Drakes Bay & Estero

Fresh water mixes with salty ocean water to create a brackish ecosystem at Drakes Estero. Brackish waters are some of the most productive and diverse wildlife habitats on the planet. The 1000-acre tidal salt marsh of Drakes Estero is home to thousands of seals, bat rays, migrating birds and leopard sharks, making Drakes Estero a paradise for wildlife viewing.

The hillsides that surround the waterway are home to coyote, bobcat, mountain lions, northern harriers, red tail hawks, and one of two free-roaming herds of Tule elk in the state of California. Come check out the Estero trail for some great hiking, and try to catch a sunset at Sunset Beach!

Drakes Estero has been designated as the most probable landing spot of Sir Francis Drake on the coast of North America in 1579 during his circumnavigation of the world and has been established as a National Historic Landmark. A historical marker has been placed on Drakes Beach near the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center and monuments to Drake have been erected at the Drake's Cove landing site. The Drake landing is interpreted at the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center and the Bear Valley Visitor Center.