California is known nationally for its splendid beaches, but at the corner of its golden coast lies one particular treasure. Point Reyes National Seashore is a remote area north of San Francisco -- not far from the big city bustle.
"One of the unique things about Point Reyes National Seashore is that, even though we're literally about an hour away from over 7 million people in the San Francisco Bay area, it's a very remote area," said park ranger John Dell'Osso.
The park hosts thunderous ocean breakers that crash against the rocky headlands. And its expansive sand beaches run up to the open grasslands and brushy hillsides.
Point Reyes also has more than 1,000 species of plant and animals, and has been the home to several cultures over thousands of years.
"One of the species of mammals that we have here are the Tule elk," Dell'Osso said. "In 1978, about 12 animals were reintroduced to the northernmost peninsula of Point Reyes. And right now, we're over 450 elk. The Tule elk here have antlers, and these antlers are shed every year and grown back every year. This time of year, they haven't quite grown to their full size yet."
But part of what keeps people coming back is its beaches.
"People, when they come out to one of our beaches -- and we do have spectacular beaches to come to -- it can really definitely change your mood. There's just a steady drop of the water as each single wave comes in. It becomes a very rhythmic, very soothing sound," Dell'Osso said. "When you're at Drakes Beach there are these dramatic views of these 70, 80-foot-tall sand stone cliffs -- incredibly dramatic when you're standing below them and you're looking up, you feel so small."
Dell'Osso said Point Reyes is "truly a natural sanctuary and a human haven."
Point Reyes is the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent. The peninsula's climate is similar to the Mediterranean with warm, dry summers and cool rainy winters.
"Point Reyes National Seashore is magical. It truly is. It's a place that people can get away from that rush of the big city and just come out here for peace and solitude," Dell'Osso said.