Many of you come from San Francisco to visit. And if you go to mapping site to get driving directions to Point Reyes, chances are the mapping site will tell you to head over Mount Tam and go up Highway 1 (Option 1 below). This is a stunning, but slow and very windy, route to Point Reyes.
But there are other ways into the Point Reyes area. Here are the four major drives in and out (I map it to the Bear Valley Visitors Center).
Option 1: Highway 1
- This is the beautiful iconic California drive, where car commercials are made.
- Passes through the Stinson Beach
- Passes through Stinson Beach, which can be very very slow on summer weekends
- Mapping software says it’s the fastest way. Don’t believe it. The twists and turns are pretty intense and you or someone in front of you will be driving very slowly
- Out of the way for those of you coming from the East Bay over the Richmond Bridge
- No fun in the dark. Lots of work; no view.
BOTTOM LINE: If you have time and haven’t done it, do it.
Option 2: SIR FRANCIS DRAKE
- Go through the fun towns of Fairfax and San Anselmo
- Lots of services along the way (gas, food, drink)
- If you don’t like winding roads, this is probably the tamest way to go
- You’re going through suburbs, so backups are possible
BOTTOM LINE: Most Bay Area (rather than out-of-town) visitors coming to Point Reyes come through here.
Option 3: LUCAS VALLEY ROAD
- Very pretty ride through ranch land and past the Nicasio Reservoir
- No traffic
- Longer way to go, but generally as fast as Sir Francis Drake
BOTTOM LINE: Locals who want to go to San Francisco and back usually take this route
Option 4: D STREET (FROM PETALUMA)
- So so pretty. I think it’s my favorite drive to 101.
- Only good for those coming from the North (as a percentage, that’s very few of us)
- If you need to go to Petaluma; this is the only way. Luckily, it’s gorgeous.