Uncommon flowers brighten ocean bluffs along a West Marin hike
Point Reyes National Seashore is about 35 miles north of San Francisco; its visitor center is at 1 Bear Valley Rd., Point Reyes Station.
Perched like clusters of butterflies atop scrubby green bushes, yellow lupine flowers are sure signs it’s June at Point Reyes National Seashore. The saffron cones are cousins to the more familiar―and typically already spent―blue lupine.
Visit this windswept landscape now, when the ocean is churning but storms are rare. Early in the morning, you’re likely to see tule elk nurturing their young. After a day of hiking and the beach, an oyster picnic makes just the right finish.
Tomales Point Trail
What: Yellow lupines grow along Pierce Point Rd. near the trailhead and along the trail, especially on the first mile. How much: Free. Where: The easy out-and-back trail begins at the north end of Pierce Point Rd. and runs 4.7 miles one way; Point Reyes National Seashore, 415/464-5100.
Heart’s Desire Beach
What: One of the prettiest (and calmest) beaches around is 10 miles south of the Tomales Point trailhead. How much: $6 per vehicle. Where: From Pierce Point Rd., 1 mile northwest of Sir Francis Drake Blvd., turn north onto Park Entrance Rd.; Tomales Bay State Park, 415/669-1140.
What: On three-hour kayak tours of Tomales Bay, spy harbor seals, loons, and grebes, and picnic on a deserted beach. When: Open daily, reservations required. How much: From $68. Where: At the Golden Hinde Inn, 12938 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Inverness; 415/669-2600.
Busy Bee Bakery
What: The owners of this cheerful two-year-old spot visited Inverness on a vacation and relocated here shortly afterward. Try the addictive banana snack cakes, blueberry-mango crisp, and sticky pecan rolls. When: Open daily. Where: 12301 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Inverness; 415/663-9496.
Drakes Bay Oyster Company
What: Families stop at this casual spot by the mudflats of Drakes Estero for impromptu picnics. Not a full restaurant, but some of the best oysters you’ll ever taste. When: Open daily. Where: 17171 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Inverness; 415/669-1149.