SF to Point Reyes
For his birthday, I'm surprising my significant other with a convertible ride from SF, over the Golden Gate Bridge, to Point Reyes National Seashore for the day. We recently moved to the city (we live in South Beach; moved from the East Coast) so north of the Golden Gate is new territory for us.
I was planning on picking up picnic/snack foods from our (SOMA) Whole Foods to hold us over for the day. But maybe we have better options...
So what lies north of the Golden Gate Bridge up the road to Point Reyes? Anything that is easy and casual (we'll be dressed casually for hiking). We can sit down or take out. Could do lunch or dinner. Price can range, as long as its "worth it."
We love all types of food and will try anything.
Thank you in advance,
I think the Pelican Inn could be a worthy pit stop. I've never eaten there, only grabbed a beer in the tiny pub one or two times. But it can be terribly charming. The place is very Tudor, with exposed beams and a veddy British vibe.
It's a bit down the road from Point Reyes, if you take 1 all the way, you'll go right by it, but that'a a long drive to get to Point Reyes. I have heard mixed reviews about the food there. It's more famous for the ambience and the location, the food is kind of secondary and quite pricey. Maybe a better place to stop in for a drink and an appetizer at the bar. It is a wonderful spot though.
Definitely check out the town of Point Reyes Station and go to Cow Girl Cremery. If you can hold out on buying your picnic supplies, buy them here.
We had lunch at the Pelican recently, and though the food was just okay (a bit heavy--all that English grub), it was a nice place to relax before a walk at Muir Woods and a stroll down to the beach. However, this is not the thing to do before Pt. Reyes. Though Pt. Reyes doesn't seem that far, mileage-wise, it's a slow drive because of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. and the twistiness of Hwy 1 as it approaches. If you really want to get a hike in, leave early and as the other posters suggest, save your eating for the road. Pt. Reyes area has a nice gourmet grocery--can't remember the name--Tomales Bay Foods? . Also, if you can do an overnight, it's worth it! That way you can drive up to the lighthouse, too.
If you take Hwy 1 exit in Mill Valley/Tam Valley, you will drive over Mt. Tam to Stinson Beach (passing the Pelican Inn) and then along Bolinas Lagoon and through Olema Valley and finally at long last will approach Pt Reyes. A more direct trip would be 101 north to Sir Francis Drake Blvd exit--west branch--in Larkspur Landing and to Olema and Pt Reyes via central Marin. Much less strenuous driving than Hwy 1 and quicker.
If you do the Sir Francis Drake route, you may wish to delay your picnic/snack purchases till you are en route. Good offerings (more dinner than snack) from the take-out counter at Insalata's restaurant in San Anselmo. A great stop for a sweet pick-me-up going to or returning from Pt Reyes is Fairfax Scoop in downtown Fairfax for some really fine ice cream. A very short detour from the road to Pt Reyes (where it turns left you go straight) takes you to Pt. Reyes Station where you will find Tomales Bay Foods, which features the fabulous Cowgirl Creamery for cheeses and for quality take-out items. Around the corner from there is Bovine Bakery to round out the meal.
On Pt Reyes itself, the cafe at Drake's Beach has some good offerings if you do not want to do the picnic thing. There are also tables there, and at the Bear Valley visitors' center. Dining on the beach with constant windblown sand is always problematic. I have not even mentioned oysters, but you can search this site and find plenty of info on that. Final suggestion: get an early start, there is so much to see there it can be a long day.
I like the Olema Farm House for BBQ Oysters too. That's a regional treat that lots of places offer. If you have a chance, definitely sample some of those.
It's right at the intersection of 1 and Sir Francis Drake, as alfairfax mentioned, you'll be right there.
I go up that way all the time and the two places that I always like are Parkside Cafe in Stinson Beach, rustic, cozy place good food, nothing fancy. you can do a nice walk on the beach after.
or if you do not take the coastal route and go directly to Sir Frances Drake all the way into Point Reyes Station then go to the Pine Cone Diner, not your average dinner great food and such a cute place. You could stop into the Cowboy Creamery and get some sandwiches for a picnic.. but the food at the Pine Cone is good.
The Point Reyes Winery is up the road and worth a stop, such nice folks and nice wines. There are so many beautiful hiking trails and endless birds. If you like you may email me for hiking spots, I have been going up there for 20 years or so.