A Guide to Limantour Beach

View of Limantour Beach
Limantour Beach. Colleen Proppe/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Limantour Beach is the prettiest of the beaches at Point Reyes National Seashore, a long, wide stretch of sand backed by low cliffs. Because of its south-facing location and the shelter of the Point Reyes peninsula, its waves are calmer than at other beaches nearby, making it a good place for family activities.

There is no entrance fee and no parking fee. It's a big beach that goes on for miles with so much room that it never seems crowded.

The nearby saltwater estuary attracts lots of birds, especially in the fall. In winter, you'll also see ducks in the freshwater stock ponds leftover from the days when this was a dairy ranch. In fact, it's a nature lover's paradise. Besides all the birds, harbor seals bob in the surf or sun on the beach.

The parking lot is big and the sand is about a five-minute stroll from the parking lot. You just have to cross a metal bridge and climb a sand dune to get there. 

Restrooms, picnic tables, water, and an outdoor shower are available near the parking area, but there are none on the beach itself.

What Is There to Do at Limantour Beach?

Beach activities are mostly the simpler kind: beachcombing, kite flying, whale watching in the spring, running or walking along the sand. Wading is fun, but watch the kids, stay safe and beware of strong ocean currents and undertow.

Bonfires are allowed if you have a permit, which you can get at the Point Reyes National Seashore visitor center on the way in.

When waves are high enough, there may be some surfers — although more of them tend to go to Drakes Beach nearby. Very infrequently, there have been reports of shark attacks on surfers in this area.

Sleeping at Limantour Beach

The only campgrounds in Point Reyes National Seashore are primitive, pack-in spots.

If you want to spend more than one day, nearby towns of Inverness, Olema and Point Reyes Station all have places to stay. Here's how you can plan a weekend escape to the area.

What You Need to Know Before You Go to Limantour Beach

Limantour is in a national seashore area and there are no federal laws against public nudity. That explains why part of Limantour Beach on the north end is a popular clothing-optional beach. If nudity offends, you check the Limantour Nude Beach guide to find out where they are likely to be.

It's a long drive from the main highway to the beach. Bring whatever you need for the day or you'll spend a lot of time driving back out to get it. If you plan to have a bonfire, bring wood and something to start it with. This beach can also be very windy: bring an umbrella or a small tent if you want to get out of it.

You can bring your dogs to Limantour. They're allowed on the southeast end and although signs say they should be on a leash no longer than 6 feet, many visitors let their canine friends run free. Keep them away from the northwest part of the beach, where they are not allowed and to keep them from disturbing the harbor seals and endangered snowy plovers.

The only restrooms at the beach are porta-potty style. A "pit stop" before you get there might be a good idea.

More Marin County Beaches

Limantour isn't the only beach in Marin County. To find one that's just right for you, check the guide to Marin County's Best Beaches. You can also find some  Clothing Optional Beaches in Marin County.

How to Get to Limantour Beach

Limantour Beach is located inside the Point Reyes National Seashore.

You can get there by taking US Hwy 101 north from San Francisco, then going west on Sir Francis Drake Blvd - or by taking CA Hwy 1 north all the way to Olema. Turn left shortly after passing the Bear Valley Visitor Center and follow the road to the end.