Point Reyes National Seashore has more natural wonders than you could ever hope to absorb in one day, so you might as well camp out.
All four of Point Reyes' hike-in campgrounds have a privy and running water. The main challenge -- almost as daunting as lugging 40 pounds of camping gear several miles on foot -- is securing a campsite: reservations go quickly, particularly during spring and summer weekends.
But given that Point Reyes is one of the top vacation destinations on the West Coast, why not take a midweek mini-holiday and enjoy the park without so many people around?
When to go:
Springtime's the best, when the hills are green and the wildflowers are popping. Summers are typically foggy along the coast, but autumn is warmer and sunnier. Winters are rainy, but you might get a chance to spot migrating whales.
Cliffs and tides:
The park's high cliffs are extremely dangerous -- soil at the edge can give way with fatal results. If you're planning to explore the beach, make sure you know when high tide comes in -- don't get stranded by high water.
To reserve a site, call (415) 663-8054 between 9 am and 2 pm (Pacific time) Monday through Friday. These are the only times reservations will be taken.
Must reads: Fees and reservations
| Camping rules
| Campsite descriptions
| Driving directions
What to bring:
Trail maps, available at the Bear Valley Visitors Center (PDF downloads at this link
Overnight backpacking gear - tent, stove, sleeping bag/pad.
Enough food to last your entire stay.
Flashlight or headlamp for after-dark outings.
Water purification as a backup precaution.
Point Reyes on Everytrail: Guides