Not many hard and fast guidelines about our Northern California coastal climate. For starters, it is rarely hot, and we rarely get a frost, so no extremes! It never rains in the summer. All year round we have sun, fog, clouds, breezes and wind, and hopefully plenty of rain in winter. It is always best to come prepared for cool-ish weather. That way you’ll be comfy, especially walking on the ocean beaches. Think layers. Think cap, scarf, even light gloves. Think rain gear for winter visits. Think casual and good walking shoes. There is rarely any reason to dress up around here. Even the best of our restaurants are accustomed to locals and visitors in casual dress, although of course it’s also fine to step it up a notch for dinner out.
Enjoying the Great Outdoors
This area is so abundant with trails, beaches, vistas, places to hike, picnic, run, bike ride, boat, bird watch, photograph, swim, tidepool, horseback ride and just relax – it would be impossible to list them all! We suggest you follow some online links if you enjoy planning your time here in advance. Or, when you arrive, visit Park Headquarters or Point Reyes Books to pick up maps and guidebooks and get your bearings. Talk to the friendly locals (ultimately the best source of information!). Here are some resources for you. All of the suggestions listed here are within a short (and beautiful) drive of your lodging at Dancing Coyote Beach.
The Bear Valley Visitor Center (at Park Headquarters) provides an excellent orientation to the park’s roads, trails and beaches, as well as the human and natural history. It’s also a departure point for picnicking and some gentle hikes, as well as a lovely rainy day destination. http://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm Point Reyes Books http://www.ptreyesbooks.com 11315 State Route One, Point Reyes Station 5+ miles from Dancing Coyote Beach This award-winning independent bookstore is a good source for books about the area, a wonderful rainy day hang, and a producer of many excellent evening events. Check out their website.
Beaches on the Ocean The Point Reyes National Seashore is renowned for it’s 80 miles of shoreline. There are drive-to beaches, hike-in beaches, dog–friendly beaches, beaches for tidepooling and beaches where wood fires may be enjoyed with a permit. You’ll find all of those descriptions and details right here: http://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/beaches.htm
Parking areas for all the ocean beaches are between 6-12 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach.
Our favorite ocean beaches include Abbotts Lagoon, Drake’s Beach, Limantour Beach, The Great Beach, Kehoe Beach and McClure’s Beach.
Please note: When visiting some of these ocean beaches, always absolutely respect advisory signs for high surf and sneaker waves.
Beaches on the Bay
Tomales Bay beaches are lovely for swimming on warm summer days, and for picnicking and boating any time of the year. There are also trails through the forest to and from the state park beaches, so you can combine hiking with a bay beach visit.
Treasured local beaches include Chicken Ranch Beach, Shell Beach and Heart’s Desire Beach.Shell Beach requires a short downhill hike to access. Chicken Ranch Beach and Heart’s Desire Beach are drive-to beaches. Shell Beach and Heart’s Desire Beach are part of Tomales Bay State Park, while Chicken Ranch Beach is a county beach.
Heart’s Desire Beach 1208 Pierce Point Road, Inverness CA 94937 4.2 miles to Heart’s Desire Beach from Dancing Coyote Beach Please note: $8 per vehicle entrance fee, payable by cash or cc. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=470 Shell Beach End of Camino del Mar Inverness CA 94937 1.6 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach
Chicken Ranch Beach Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Inverness 1.1 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach
Point Reyes National Seashore includes almost 150 miles of hiking trails, from short and gentle, to steep and challenging. This link is an excellent guide, describing the hikes and providing directions to the trailheads. All within 12 miles of Dancing Coyote Beach. http://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/hiking_guide.htm
Wonderful kayaking in the ocean, estuaries and on Tomales Bay. A full array of services offered from instruction and guides (private or group), or just renting kayaks to do your own thing.
Blue Waters Kayaking Point Reyes Station bluewaterskayaking.com Office is in Point Reyes Station; lessons and guided tours available from many different launch points. bluewaterskayaking.com (415) 669-2600 (415) 663-8192
Five Brooks Stable is a full service riding stable with a concession to operate within Point Reyes National Seashore, specializing in guided trail rides for Park visitors. http://www.fivebrooks.com
Point Reyes Tours www.pointreyestours.com/ Get a tour of the Point Reyes wildlife by a Certified California Naturalist or Certified Interpretive Guide (with a maximum of 8 people). Tours last approximately 4.5 hours. Spotted: gray whales, elephant seals, lots of birds.
Food, Food & More Food
West Marin is heaven for “foodies.” Small organic farms, naturally-raised beef, heavenly oysters, artisan cheese, wood oven-baked bread…. it’s all here - in the restaurants, cafés, markets, and in many cases, right from the source.
