Did you get out to the Chabot Space and Science Center last week? We really enjoy this spot. It's relaxed atmosphere is really refreshing. Quite a gem in the east bay hills.
This week’s adventure finds us driving up north over the Golden Gate Bridge and out to Point Reyes. I find these costal hikes quite invigorating at this time of the year, and the views are generally breathtaking especially leading up to a storm. Sunday night there is a storm forecast so be sure you dress appropriately.
The other benefit is that places like this should be less crowded too. I was just reading that the Point Reyes Visitor Center has just shortened it's hours too (9am - 4:30pm on weekends). Also I was reading that the front door to the visitor center is being repaired, so entrance is through the back. This is a drive on some twisty roads, so if anyone has a tendency to get car sick, you might want to be prepared. I haven’t visited Point Reyes since middle school, so I’m quite excited to go this weekend, I think we’ll be headed up early Saturday morning.
Pack a lunch, grab some warm coats, hop in the car, and lets get rolling!
Also let us know if you go, we would love to hear about your trip. Simply reply to this e-mail. And please feel free to forward this to a friend.
Chief Happiness Officer at kiddiewalks.com
A project from aSmarterParent.com
1-2-3 Things — Earn your Point Reyes Junior Ranger Badge
Quick inspiration for a day out with the kids around the SF Bay Area
Pit Stop at Point Reyes Station
Visit the Bear Valley Visitor Center
Take a walk down to the Point Reyes Lighthouse
Pit Stop at Point Reyes Station
It’s bound to be a long drive, so this is a good change to get out of the car and unwind a little before heading to the Bear Valley Visitor center. It’s been year since I’ve passed through here, but I recall a lovely little town to stroll around, maybe grab a coffee and a snack, and start getting a sense of the land around you.
You may have visited Cowgirl Creamery at the Ferry building in San Francisco, but they got their start here at Pt Reyes Station. Stop off and pick up a delicious treat and some crackers for your lunch a little later. I’ve been curios to visit Marin Sun Farms for quite a while, they have a fascinating sustainable approach to their craft, and what sounds like a wonderful butcher shop and restaurant. And Toby’s Feed Barn is a general store with some wonderful finds, a nice spot to grab a coffee, or just some fruit for your picnic lunch later.
The Bear Valley Visitor Center
This should be your first stop on the way into the park. This should be a good opportunity to pick up a map, chat with a ranger, and pick up your Junior Ranger books (the link is above if you’d like to download and print them out ahead of time). There seem to be two different Junior Ranger programs available here, the standard one and the underwater one. There appear to be a number of exhibits here, and they suggest to allow 45 minutes to and hour to visit.
Point Reyes Lighthouse
On your way out to the light house driving up Sir Frances Drake Blvd toward Inverness, keep your eyes open for the shipwreck in Tomales Bay. The Cypress Tree Tunnel, an incredibly picturesque spot is just a bit further along on the way to your destination. This is probably the most twisty part of the drive, so just take your time.
The lighthouse has been in operation since 1870, it’s Fresnel lens built in France and shipped around the tip of South America to a small level platform dynamited 300 feet below the edge of the cliff above. It took 6 weeks to lower the materials and build the lighthouse awaiting the Fresnel lens. They had to go to so much effort because the lighthouse had to be below the fog line in order to be effective. On the day of the 1906 earthquake, the lighthouse shifted 18 feet in less than a minute and the lighthouse keepers had it operational again that night. During the winter months this is a wonderful stop to come whale watching (although you will have to take a shuttle bus to the lighthouse instead of drive).
- This is a long drive, might be a good opportunity from an audio book (we like Audible) or pop a movie on in the back seat.
- Be prepared for any kind of weather. On the coast like this, conditions can change dramatically.
- On your way north, why not stop at the rest area just over the Golden Gate Bridge and snap a photo?
- Want to know more about the farms surrounding here, check out http://foodandfarmtours.com/
- There are campsite and a Youth Hostel located out here, http://www.norcalhostels.org/reyes (they have family accommodations)
- Sir Frances Drake supposedly anchored here in his explorations (hence the reference to Drake’s Bay and Sir Frances Drake blvd). He purportedly left a plaque here signifying the event, and there was a hoax dating back to 1933 where some locals “found the plaque” although it has since been proven to be fake. Maybe you can keep your eyes open for the real one, read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake%27s_Plate_of_Brass