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The Great Escape: Day Trip to Point Reyes

Cool wind and water await at this shoreline park.

It has been so hot this week. As I write this, it’s nearly 6 p.m. and still 100 degrees outside. It’s sweltering. Any mom of little kids knows how well kids do in the heat, even if they get to spend all day at a pool – terribly. So if you want a break from crying fits and sunstroke, take a day trip to a cooler climate. 

Point Reyes National Shoreline is consistently 20 degrees cooler than the sweatier parts of the East Bay. For example, highs this week average 74 degrees. Only 74! It’s practically arctic!

Point Reyes is a two-hour drive, but the scenery is well worth the trip. In three short hours there, visitors can see quite a bit of the park.

The website for Point Reyes recommends a visit to the lighthouse as a day trip, which is about a 45-minute drive from the main center, the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

Another beautiful drive, about 35 minutes past the Visitor Center, is to the Pierce Point Ranch and Tule Elk Reserve.

The best time to watch the elk is during rutting season in the fall, but the animals can be seen year-round.

One of the fascinating things to do at Point Reyes is to explore tidepools. To minimize travel time, try Duxbury Reef, which is a 25-minute drive from the Visitor Center and just a five-minute walk.

If you enjoy looking for creatures such as sea lettuce and purple urchin, get out to the tidepools. Just make sure to check the tide tables before you leave, dress for wind and cold water (yay!) and wear shoes that can get wet and have a lot of traction. Bring an extra pair of socks just in case, too.

Don’t forget to walk gently among the life in the tidepools. Don’t pry animals off rocks or disturb their living environment. Always replace what you move, and remember, take pictures!

Chris Kapsalis July 07, 2011 at 11:46 PM
We were just there last month. It was so nice.
Dasha Millson July 08, 2011 at 11:16 PM
Fantastic idea! Thanks for the suggestion.

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