Virtual Guidebook to Marin and the North Bay Counties
Drakes Bay
Point Reyes National Seashore California


Sir Francis Drake, English privateer/pirate and scourge of the Spanish, stopped somewhere on the coast of California in 1579 to clean and repair his ship, the Golden Hinde. Most likely it was right here, though some experts say it could have been near San Quentin in San Francisco Bay. He claimed the land for his queen and country, and, struck with the similarity to the White Cliffs of Dover, named it Nova Albion (New England).

This is the calmest ocean beach at Point Reyes, and marginally warmer than the others, so people play in the water and even swim here. It also has the best facilities, with a snack bar and showers. When winter surf strips the sand away, the iron ribs of an old shipwreck appear on the beach east of the visitor center. There are great walks down the beach or along the clifftops, in either direction.



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Drakes Beach Cafe at Drakes Bay

(February 11, 2011)


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Rocks exposed during winter low-sand level on Drakes Beach

(February 11, 2011)


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Late afternoon on the clifftop at Drakes Bay

(December 4, 2006)


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On the beach at Drakes Bay

(December 4, 2006)


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Nearly sunset at Drakes Bay Beach

(December 4, 2006)


Next Locality: Drakes Estero