Point Reyes National Seashore contains approximately 130 kilometers (80 miles) of shoreline, much of which park visitors may safely explore. Some beaches—such as Palomarin and Sculptured Beaches—are good for tidepooling, while other beaches are covered by vast expanses of sand.
Getting to the Beaches
Visitors may drive almost right up to Drakes Beach, Limantour Beach, and the Great Beach (at the North and South Beach parking lots). The rest of the park's shoreline may only be accessed by trail or by boat. For driving directions to beaches or trailheads for beaches, visit our Directions to Park Destinations page.
The ocean water may be as low as 10°C (50°F), so those without wetsuits rarely stay in the water for long. Hypothermia, sneaker waves, and rip currents are just a few of the hazards of which visitors should be aware. Please visit our Safety Issues Associated with Beaches page.
Beaches may be closed at various times of the year to better protect northern elephant seals and harbor seals during their pupping seasons, western snowy plovers while they are nesting, or for visitor safety. Please visit our Current Conditions page to learn about any current beach closures.
Rules and Regulations
While most beach-goers follow park rules and regulations and Leave No Trace principles, every now and then, park staff encounter someone who isn't taking only pictures and leaving only footprints. Some of the park regulations commonly violated by beach-goers include:
Please visit our Park Regulations page to familiarize yourself with some of the other rules pertaining to visiting the park.
If you observe violations of any of the above regulations in Point Reyes National Seashore, please call park dispatch at 415-464-5170 or contact staff at the nearest Visitor Center as soon as possible. If you observe drone use in other National Park Service areas or if you find photographs or videos online or elsewhere that were illegally taken within National Park Service areas from drones, you can report the violation to the National Park Service tip line at 888-653-0009 or by email.
Although it is not a regulation, the following request is in line with Leave No Trace principles: if you build any driftwood structures during your visit, take them down before leaving the beach so that future visitors arriving at the beach might have the chance of feeling as if they are the first persons to set foot on the beach.
Help Keep Your Beaches Clean
The beaches of Point Reyes frequently are named as some of California's cleanest beaches. Please help protect marine life and keep your park's beaches clean by disposing of refuse in the garbage cans/dumpsters located at beach and trailhead parking lots. Or come out to help clean up the beaches on California Coastal Cleanup Day on the third Saturday of September.
We hope that your visit to these beaches is safe and enjoyable.
Descriptions of Beaches
Abbotts Lagoon Beach
A 2.5-kilometer (1.5-mile) walk through coastal scrub, across a bridge over a stream between two lagoons, and over sand dunes brings you to this ocean beach. The lagoons attract large numbers of migrating shorebirds in the fall, followed by the wintering ducks. Occasionally peregrine falcons are seen selecting their meals amongst these tasty morsels. The sand dunes backing the beach are home to the threatened western snowy plover. The eggs and young of this ground-nesting bird are easily destroyed. Be especially careful in this area during their nesting season, June 1–September 15.
Heart's Desire Beach
Heart's Desire Beach is part of Tomales Bay State Park. It is a nice sheltered cove on Tomales Bay that is excellent for families with small children. The ocean water tends to be a little warmer at this beach.
Palomarin Beach is at the south end of Point Reyes, between Bolinas Point and Wildcat Beach. This trail is a strenuous walk down the cliff. The beach is good for tidepooling at minus tides.
Trail Closure: On September 24, 2020, Palomarin Beach Trail was determined to be unsafe due to unstable and failing sections of the trail and is closed to all visitors, employees and residents until further notice.
Last updated: November 29, 2021