Scenic California Vacations: Point Reyes National Seashore
Located just 30 minutes north of San Francisco, Point Reyes National Seashore is a unique California collection of wildlife, marine life and plants. This area ranges from rocky ocean breakers to open grasslands with wildflowers and visitors can discover over 1000 different species of plants and animals.
The cultural history of Point Reyes goes back almost 5,000 years to the Coast Miwok Indians. The Miwok were the first known inhabitants of the Peninsula and over 120 known archeological sites exist within the park. In the late 1800’s and 1900’s, the U.S. Government established key lighthouse and lifesaving stations along the coast, and the original lighthouse built as part of this order still stands at Point Reyes.
As the population continues to grow in California and the wildlife suffers from expansion, the importance of this national reserve becomes more relevant. Over 45 percent of avian species in North America and almost 18 percent of California’s plant species are found in Point Reyes National Seashore. This area is also home to thirty-eight threatened and endangered species.
Recent species inventories estimate 80 species of mammals, 85 species of fish, almost 30 species of reptiles and amphibians and thousands of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrate species. Additionally, nearly half of the 490 bird species native to North America has been spotted here.
Point Reyes National Seashore is a great place to bring the family and share the wonder of nature with your children. Their firsthand witness will encourage them to be conscious of the future of California’s wildlife.
The park also offers miles of trails that are seasonally open for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. There are also several ranger-led walks along the many trails in the park. If you visit the park between the months of January to April, you will likely see the annual migration of the Gray Whale along the California coast. The Point Reyes lighthouse is open during the spring and summer for historical tours, but must be accessed by shuttle bus. For those not able to hike or bike, you can drive through some of the park and stop at points of interest.
For a wonderful California wildlife experience, Point Reyes National Seashore is a must-see destination.