Just over an hour's drive from San Francisco lies Point Reyes, one of the most beautiful spots on the West Coast. It's probably on your radar and maybe even at the top of your bucket list. With the holiday weekend coming up (January 18th is Martin Luther King Jr. Day), it's a great time to make that short drive and explore this local treasure.
The counter-clockwise 56-mile loop up to Point Reyes Station takes in a wide variety of the roads and scenery that makes Marin such a special place to spin. There are a few challenging climbs in the 3,800 feet of elevation gain and you’ll have a number of excellent opportunities for pace-lining should you make this a group ride. Expect bucolic scenery and spectacular vistas.
Heading to the Unknown Coast in Point Reyes National Seashore, we made our way over to Elephant Sea Cave—a short but slow and difficult scramble south of rocky McClures Beach—named after nearby Elephant Rock, shaped like, well, an elephant.
Rugged headlands, brushy hillsides, piney ridges, and pocket beaches—Point Reyes is a soul-soothing stretch of California coast that's less than half a gas tank from San Francisco. And when the day-tripping tourists leave, you've got it virtually to yourself. Accessible only by a 2- to 5-mile walk, Point Reyes' hike-in campgrounds are the best way to experience the Bay's favorite coastal wilderness wonderland. Grab one by reserving ahead or sacrificing some sleep (see below). Coast Campground is only a 1- to 2-minute walk from sublime Santa Maria beach, which is nearly vacant toward the end of the day.