75 votes

Tomales Bay State Park

1100 Pierce Point Rd, Inverness, California 94937 USA

Open Now
Mon 8a-7p
  • Independent
  • Wheelchair
  • Public
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“opened to the public in 1952!”

The Coast Miwok people were the first to inhabit the coastal area of sheltered coves, beaches, tidal marshes, and forest of Bishop pines now known as Tomales Bay State Park, forty miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge.  One of the most popular sites at Tomales Bay is the wreck of the Point Reyes, an abandoned fishing boat. It is located near Point Reyes National Seashore, and is a popular photographic subject. Sir Francis Drake was the first explorer to land in this area in 1579, followed by the Spanish in 1595. Russian and German scientists explored the area in the early 1800s.  In the 1940s real estate developers began to purchase large areas of beachfront land, prompting local residents and conservation groups to save this area as a park. In 1952, Tomales Bay State Park was formally dedicated and opened to the public.  The day-use park features four gently sloping, surf-free beaches, protected from winds by Inverness Ridge, the backbone of the Point Reyes Peninsula. The park has hiking trails and is a popular place for picnicking, swimming, clamming and boating. Dogs are not permitted on the beaches or trails. The park includes forests, beaches, field, hills, meadows and marshes - each with its own plant life, including varieties of trees, shrubs and wildflowers.  One of the finest remaining virgin groves of Bishop pine in California is in the park's Jepson Memorial Grove, reached by way of a one mile long trail.  Wildlife in the area includes foxes, raccoons, badgers, weasels, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, deer, bobcats, skunks, wood rats, field mice, moles and other animals.  There are also land and sea birds, including the spotted owl, quail, goldfinches, puffins, great blue heron, pelicans, ruddy ducks, woodpeckers, meadowlarks - and more.  Gopher snakes, garter snakes, lizards, and monarch butterflies make the park their home. In the beach areas, several variety of clams live, as do many other kinds of fish. Parking Fees:  There is an $8 per vehicle entrance fee ($7 for anyone 62 or over) required for parking at Tomales Bay State Park - Heart’s Desire Beach and Vista Point.   Fees are payable by Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card only. Please be aware that citations may be issued for nonpayment of parking fees.   Group Outings:  Heart’s Desire Beach is very popular during summer weekends, especially on holiday weekends, and parking is limited.  Groups meeting at Heart’s Desire Beach on a weekend/holiday should consider carpooling to the extent possible.  If the group cannot carpool then plan arriving at or near the same time. Since cell phone coverage in this area is very limited, it may be difficult for members of the group to comunicate with one another if they are separated.   Once the parking lots have filled, the park is closed and no additional cars will be permitted - even to drop off people or load /unload equipment.  Please be aware that on a busy weekend the parking lots can fill as early as 11:00 A.M.!  Alternate parking at the Jepson Trailhead, on Pierce Point Road, is 1.5 miles from Heart’s Desire Beach.  Dogs:  Dogs are not allowed on any of the beaches or trails at Tomales Bay State Park.  Dogs are allowed only at the Vista Point picnic area and must be on leash at all times.  If planning a group outing please make sure every member of the group knows about the Park's dog policy.  Leaving a dog in a vehicle is highly discouraged and may be illegal depending on conditions.  If visitors plan to spend most of their time on the beaches or trails, they should consider leaving their dog at home. Climate/Recommended Clothing:  Weather can change quickly. Visitors should be prepared by dressing in layers.

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Reviewed by

  • Road Warrior
  • 401 Reviews
  • 292 Helpful
September 27, 2014
Rated 5.0

We heard about Tomales Bay State Park from some locals and it was impossible not to visit. They were talking about a place full of wildlife and great trails to walk and become one with nature.

We arrived at 8.00 am and found a place at the car park. The fee is not that expensive and we were told to move forward in order to enter the area of the park. We were able to chose whether we wanted a beach walk or a cliff walk.

The wildlife existing there is fantastic (we saw foxes) and the views you get to see are one in a million.

Very close to Mc' Clures beach, if you ever get around there don't miss it out!

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Tomales Bay State Park

1100 Pierce Point Rd
Inverness, California
94937 USA


Open now until 7:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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