Company grows and sells over 3 million oysters a year and is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 to 5, all year long.
A great beach to visit is Limantour Beach. This is a wide sandy beach with the very soft silky sand - perfect for building sand castles. Unlike some of the beaches that require a long walk from the parking, this one is relatively close. It gets a bit more people for that reason, but because it is so huge, it never gets crowded. Once at Limantour, you can walk for miles on the sand along the coast.
On a clear day, this trail is one of Marin County's most beatiful trails. I've done the hike both on a clear day and a foggy day, and I highly recommend doing it only a clear day. On a foggy day, it is hard to appreciate the fact that you are near the edge of a bluff that drops 500 feet to the ocean. On a clear day, you'll have the most stunning views.
The hike has very little elevation change and is 4.7 miles one way.
Abbot's Lagoon is another fun beach along the Point Reyes National Seashore. After walking along a flat one mile trail from the parking lot, you will reach the beach and its large sand dunes.
West Marin was a center for rum running from Prohibiton days up til the 1990s. There are stories of people finding cases of gin washed onto the beaches near Abbott's Lagoon after being jettisoned because federal agents were hot on the trails of the rum runners.
My favorite beach along the Point Reyes National Seashore is McClure's Beach. It is at the end of the road leading to Tomales Point, and you have to hike 1/2 mile to get down to the beach. Because of its remote location, on any given day, very few people are here. The beach sand varies from beach to beach, even along the Point Reyes coast, and here it is soft and silky. Perfect sand castle sand - my kids, even as teenagers now, still enjoy building the most intricate castles. Ok, I admit - I like that part, too.
McClure's beach has one of the best spots for tidepooling. The best tidepooling is at low low tide - when there is a new or full moon and early in the morning or late afternoon.
The rocks at McClure's are loaded with starfish, sea anemones, mussels and crabs. During low tide, more of this beach is accessible. You will be able to explore the rocks in this picture and beyond. Access to the rocky area with the best tide pools gets cut off during high tide. If you venture past these rocks, make sure you know whether the tide is going out or coming in!
The Bolina Ridge bike trail is an 11 mile trail (one way) of medium difficulty giving you breathtaking views of Olema Valley and Tomales Bay. The road follows ranch roads through pasture land in parts, and you are expected to close the gates after you ride through them.
Trailhead Rentals (663-1958) has mountain bikes for rent during summer only.
Tomales Bay is 15 miles long and relatively calm (although rarely totally placid), which makes it a perfect spot for sea kayaking. The only place you can rent kayaks on Tomales Point is Blue Waters Kayaking at Inverness.
In addition to rentals, Blue Waters will take you on custom tours, and give you self-rescue lessons, so you can learn cool things such as making your kayak flip upside down in the freezing water (with you in it).
Open deck and closed kayaks are available, although closed deck kayaks are only available to those who have completed a self-rescue course. Open deck kayak rentals include paddle, wet suit, PFD (personal floatation device), spray jacket and an orientation.
If you are doing the hike at Tomales Point, you might as well wander through the historic Pierce Ranch located at the trailhead. Truth be told, there is not much to see - just some old buildings (you can see a bunk house where 20 ranch hands used to sleep) and some rusted farm equipment. However, I thought I should at least mention this ranch, since dairy farming is a big part of Marin County's recent history.
Dairy farms were established in the mid 1800s all along the Point Reyes area. Dairy cows must be the only kind of livestock that can handle the harsh West Marin climate.
This is the trail you will take to get down to McClure's Beach. It is 1/2 mile long and drops 300 feet. Coming back, it is a bit of a schlep if you are carrying a picnic basket, towels and beach chairs, but otherwise, not a bad little hike.
The link below will take you to descriptions of many activities at Point Reyes.
Things to do:
Wild life viewing