Northern California Treasures, Part 1
My approach to travel during this pandemic is that of rediscovering what my home state has to offer. Driving the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California is ideal for someone like me who is passionate about travel and photography. Even if the popular sights are closed, I can always stop to photograph the landscape and enjoy the view.
Point Reyes National Seashore
The Point Reyes National Seashore offers some of the best scenery in California. The highlight is the Point Reyes Lighthouse which is located at the western-most end of the Point Reyes Headlands and Sir Francis Drake Blvd. I must admit the drive here is not easy due to winding roads, high winds and fog. But the spectacular views are worth the drive. From the parking lot we hike about half a mile uphill to the visitor center. And in this short walk, we see varying landscapes from rolling hills covered with wild plants, wildlife (tule elk) roaming around the hills, and rugged cliffs that fall into the ocean, and shore breaks that paint the beach below with monochromatic shades of blue. Past the characterful huge rock behind the visitor center is the observation deck where the stairs to reach the lighthouse begin. The lighthouse is perched on a ledge at the bottom of the cliff. The surrounding views are simply stunning. And the fog provides a more dramatic effect to the scenery.
|313 steps to the lighthouse|
|Tule elk and other wildlife roam around the rolling hills covered with wild plants|
|The fog, and the shore breaks paint the beach down below with two shades of blue.|
The Point Reyes National Seashore has a few sandy beaches like the South Beach and the North Beach. I drive to the South Beach but heed the warning sign posted at the parking lot about the dangerous shore breaks and rip currents, so I just stay to take photos of the beach and the colorful ice plants on the roadside.
There's turn off to the left with the sign "to Chimney Rock" shortly before the end of Sir Francis Drake Blvd.. If you want to explore this area, there is also a short trail from the parking lot that will lead you to the Chimney Rock, elephant seals overlook, and the historic Chimney Rock Life Boat Station.
- Check with the State Park or National Park service for park closure before your visit.
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