Wild Beaches

Beyond Stinson and Bolinas exist a bevy of wild beaches that turn a typical day on the sand into a truly memorable coastal adventure. Whether you’re looking to hike, tide-pool or simply relax with your family, these five littoral treasures — located within Tomales Bay State Park and Point Reyes National Seashore — are uniquely tailored to visitor needs.


1. Abbotts Lagoon Beach

An hour walk through coastal shrubs, past two jewel-like lagoons and sandy dunes — the well-protected home of the snowy plover shorebird — culminates at this seaside spread, ideal for bird-watching during migratory seasons.

IF YOU GO Free parking.Restrooms at parking lot. 1.5-mile walk to beach. No dogs, no bikes, no horses.

2. Heart’s Desire

Ideal for family fun, this Tomales Bay beach is fully equipped with amenities for picnics, as well as easy parking. Bring the kids to the sandy stretch for a day of swimming and sunshine.

IF YOU GO $8 parking. Restrooms, picnic tables, charcoal grills and drinking fountains. No dogs.

3. Kehoe Beach

Kehoe’s seemingly never-ending shores are supplemented by an equally ample maze of sand dunes ideal for exploring and privacy. Be sure to check out the Laird Sandstone and the granite cliffs at the north end of the beach.

IF YOU GO Free parking along Pierce Point Road. Restrooms near trailhead. 0.6-mile walk to beach. Leashed dogs permitted north of the trailhead.

4. Wildcat Beach

The nearly 6-mile hike to the ocean means this area stays quiet, and an accompanying campground makes an overnight an appealing option. Be sure to walk to Alamere Falls.

IF YOU GO Free parking at Palomarin trailhead. Restrooms, picnic tables, water faucets and charcoal grills at Wildcat Camp. 5.5-mile walk to beach. No dogs.

5. Shell Beach

Stroll down the wooded path to reach this two-part Tomales Bay beach. Shell One is a bit larger and a favorite of families; cross the bridge and follow the uphill path to reach Shell Two, a popular stop-off for kayakers.

IF YOU GO Free parking in lot (end of Camino del Mar). Restrooms at Shell One and Two. 0.5-mile walk to beach. No dogs.

Categories: Summer Guide, Travel+Outdoors