The Coast Miwok people were the first to inhabit the coastal area of sheltered coves, beaches, tidal marshes, and forest of Bishop pines now known as Tomales Bay State Park, forty miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Sir Francis Drake was the first explorer to land in this area in 1579, followed by the Spanish in 1595. Russian and German scientists explored the area in the early 1800s.
In the 1940s real estate developers began to purchase large areas of beachfront land, prompting local residents and conservation groups to save this area as a park. In 1952, Tomales Bay State Park was formally dedicated and opened to the public.
Water activities—Four gently sloping, surf-free beaches on the shore of Tomales Bay offer many opportunities for picnicking, swimming, hiking, clamming, kayaking, and boating. Heart’s Desire Beach has a picnic area with barbecues, dressing rooms, and flush toilets. Less-developed Pebble, Shell, and Indian Beaches can be accessed by way of easy trails. The shoreline has shallow areas suitable for wading and water play with wellmarked swimming areas. Lifeguard services are not available.
There are no boat-launching facilities, but hand-carried boats may be put in the water.Heart’s Desire Beach is used as a launch location by individuals and local companies offering organized kayaking excursions. Boaters are welcome to land at park beaches away from swim areas.
Hiking—Hiking trails connect the park’s four beaches and wind through the Jepson Memorial Grove.
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Exhibits and Programs
Nature & Wildlife Viewing