Activities 2018-03-24T04:50:22+00:00

ACTIVITIES

Hiking is a popular activity at Point Reyes National Seashore (PRNS).  Hundreds of miles of trails lead to varied habitats and topography.  The PRNS visitor center at Bear Valley, just a few minutes drive from Sea Star Cottage, is the primary visitor center for the park and provides an orientation of the roads, trails and natural history (www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm).  Point Reyes Outdoors offers hiking tours and excursions (www.pointreyesoutdoors.com).

Beaches are a big attraction in the area.  Visit the Point Reyes National Seashore site for a complete list of beaches (www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/beaches.htm).  In addition, wonderful beaches on our western shore of Tomales Bay can be reached in minutes.

Cycling is enormously popular in West Marin.  Bring your own or rent from Point Reyes Outdoors (www.pointreyesoutdoors.com). Check the PRNS headquarters for trails open to mountain biking.

Kayaking is one of the special activities on Tomales Bay. Rent a kayak to explore on your own or book one of the many tours available. Blue Water Kayaking offers a full range of interesting tours which launch in Inverness, just a minute up the road from Sea Star Cottage (www.bwkayak.com). Stand-up paddle-boards are also available for rent through Point Reyes Outdoors (www.pointreyesoutdoors.com).

Birding is a year-round activity in Point Reyes National Seashore and Park (www.marinaudubon.org). The area sits astride the north/south migratory flyway.  Beaches, marshlands and ponds offer waterfowl of all sorts.  Nearby Audubon Canyon Ranch is a nesting ground for egrets and herons.  Meadows and forests are natural habitat for songbirds, woodpeckers and raptors.  Each December, over 200 bird species can be accounted for in the area.   The Sea Star Cottage deck offers an excellent lookout point year round for many species of shore birds.point reyes wildflowers

Food and wine are rooted in the culture of West Marin. The area is known for its organically grown produce, local cheese, meats, artisan foods, oysters, and wines. Private tours of farms can be arranged (www.foodandfarmtours.com). During the summer and autumn, Toby’s Feed Barn in Point Reyes Station (www.tobysfeedbarn.com), hosts a small but world-class farmer’s market with local offerings. From fresh flowers, eggs, honey, breads, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, it is a highlight of the week. The market takes place on Saturdays, between 9 am to 1 pm, June through October.

Wildflowers abound from February through August (www.nps.gov/pore/learn/nature/wildflowers.htm).  Long known as a botanical hotspot, wildflowers can be viewed in many habitats in Point Reyes and surrounding areas.  For wildflower enthusiasts, a trip to Point Reyes during the spring and summer is a must. Abbotts Lagoon, Chimney Rock, and Tomales Point are just a few of the locations where the flowers bloom early in the season.

RESTAURANTS

In Olema
Sir & Star  (415) 663-1034
Farm House Restaurant  (415) 663-1264

In Point Reyes Station
Osteria Stellina  (415) 663-9988
Station House Café  (415) 663-1515
Pine Cone Diner  (415) 663-1536
Café Reyes  (415) 663-9493
Marin Sun Farms  (415) 663-8997

In Inverness
Saltwater Oyster Depot  (415) 669-1244
Vladimir’s Czech Restaurant  (415) 669-1021

In Marshall
Hog Island Oyster Co  (415) 663-1242
Tony’s Seafood  (415) 663-1107
Marshall Store  (415) 663-1339
Nick’s Cove  (415) 663-1033

In Nicasio
Rancho Nicasio  (415) 662-2219

Food to go and Delis
Cowgirl Creamery  (415) 663-9335
Palace Market  (415) 663-1016
Bovine Bakery  (415) 663-9420
Inverness Park Market  (415) 663-1491

activities-kayakGolf can be enjoyed at a beautiful course – San Geronimo Golf Course, about 20 minutes away (www.golfsangeronimo.com). Within a 45-minute drive are Indian Valley Golf in Novato, Adobe Creek and Rooster Run in Petaluma. All are open to the public.

The Pacific Gray Whale makes its annual migration south to the birthing grounds in Mexico during the winter months, and back north to the rich Arctic waters in early spring (www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/wildlife_viewing_whales.htm). The Point Reyes Lighthouse is one of the most westerly points in the continental USA and offers excellent viewing opportunities of these leviathans. A large colony of Elephant Seals can be found near Chimney Rock between December and March of each year (www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/wildlife_viewing_elephantseals.htm).

Fine Art:
West Marin is well known for its fine art.  On Memorial Day and Thanksgiving weekends, over thirty artists open their studios for display and sales (www.pointreyesart.com).  Gallery Route One is a local artist cooperative (www.galleryrouteone.org), and the gallery at Toby’s Feed Barn (www.tobysfeedbarn.com), located in Point Reyes Station, exhibits fine art, photography and sculpture.

General Information about the area can be found on the Point Reyes National Seashore website (www.nps.gov/pore). Be sure to check Park Wavelengths (www.nps.gov/pore/parknews/parkwavelengths.htm) for up to date information on interesting things to do. You can also find information on the West Marin Chamber of Commerce website (www.pointreyes.org). The local paper, the Point Reyes Light, has an excellent online calendar of local events, including classes, concerts and book readings (www.ptreyeslight.com/calendar). Many weekend and extended classes on art, crafts, wildlife viewing and photography are offered through the Point Reyes Seashore Association (www.pointreyes.org for catalog).

HOW'S THE WEATHER?

Autumn in the Point Reyes National Seashore is clear and warm. When the gray whales run off our coast, December through February, (you can see them from the Lighthouse), it's bright and clear between rainstorms. On spring days, you'll often spy a whale off the wildflower-covered hills of Tomales Point or Chimney Rock. In summer, plan to swim in Tomales Bay. And there's almost no day of the year when you can't enjoy a hike - even if it's raining. The pleasures of coming home wet and chilly to a warm fire at Sea Star Cottage make rain look downright attractive!

ABOUT INVERNESS

Inverness is located on the west shore of Tomales Bay, which runs southeast along the line of the San Andreas Fault. Surrounded by Point Reyes National Seashore, it is primarily a residential community, with little industry other than tourism. It has a small downtown area with a general store, post office, library, restaurants, gift shops and a variety of lodging.

One aspect of the town is a concentration of recreational (and some commercial) boating. There is a small public marina, a few private piers, and the Inverness Yacht Club.

The town is a 15 miles or so from Drake's Bay on the Pacific Ocean, named after Sir Francis Drake, who explored the coast in the 16th Century. Although Drake's official log was lost, the ship's doctor's log described landing in an area that reminded him of the White Cliffs of Dover. Drake's Bay is backed by similar-looking cliffs, leading many to believe this is where the ship landed.

The region became the property of James Shafter, who began to develop the property in the 1890s. It became a summer resort where people from San Francisco and Oakland came to camp, hike and swim in Tomales Bay. Many built small summer cabins that still exist today. Small steamboats took day trippers down the bay to secluded beaches. They left from Brock Schreiber's boathouse, which has been preserved and is a prominent local landmark with its prominent sign "Launch for Hire".

Many old-timey traditions survive: swimming lessons at Shell Beach (at the end of Camino del Mar), a full calendar of sailing races in summer, foot races on July 4, and in early spring, the garden club's Primrose Tea.

For the visitor, Inverness marks the last settlement before entering the mass of the Point Reyes National Seashore, 72,000 acres of wilderness and beach and ranchland from which one can still see San Francisco.