Enjoying dramatically in the blue Pacific, Point Reyes National Seashore, of more than 70,000 acres, seems almost to be off the northern coast of California. The coastal reserve, about 30 miles north of San Francisco, protects more than 1,500 animal and plant species, as well as 80 miles / 130 kilometers of coastline. Here, the waves crash on remote beaches, murmurs of mist flood the coastal hills, and Tule elk wander in wild meadows.
The park's main visitor center in Bear Valley is a great place to start exploring and the kids love their interactive exhibits. Receive information for whale watching (generally from January to mid-April) and on the display of wildflowers (early or late spring) and road conditions. To see wildlife, head to Tomales Point and you will see the Tule Elk, especially during the autumn season. Then go to the 200-acre / 81-hectare Abbotts Lagoon to view a wide variety of bird species (more than 45 percent of North American bird species have been spotted at Point Reyes). For walks along the beach, walk along Kehoe Beach, where you can walk with dogs, the Great Beach, 11 miles / 18 km long, or the intimate McClures Beach. To make a worthwhile exercise, go down the 308 steps (and yes, you must upload them to return) to the Point Reyes Lighthouse, which dates back to 1870.
Advice from someone who knows: Do you want to sleep outdoors? Make a reservation to set up a tent in one of the four natural camps, two of which are located along the 17-mile / 27-km trail along the coast. The camps at Wildcat Beach, near where the waves break, are particularly unforgettable.