All the better for you. Climb up and over, and you’ll see a narrow finger of sand stretching 2 miles north between Drakes Bay and a mighty estuary teeming with birds. Out at the tip, harbor seals loll and bark. On the rare sunny summer day, the water is calm and swimmable.
Don’t miss: A walk with your pooch, welcome on-leash at the section south of the parking lot.
Get there: From the Bear Valley Visitor Center, head north about ¼ mile to Bear Valley Rd., turn left and follow it 1¼ miles to Limantour Rd., then turn left again and go 7½ miles to the parking lot at Limantour Beach; nps.gov/pore or 415/464-5100. –Lisa Trottier