Beach + Island

Hidden Beaches

by Bob Payne

California Dreaming

Spread Your Towel: Wildcat Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Shore lines: Since you have to walk more than five miles to reach it, you won't be fighting the crowds for a spot on this isolated stretch of sand 30 miles north of San Francisco. Use your isolation to go for long, barefoot walks or, January through May, look for migrating gray whales. Failing that, just sit on the beach and watch the frothy pileup of Pacific swells that may have come—or so it is easy to imagine—all the way from Japan. In the evening, if you have remembered to get the necessary permit (this is a National Seashore, after all), build a fire at the tide line and toast your good fortune with marshmallows.

Best Bunk: After making the effort to hike in, you'll be glad to unroll your sleeping bag at the Wildcat Campground. It has seven backcountry campsites in a meadow on a bluff overlooking the ocean, and is within steps of the beach. A permit is required and the sites are popular, so make a reservation up to three months before your arrival.

Point Reyes National Seashore
Tel: 415 663 8054
$15 per campsite, for up to six people

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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