Highlights: Replete with tide pools, Agate Beach boasts a walkable two miles of sometimes rocky shore. Named after the semiprecious stones found in the pebbly sand, it is great place for a picnic, though it can get windy. Exploring the tide pools and watching whales, sea lions, shorebirds and other wildlife are popular here. Swimming is not advised because of the sharp drop-off and powerful riptide, yet fishing is allowed with a California state fishing license.
Parking: Park at the Agate Beach campground and take the steps down to the beach, or park at the Big Lagoon County Park day use area.
Dogs: Permitted, but must be leashed at all times
Facilities: Portable restrooms in parking lot
Food: Restaurants in nearby Bolinas
Directions: From Point Reyes National Seashore’s Bear Valley Visitor Center, head north to Bear Valley Road (there are no large signs for this intersection). Turn right and follow the Olema Bolinas Road south to the junction with Horseshoe Hill Road. Turn left and follow the Olema Bolinas Road south to Mesa Road. Turn right and follow Mesa west to Overlook Drive. Turn left and follow Overlook south to Elm Road. Turn right and follow Elm east to the junction of Ocean Parkway. The parking lot for Agate Beach County Park is ahead to the left.
Highlights: This gem of a beach is popular for its light rolling waves, ideal for all levels of surfing or paddleboarding, and its low-key and dog-friendly vibe. But because it’s not very big, especially during high tide it can be crowded. Bolinas is also great for swimming, supervised little-kid boogie-boarding, and rock collecting at the southern edge along the entrance to the lagoon. SUP and surfboard rentals are at 2-mile Surf Shop on the road to the beach.
Parking: Street parking (tight in the afternoon)
Facilities: Restrooms near tennis courts in nearby park
Food: Delis and stores in Bolinas
Directions: On Highway One, take a left onto Olema Bolinas Road, which will become Wharf Road. Go straight here, through town, to the end of the road, or turn left at Brighton Avenue and follow it to the end of the road. There are two entrances to Bolinas Beach.