West Marin County's pristine Point Reyes Peninsula is a year-round destination. Summer is great for outdoor activities, including swimming in Tomales Bay, but expect foggy mornings and many fellow travelers. Fall brings sunny days, crisp nights, and fewer crowds. Winter is the wettest time-especially January and February-but it's ideal for whale-watching. In spring, the peninsula explodes with buds and blossoms.
Gallery Cottage Point Reyes Station; 415/663-1419; double $95.
Green Gulch Farm 1601 Shoreline Hwy., Sausalito; 415/383-3134; doubles from $90, including three meals. This retreat offers rustic accommodations in addition to Zen workshops.
Jasmine Cottage 11559 Hwy. 1, Point Reyes Station; 415/663-1166; $145 per night.
Manka's Inverness Lodge Inverness; 415/669-1034; doubles from $115, dinner for two $80.
Marsh Cottage Point Reyes Station; 415/669-7168; $100 per night.
Point Reyes Seashore Lodge 10021 Hwy. 1, Olema; 415/663-9000; doubles from $85. Many of this property's 21 rooms come with fireplaces.
Ten Inverness Way 10 Inverness Way, Inverness; 415/669-1648; doubles from $125. A five-room California Craftsman-style inn "for hikers and readers."
Bolinas Bay Bakery & Café 20 Wharf Rd., Bolinas; 415/868-0211; dinner for two $20. An all-natural counterculture landmark.
Bovine Bakery Main St., Point Reyes Station; 415/ 663-8368; dinner for two $25. Try the pizza and pastries at this local hangout.
Café Reyes 11101 Hwy. 1, Point Reyes Station; 415/663-9493; dinner for two $40. A restaurant/microbrewery/library (only in Point Reyes).
Marin French Cheese Company 7500 Red Hill Rd., Petaluma; 707/762-6001; lunch for two $15. A well-known Point Reyes-Petaluma Road pit stop.
Olema Inn 10000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Olema; 415/663-9559; dinner for two $45. Perfect combination: mussels on the deck overlooking gardens.
Station House Café Main St., Point Reyes Station; 415/663-1515; dinner for two $45. Stake out the patio at this breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot.
Tomales Bay Foods 80 Fourth St., Point Reyes Station; 415/663-9335; dinner for two $20. A new delicatessen that purveys the best from West Marin County's farms, ranches, small dairies, and wineries.
Bear Valley Visitors Center Bear Valley Rd., Point Reyes Station; 415/663-1092. Maps and tours.
Cycle Analysis Fourth and Main Sts., Point Reyes Station; 415/663-9164. Bike rentals, including helmets, from $10 an hour.
Blue Waters Kayak Tours 12938 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Inverness; 415/669-2600. Two-hour kayak rentals from $25, including wet suits and instruction.
Five Brooks Ranch 8001 Hwy. 1, Olema; 415/663-1570. Guided one- to six-hour trail rides, from $20 per hour.
Hidden San Francisco & Northern California by Ray Riegert (Ulysses Press)-A fine guide to an eclectic assortment of unsuspected pleasures.
Northern California Coast Best Places by Matthew R. Poole (Sasquatch Books)-Hotels and restaurants for travelers on all budgets.
California Lighthouses by Bruce Roberts and Ray Jones (Globe Pequot Press)-Profiles of lighthouses; directions to accessible ones.
On the Web
Point Reyes Light-This on-line version of a Pulitzer Prize-winning weekly gives the scoop on local happenings.
Point Reyes National Seashore -National Park Service site covering flora, fauna, and geology, plus information for hikers and campers.