Point Reyes - Limantour Beach


What? :

Limantour Beach is a south-facing beach located in Point Reyes National Park. The beach is located on a sand spit between Drakes Bay and the Limantour Estero esturary.

On a warm day this is a great place for birdwatching, beachcombing and long beach walking.

To the north the beach ends at a scenic dunes spot where Limantour Estero and Drakes Estero come together and exit to the ocean and to the south the beach ends at the tall rocky cliffs facing the ocean front.


Where? :

Located in Point Reyes National Park; Follow the road leading to Limantour Beach Parking Lot.

This is 9 miles drive west of Point Reyes Station, from Sir Francis Drake Blvd, turn left into Bear Valley Road (the direction of Point Reye Visitor Center) and after 0.5 mile turn right into Limantour Rd., 7.5 miles drive up and over the mountain ridge and down to the beach will bring you to the parking lot at the end of the road.

Google Map Link



When? :

The park is open year-round.

It is less recommended to visit here on a windy or rainy day, there is no shelter at the beach and the wind can be harsh.

When it is sunny and calm day this is a perfect beach destination.

As in all other north California beaches, the water are cold year-round.


Additional Point Reyes destinations & blogs:

Due note 1: no fee is needed.


Due note 2: Restrooms, picnic tables, water, and even an outdoor shower are available near the parking area.


Due note 3: Pets are allowed on the trail leading to the beach and on the beach itself, when getting to the beach the left side (south) is for dogs. Dogs should be on a leash no longer than 6 feet, but I saw that no one enforce this.

Keep your dog from disturbing the harbor seals and birds.


Due note 4: Abbotts Lagoons are nature protected area and are not for swimming.


Due note 5: Hostelling International operates the Point Reyes Hostel which is about a mile from the beach.


Due note 6: Because of its south-facing location and the shelter of the Point Reyes peninsula, the waves here are calmer than at other beaches.


Due note 7: The beach stretch for miles in both directions and it never seems crowded.


Due note 8: As always near the ocean, stay safe and beware of strong ocean currents and waves.


Due note 9: Glass containers are prohibited on all Point Reyes Beaches.


Due note 10: Launching, landing, or operating a drone from or on lands and waters within the boundaries of Point Reyes National Seashore is prohibited.


Due note 11: Camping on Limantour Beach is prohibited. Parking your vehicle overnight at the parking lots is prohibited unless you have a valid backcountry camping permit.


Due note 12: A permit is required to have a wood fire at any beach in Point Reyes National Seashore.


Due note 13: Please respect the leave no trace and do not build any driftwood structures during your visit.



My thoughts:

It was a fun hike along the beach south and then climbing up to the cliff level, connecting to Coast Trail south. I hiked for about 4.5-mile one way and then turn around and hike back on the same path.



The visit:

There is a short hike leading from the parking lot to the ocean beach, head west, cross a metal bridge and climb over the small sand dune.

Limantour Beach stretches for over four miles from the west end of Limantour Spit to Santa Maria Beach to the southeast.

You can walk north (west) for about 2.4 miles all the way to the end of the Limantour Spit dunes and the opening of Estero de Limantour State Marine Reserve.

This section of the beach is close to dogs.


If you walk south on the beach you will reach after about 1.4 miles Santa Maria Beach.

The beach lies below a wilderness tent camping area up on the bluff called Coast Camp. Santa Maria Creek flows down a lush green valley and hits the beach at this same spot.

On low tide you can keep walking on the beach below the cliffs, after additional 0.5 mile hiking you will reach Sculptured Beach.

Here, the rocky cliffs reach all the way to the ocean and block the beach hike south.


You can cross this point south only when the tide is very low, and the water are calm.

You need to cross the rocky sections and pass into Secret Beach.


The “hidden” highlight of Secret Beach is the Point Reyes Crater.

After getting Secret Beach you must walk south for about a quarter mile, then go around a tall rocky point (at low tide). Once you are around the point look to the left for a cave that led to the inner amphitheater crater.

Remember to be careful and not get trapped by rising tides.

During my visit the tide was not low enough and the way south was block by the ocean wave.


California tide tables:



If you can’t walk on the ocean front south of Sculptured Beach there is unmaintained trail that is heading up the cliff fallowing the small creek, after 1000 ft of climbing you will connect to the Coast Trail.

Here you can keep hiking south on the Coast Trail or turn right and hike back north to the direction of the Coast Campground.

I tried to find a way down the cliffs to Secret Beach, but I failed to find such path.

I went to the cliff edge to see the crater, but it does not look safe to get close to the edge itself, falling here can be the last thing you will do.


I hiked south for about 4.5 miles and then hike back to my car, overall, 9 miles hike along the beach and on the cliffs above the ocean.