Explore the Beach

Explore the Beach

With over 80 miles of protected coastline, Point Reyes offers some of the most pristine beaches in the state. Many beaches are accessible by car with just a short walk to the water.

The calmer ocean beaches, including Limantour and Drakes Bay, are located in Drakes Bay and are accessible by car with a 20 to 30 minute drive from the Bear Valley Visitor Center. The more rugged and dangerous surf can be found along the Great Beach or Point Reyes beaches. This large 10-mile beach can be broken down into smaller beaches that can be accessed by a car at North and South Beach (30 minute drive), or you can park at McClure's, Kehoe or Abbotts Lagoon trailheads off Pierce Point Road and take a short 0.5 to 4-mile roundtrip walk to the beach and back. Additional park beaches like Wildcat, Coast, Kelham, and Sculptured beaches are located in the southern end of the park in the Phillip Burton Wilderness and are only accessible with much longer hikes that can be planned a number of ways. Tomales Bay beaches are popular for putting in a kayak or canoe, or as more mellow swimming destinations and can be accessed in numerous places along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Highway 1 or in Tomales Bay State Park. The rest of the park's shoreline may only be accessed by trail or by boat. Learn more

If you have the time, you might consider reserving a spot at one of the backcountry beach campgrounds, or picking up a free beach fire permit at any visitor center.  

Beach Safety

  • Know how to swim, but understand that swimming is at your own risk. No lifeguards are present at any beaches. Safer beaches for swimming include beaches along Tomales Bay, and at Limantour or Drakes Beach. Walk in slowly, as underwater rocks may be present. Never swim alone; always use the buddy system.
  • Never turn your back on the surf and watch for sneaker waves. Stay at least thirty yards away from the water on beaches facing the open ocean, particularly the Great Beach (North and South beaches), McClures Beach and Kehoe Beach.
  • Supervise children and pets at all times.
  • Avoid slippery rocks, logs or debris, including rocky outcrops.
  • Take sunscreen, sun glasses and a wide-brimmed hat for protection from harmful UV rays.  A long-sleeved shirt or other cover-up may also be a good addition to your gear. Warm layers are always a good idea to have on hand as the weather can turn from sunny to cold very quickly at any time of year.
  • Bring plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
  • Check the weather and tide conditions before you go, if possible, and be alert for changing conditions.
  • Be alert for closure signs; even an area you may have been a million times before may change. Heed warnings. 
  • Put out beach fires with water. Come prepared with a bucket. Do not cover fires in the sand; someone may step on buried hot coals or winds may blow the sand off and reignite coals.
  • Leave No Trace: Pack out what you bring in. Don't encourage or feed wildlife - keep them WILD. 
  • Do not approach or harass any animals; this is strictly forbidden by National Park Service regulations. 
  • If you have a life threatening emergenecy, call 911. 


Annual Sand Sculpture Contest at Drakes Beach

Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day