Place

South Beach at Point Reyes Beach

Large waves crash onto a sandy beach on a mostly cloudy day. Rocky headlands rise in the background.
Large waves crash at South Beach. Keep your eyes on the ocean and never turn your back to the ocean.

NPS / A. Kopshever

Quick Facts

Beach/Water Access, Parking - Auto, Pets Allowed, Recycling, Restroom, Restroom - Accessible, Toilet - Flush, Trash/Litter Receptacles

Point Reyes Beach—also known as Great Beach and Ten Mile Beach—is an incredible expanse of undeveloped ocean beach. It stretches over 11-miles (~18-kilometers) from Tomales Point and Kehoe Beach at its north end to the Point Reyes Headlands at its south end. The section of this beach referred to as "South Beach" gets its name because it is adjacent to the southernmost parking lot for Point Reyes Beach, e.g., the Point Reyes Beach South parking lot, even though it is over 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers) north of the south end of the beach.

To get onto South Beach, walk to the restroom building at the south end of the parking lot, then follow the sandy pathway located just north of the restroom building that leads toward the beach. Please stay out of the dune restoration area west of the parking lot.

 

Beach Safety

If you are looking to observe the drama of heavy surf and large waves, this is the place to be. However, never turn your back to the ocean and stay well away from the water's edge. Due to the frequently large surf, this is not a beach at which it is safe to play close to the water's edge, much less to go for a swim. Sneakers waves frequently hit unexpecting visitors playing at or taking photographs close to the water's edge, some of whom have then been pulled into the ocean and drowned. The ocean water may be as low as 50°F (10°C). Hypothermia, sneaker waves, and rip currents are just a few beach hazards of which visitors should be aware while visiting Point Reyes Beaches. Please visit our Safety Issues Associated with Beaches page for more information.

Seasonal Beach Closure

Elephant seals congregate at the south end of the beach near the base of the Point Reyes Headlands throughout the year. From December 15 to March 31, the southern end of South Point Reyes Beach is closed to all entry to protect nursing elephant seal pups.

Park Regulations

  • Glass: Glass containers are prohibited on all Point Reyes Beaches.
  • Take only pictures; leave only footprints: Almost everything one finds at Point Reyes' beaches is protected by law, including shells, rocks, fossils, flowers, and artifacts.
  • Wildlife: Do not chase or feed the gulls (or any other birds) and keep your distance from seals and sea lions. Observe elephant seals respectfully.
  • Drones: Launching, landing, or operating a drone from or on lands and waters within the boundaries of Point Reyes National Seashore is prohibited.
  • Metal-detectors: Metal-detectors are prohibited throughout the National Seashore.
  • Pets: Pets are permitted on South Beach and must be on a 6-foot-long (1.8-meter) or shorter leash at all times. Visit our Pets page for more information.
  • Camping: Camping on South Beach is prohibited. Parking your vehicle overnight in the parking lot is prohibited. Visit our Backcountry Camping page for more information on camping at Point Reyes.
  • Wood fires: A permit is required to have a wood fire at any beach in Point Reyes National Seashore. Visit our Beach Fires page for more information.
  • Fishing: Fishing is permitted at South Beach. Visit our Fishing page for more information and specific regulations.

Visit the park's Beaches of Point Reyes page for more details.

Help Keep Your Beaches Clean!

Follow Leave No Trace Principles to reduce our impact on the places we love. Please help protect marine life and keep your park beaches clean by disposing trash in the garbage cans located at the parking lot. If you build any driftwood structures during your visit, please disassemble them before you leave.

Point Reyes National Seashore

Last updated: November 27, 2021