This winter, Marin Airporter’s Charter Bus Department is working with the good folks at Point Reyes National Seashore by providing shuttle bus service to key locations to make whale-watching and elephant seal-viewing easy and safe for everyone.
February is peak time for viewing California gray whales as they pass close to shore off Point Reyes National Seashore Park on their migration south to their mating grounds in the Gulf of Baja. Then, in late March and early April, they make their way north again to Alaska. But, the elephant seals at Drakes Beach provide an even more intimate wild life experience.
Up Close & Personal with Elephant Seals
Even more close at hand, giant elephant seals take up wintertime residence on the shoreline during pupping season. These amazing creatures can be easily viewed among the rocks below the lighthouse, near Chimney Rock, or, to get a closer view, visit Drakes Beach. Click here for more details about elephant seal viewing at Point Reyes.
The presence of these large sea mammals, of course, attracts large numbers of visitors hoping to catch a glimpse. This potentially means increased traffic on the narrow roadways and small parking lots in the park. To avoid traffic and parking problems, the Park Service closes the road to the Point Reyes Lighthouse on weekends. That’s where Marin Airporter comes in.
Details About the Shuttle Buses
Our shuttle buses roll all day long on weekends and holidays, providing comfortable rides and beautiful views for park visitors. $7 shuttle bus tickets are available at the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center at Drakes Beach from 9:30 am to 3 pm. Children 15 years of age and under ride free. Buses pick up near the Visitors Center and take guests out on the Lighthouse peninsula with stops at the Lighthouse and Chimney Rock.
How to Prepare for a Great Time
Keep in mind that the Point Reyes Lighthouse is located at the westernmost end of the Point Reyes Headlands. The access road, Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, is windy and slow-going, so allow about forty minutes to drive the seventeen miles (~27 km) from the Bear Valley Visitor Center near Olema to Drakes Beach, where the shuttles board and the elephant seals rest.
Bring a jacket, because conditions can often be windy and fog and mist are common. Bring a water bottle. There is only very limited food service at Drakes Beach and none at the Lighthouse or Chimney rock. Note that this is also a great get-away because cell service is minimal.
This world-class Bay Area excursion is all about the amazing wildlife and natural beauty, so be sure to come prepared to have a great time. 🙂