In the late 16th century, British explorer Sir Francis Drake is thought to have stopped at Point Reyes during a round-the-world journey. The ship's chaplain wrote a description of the landscape and complained about "the stinking fogges" that shrouded the headlands in summer.
That hasn't changed.
The fog, the hulking headlands and the craggy cliffs define this stunning slice of California's coast. Point Reyes National Seashore is not really on the way to anywhere; you must seek it out off Highway 1 in mellow Marin County about 30 miles northwest of San Francisco.
The national seashore designation can be a bit confusing. True, the beaches along Drakes Bay are a drawing card for visitors, but equally beautiful meadows and fir-tree-filled woods can be found in the interior.
A four-day backpacking trip from the park's eastern boundary provides plenty of time to experience it all — and slip far away from paved roads.