First, stop at the Bear Valley Visitor Center and pick up the free Point Reyes map, which lists all the trails and roads open to cars, bikes, horses, and hikers. While you're here, spend some time at the nearby Kule Loklo, an authentic reconstruction of a village of the indigenous Coast Miwok Indian tribe, and at Morgan Horse Ranch, a good place to see park patrol horses. Afterward, take a short stroll on the Earthquake Trail, an informative .5-mile walk along the San Andreas Fault, and, time permitting, the .7-mile self-guided Woodpecker Nature Trail.
The most popular (and crowded) attraction at Point Reyes National Seashore is the Point Reyes Lighthouse, at the westernmost tip of Point Reyes. The drive alone is worth the trip -- a 45-minute, 20-mile scenic excursion on the Sir Francis Drake Highway through windswept meadows and dairy ranches (watch out for cows on the road). When the fog burns off, the lighthouse and the headlands provide a fantastic lookout for common murres, basking sea lions, and gray whales as they migrate along the coast from December through March. The road closes at Drakes Beach on weekends from January through mid-April, when buses take visitors from the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center to the lighthouse and back from 9am to 5:15 pm. Adult tickets are $5; children under 17 ride free.
If you still have some time, the Point Reyes Bird Observatory -- an ornithological research organization at the southeast end of the park -- is a must for bird-watchers.
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