See Part 1 here.
For those especially warm summer days, there’s nothing better than heading out to the coast to catch the cooler air and ocean breeze. Not only does the coastal weather make a smoldering August day rather comfortable, it also offers some amazing scenery, great cafes and enjoyable stops for off the bike activities.
My personal favorite is to start out at the Big Rock Mini Mart and Deli on Lucas Valley Rd in San Rafael, CA. While not a fancy place, it offers plenty to get a good start to your day and is easy to access! From there, heading west towards the water is the plan, and you are on some amazing roads right from the start as Lucas Valley Rd offers plenty of corners with a nice section through a redwood stand.
From there, I like to head north onto Nicasio Valley Road, hang a left onto Point Reyes Road and find yourself on Highway 1 near Point Reyes Station. From here, options vary depending on the length of the ride you want to fit in, riding abilities and what your goal for the day is. I’ve been known to head north all the way to Gualala, or cut back east across Skaggs Springs Road, or head south down 1 and head up to the top of Mount Tamalpais via Fairfax/Bolinas Road and Pan Toll Road off of the Panoramic Highway. Of course, Highway 1 into Sausalito is an enjoyable ride as well.
Along these routes the scenery can’t be beat, and each offers a variety – there’s so much you can see in one day! From coastal environments to mountains, it’s all available in a one day ride. Some of my favorite stops along these routes (other than the required stops for some photos) include the Tomales Deli and Cafe; the Sizzling Tandoor in Jenner; or Lucas Warf in Bodega Bay. Of course, there is a plethora of small cafes and restaurants that offer unique and tasty items such as clam chowder or BBQ oysters.
If you haven’t done so, it’s also worth the time to pack some walking shoes and take a hike down to the shoreline. There are a variety of things to explore such as small tide pools, caves and beach wash up that make for an enjoyable experience. If you’re into learning a bit, the Point Reyes National Seashore offers a nice museum showing local flora and fauna, history and other interesting facts in addition to hiking trails that cover a variety of experiences.
With so much to offer the Northern California coastal region is worth a trip (or three)! This map shows some of my favorite roads in no particular path. They’re all worth checking out! Pick a few to string together and go explore, you won’t be disappointed!