West Marin Food and Farm Tours Excellent small group outings with Elizabeth Hill, a gracious and knowledgeable guide. Highly recommended for those who like to be taken care of, to kick back and let someone else do the driving! All tours depart from Point Reyes Station, except the Oyster Lover’s Tour, which departs from Inverness. http://www.foodandfarmtours.com
Restaurant seating is sometimes in high demand, so we suggest making reservations for the places that accept them, when you are able to plan ahead. Also, double check on days and hours of operation, which fluctuate with the seasons.
Saltwater Oyster Depot (and Restaurant and Wine Shop) In“Downtown” Inverness, steps away from Dancing Coyote 12781 Sir Francis Drake Blvd Inverness, CA 94937 415-669-1244 http://www.saltwateroysterdepot.com Top quality, chill vibe, nice people.. This place is all kinds of wonderful. Intimate room, fine food and wine. Reservations only for parties of 6 or more. Enjoy a glass of wine on the patio if you need to wait for a table or bar seating. Monday prix fixe dinners, Tuesday closed, Wednesday – Friday bar open 4:00-5:00 p.m., dinner 5:00-9:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday lunch 11-3, bar open 4-5, dinner 5-9 p.m.
The Tap Room Connected to Inverness Park Market, 2.5 miles south of Dancing Coyote Beach 12301 Sir Francis Drake Blvd Inverness, CA 94937 (415) 663-1491 https://invernessparkmarket.com/tap-room-menu/ Serving dinner with a lovely wine selection with small batch, mostly organic wines, beers and such. The whole menu changes daily. Delicious, locally sourced food with a casual vibe. Monday – Thursday 4 – 8pm, Friday 4 – 9pm, Saturday 11am – 9pm, Sunday 11am – 8pm, Happy Hour Weekdays 4 – 6pm
Station House Café 11180 Highway One Point Reyes Station 415-663-1515 4+ miles from Dancing Coyote Beach http://stationhousecafe.com Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this café is a crowd-pleaser, with a broad menu offering something for everyone. Great music in the bar Sundays at 5 p.m. Open 6 days, closed on Wednesdays. Breakfast 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Lunch 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Bar Menu 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., Dinner 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (until 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays).
Café Reyes 11101 Highway One Point Reyes Station 4+ miles from Dancing Coyote Beach 415-663-9493 Down home café, featuring really good wood oven-fired pizzas. Reasonably priced. Indoor and outdoor seating. No reservations. Open daily noon to 9:00 p.m.
Picnic Fare, Groceries and Dining In Your Cottage
Inverness Park Market 12301 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Inverness Park 2.5 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach 415-663-1491 https://invernessparkmarket.com/local-food/ Monday-Thursday: 6:30am-8:00pm Friday: 6:30am-9:00pm Saturday: 7:00am-9:00pm Sunday 7:00am-7:00pm We love this little market! A great place to grab a quick bite - to sit outside on a couple of curbside tables or take with you to beach or trail. Also daily special take out dinner, if you want to dine in, and plenty of grocery selections if you want to cook.
Cowgirl Creamery Point Reyes Station 5 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach cowgirlcreamery.com Open Thursday through Monday, 11am-4pm Premiere cheese selection (tastings welcome!), and a great take-out cantina. You can picnic right there on their lawn, or take it to go.
Palace Market 11300 Highway One Point Reyes Station 5 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach 415-663-1016 http://palacemarket.com Monday – Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. West Marin’s one and only supermarket. Well-stocked for every need. Deli in the back for sandwiches.
Seafood Shacks and Oyster Farms
Marshall Store http://themarshallstore.com 19225 Highway One Marshall 13 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach 415-663-1339 Great oysters (and other options), a seafood shack with charm and soul for days, right on the bay. For the full experience, dress warm to sit outside (although there is seating inside as well).
Hog Island Oyster Company 20215 Highway One Marshall 13.9 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach 415-663-9218 http://hogislandoysters.com Open 9-5 daily for buying oysters to go, picnic reservations available daily from 10:30-5, and The Boat, the farm’s oyster bar, is open Friday-Monday 11:30-4 p.m.
Tomales Bay Oyster Company 15479 Highway One Marshall 9.7 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach 415-663-1242 http://tomalesbayoysters.com Open every day 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Onsite picnicking welcome.
Coffee and Bakeries
Bovine Bakery 11315 Highway One Point Reyes Station 5 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach 415-663-9420 http://www.thebovinebakery.com Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 7 a.m.-5 p.m. An institution! Bicyclists ride over the mountain with a cup of strong Bovine coffee and a pastry on their minds. Often a line out the door, but it moves quickly
Toby’s Coffee Bar Point Reyes Station 11250 Star Route One www.tobyscoffee.com 5 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach tobyscoffee.com Every day 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m. A treasured local hang. Great espresso and fresh pastries (be sure to try a Brickmaiden scone or biscotti). The coffee bar is inside of Toby’s Feed Barn, and everything about this place is worth exploring!
