My mother-in-law visited us over the Thanksgiving weekend, and we wanted to show her how wonderful and beautiful Northern California truly is. Her last visit to the Bay Area was tainted by never-ending traffic everywhere we went. We sat in the car for hours just to visit a Carmel for 2 hours and then hopped back in the car to then sit in traffic for another 4 hours to make it back home for dinner. Who can blame her for being frustrated?
This time, we decided to go north. Exploring the Bay Area in the fall / winter season meant less crowds, which also meant less traffic. My mother-in-law also loves hiking and being one with nature, so Point Reyes was the perfect getaway destination.
Point Reyes National Park is one of my favorite Northern California parks. It’s enormous, so every time we visit, we only cover a sliver of what we wish we could see. But, it keeps us coming back for more!
This time around, we hiked 5 miles of gorgeous vegetation and coastal views. We started at the Laguna Loop Trailhead and at the intersection, turned right towards the Fire Lane Trail, continuing onto the Coastal Trail. Along the trail, there is access to an amazing beach with cliff views and great bird watching.
After the hike, we headed to The Marshall Store in Marshall, California, just 15 minutes outside of the park. I feel like every time we visit Point Reyes, we have to have grilled oysters, clam chowder and a fish plate at The Marshall Store. It’s so good that even Phil will wait in the oftentimes crazy long lines to get those oysters! Because of the holiday weekend, the line was, of course, a bit of a wait, but usually, if you get there around opening time or later in the afternoon, the crowds have died down. Most of their tables are outside, so bring a jacket or blanket.
With our bellies full of seafood, we headed to Tomales Bay Trailhead to explore the grasslands. The grass was a vibrant green, cows were grazing idly along the walking path and the bay was perfectly calm.
We enjoyed the gorgeous, lush, seemingly untouched views as we wound back down the road to the Bay Area. We are so lucky to have this little piece of heaven right in our backyard!