|One of the great benefits of Cottages at Point Reyes Seashore is the setting. The 15 wooded acres of the Inn offer on-site activities for everyone: hiking the valley's trails, playing tennis, swimming in the pool, soaking in the hot tub, playing horseshoes, basketball, bird watching ... or a barbeque! We also encourage you to relax in a hammock for an afternoon nap, meet new friends who share your love of nature, or explore the 75,000 acre Point Reyes National Seashore with its rugged coastline, miles of sandy beaches, pastoral grasslands and forested ridges.!
Point Reyes National Seashore and Tomales Bay State Park offer countless off-site things to do and see for the entire family. Point Reyes lighthouse, unique and inspiring geological formations, the ocean, the bay, an elk preserve, a marine reserve, whales and elephant seals, miles and miles of hiking trails, historic ranches, kayaking, biking, bird-watching, and more!
You don't need to get into a car to find beautiful and serene nature walks. On our property our guests can walk the back nature trail following the creek valley to a private back meadow with places to sit and comtemplate nature. You can also wander off to Chicken Ranch Beach and Shell Beach on Tomales Bay. From the entrance to Shell Beach you can take a beautiful hiking trail through Tomales State Park to Heart's Desire Beach.
Birders enjoy the diverse avifauna in our valley in addition to the well-known birding spots nearby.
Point Reyes National Seashore offers some of the finest birdwatching in the United States. More than 70,000 acres of habitat harbor an incredible variety of bird life. Nearly 490 avian species have been observed in the park and on adjacent waters. Our valley is home to more than 65 bird species, including a family of ospreys that nest in plain view -- returning every year. Spend some quiet time birding here and you may add to our bird list!
The park's coastal location and its wealth of unspoiled habitats, estuaries, grasslands, coastal scrub and forest all attract many migrating and wintering birds. The projection of the peninsula some 10 miles seaward from the "mainland" makes Point Reyes National Seashore a landing spot for many vagrants — birds that may have made errors in navigation and thus are unexpected in this area.
All of these factors account for the Point Reyes area consistently reporting one of the highest tallies in the nation every year during the Christmas bird count.
Engaging in the longest migration of any mammal, the California gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) swims 16,000 kilometers (10,000 miles) each year, spending about one third of its life migrating from the cold, nutrient-rich waters of Alaska, to the warm, shallow lagoons of Baja California. Along the way, these incredible animals can often be seen from the shores of Point Reyes. What drives the gray whale to undertake this incredible annual round trip from Alaska to Baja? Food and reproduction.
Jutting 16 kilometers (10 miles) into the Pacific Ocean, the headlands of the Point Reyes Peninsula offer one of the finest spots to view the gray whale. The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary provides a 32-kilometer (20-mile) wide "highway" along which the whales cruise; sometimes they travel in the close lane (nearer to shore), and sometimes they travel in the far lane (farther out to sea). The areas around Chimney Rock and the Lighthouse offer some of the best whale watching spots in the park.
After being absent for more than 150 years, elephant seals returned to the sandy Point Reyes Headlands in the early 1970s. In 1981, the first breeding pair was discovered near Chimney Rock. Since then, researchers have found that the colony is growing at a dramatic annual average rate of 16 percent. Fanning out from their initial secluded spot, the seals have expanded to popular beaches.
From December through March a breeding colony of elephant seals can be observed from Elephant Seal Overlook near Chimney Rock, above beautiful Drakes Bay. The males are the first to arrive here, in December, to stake out a claim on the beach. Then pregnant females begin to arrive and soon give birth to a single pup. Subadult and juvenile animals arrive and the colony can number close to one hundred animals.
From the Overlook you can witness the fascinating behavior of these animals, including male dominance contests, birthing of pups and the interactions of mothers and pups. You will hear the distinctive vocalizations of females, pups and the powerful trumpeting of the adult males (bulls) which can be heard for over a mile.
During weekends and holidays, highly trained docents staff the Overlook. They have binoculars, spotting scopes, and a wealth of information to share with you.
HORSE BACK RIDING
Horses and other pack animals are permitted on most established trails and beaches at Point Reyes National Seashore. They may not travel off trail because conditions are not maintained for their safety, and their presence can negatively impact the environment. You can stop by one of the park's Visitor Centers to pick up a trail map and obtain more information.
Five Brooks Stables (415-663-1570) is a full service riding stable with a concession to operate within the National Seashore. They offer a variety of activities and services, including guided trail rides.
Point Reyes National Seashore provides a variety of on- and off-road biking opportunities traversing diverse habitats and terrains. You can bike the roads or explore trails through evergreen forests, coastal scrub, or along estuaries and beach bluffs.
Visitor Centers offer a free map of the park's trails, indicating which trails are designated for bike travel. Point Reyes permits biking only outside of wilderness areas along emergency access/dirt fire roads, paved roads and a few single-track trails.
Bicycles may be rented in Point Reyes Station (by prior reservation) at Point Reyes Outdoors (415- 663-8330).
Tomales Bay is the largest "unspoiled" watershed and wetlands on the California coastline. Kayak rentals and classes are available at Blue Waters Kayaking (415-669-2600). Guided Kayak tours and classes are conducted by Point Reyes Outdoors (415-663-8330).