Vladimir’s 12785 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Inverness A one-of-a-kind spot across the road from Dancing Coyote Beach 415-669-1021 Open Tuesday 5-10 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday noon to 10 p.m.
Old Western Saloon 11201 Highway One Point Reyes Station 5 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach 415-663-1661 Thursday-Sunday 12pm-12am Friday and Saturday 12pm-2am The real deal rural dive bar - juke box, occasional live music, a small dance floor and pool tables in the back. On the right night, this place becomes an old-school hootenanny.
Station House Bar in the Station House Café 11180 Highway One, Point Reyes Station 415-663-1515 4+ miles from Dancing Coyote Beach http://stationhousecafe.com Closes around 9 p.m. Nice room. You can order food from the café in the bar as well. Really good live music Sundays at 5 p.m.
Annual and Seasonal Events
Our local celebrations are truly small town and delightful. If you are here on these dates, please consider joining us.
Point Reyes Farmers Market Late June until early November, every Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. An award-winning, all organic, all local market, with great food, music and chefs demonstrations. Not to be missed! At Toby’s Feed Barn 11250 Highway One, Point Reyes Station http://www.pointreyesfarmersmarket.org
Western Weekend Parade First Sunday in June at noon, a great little parade down the main street of Point Reyes Station, followed by the annual chicken barbeque. A classic event!
Path of Lights and Annual Craft Fair First Friday of December at dusk in downtown Point Reyes Station. Many shops stay open late. Lots going on at Toby’s Feed Barn, right in the center of town. The Holiday Fair opens at the Dance Palace Community Center, is open throughout the weekend.
Point Reyes Open Studios Memorial Day Weekend and Thanksgiving Weekend http://www.pointreyesart.com A chance to experience some of the bountiful artistic talent that thrives in West Marin. It’s fun to visit studios, which can take you up into the hills and to surprising locations tucked here and there.
Far West Fest Annual summer music festival, voted Best in Marin. Check our local, non-commercial, listener-sponsored radio station KWMR for dates and details. http://www.kwmr.org KWMR is another great glimpse into our community. Tune in to 90.5 fm, or stream it online.
Inverness Fair Dates in August TBA. Annual summer event right down First Valley, directly across from Dancing Coyote Beach. You can’t miss it!
If you bring your raingear, and are feeling hearty, you can still enjoy walking the beaches and trails in a light rain. Or driving out to Point Reyes North Beach, one can watch fabulous surf from the comfort of your vehicle. Here are some of our favorite alternatives to enjoy your time here on wet days. In addition to these, there are many lovely shops and several galleries to visit in Inverness Park and Point Reyes Station, as well as well as our local libraries in Inverness and Point Reyes Station. Here are a few suggestions:
Bear Valley Visitor Center At Point Reyes National Seashore Headquarters 1 Bear Valley Road, Point Reyes Station 5+ miles from Dancing Coyote Beach 415-464-5100 http://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm Open Weekdays from 10 am to 5:00 pm and Weekends and holidays from 9 am to 5:00 pm, and until 4:30 p.m. in the winter months.
Jack Mason Museum of West Marin History 15 Park Ave (inside the Inverness Library), Inverness One block from Dancing Coyote Beach http://jackmasonmuseum.org 415-669-1099 Open Monday 3-6 and 7-9 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2 p.m.-6 p.m., Friday 3-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Gallery Route One 11101 Highway One, Point Reyes Station 5 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach 415-663-1347 http://galleryrouteone.org Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Tuesdays An excellent non-profit, community-based, artist-run gallery, with several exhibition spaces.
Coyuchi 11101 Highway One, Ste 201, Point Reyes Station 5 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach (415) 663-8077 www.coyuchi.com Open Mon-Sun 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Coyuchi is one of our favorite shops in town because it's where we get we get many of our organic linens for Dancing Coyote Beach. The shop has both a retail section and an outlet with deeply discounted items and get 20% off your purchase of $200 or more.
Vita Collage 11275 State Rt One Point Reyes Station, CA 94956 5 miles from Dancing Coyote Beach www.vitacollage.com Sat & Sun 10:30 to 5:00 , Mon & Tues 12:00 to 4:00 , Thurs & Fri, 11:00 to 4:30, closed Wed This is just a beautiful boutique, full of lovely things for your home and your person.
If you find yourself looking for a little something to do in the evening, check out the excellent cultural offerings of our community center and bookstore, both in Point Reyes Station. Some events are during the day as well.