Beautiful weather sometimes demands foregoing weekend chores for a drive in the country. We are so fortunate in the Bay Area to have back roads that wind through bucolic hills and ocean beaches right in our collective backyards. Sometimes we overlook the best the Bay Area has to offer. Point Reyes National Seashore, encompassing 71,000-acres, is a wonderfully restorative tonic for weary workers, especially if you commute on the Bay’s traffic-infused freeways. If your spirit needs a re-boot, Point Reyes is a nearby wonder that is sure to revitalize.

President John F Kennedy saw the peninsula as a national treasure, and preserved the land for public use in 1962, signing legislation that made it a National Park. In addition to beaches, Abbott’s Lagoon, historic structures and interpretive exhibits, a lot can be learned about the park and its history by exploring its three visitors’ centers, including the popular Lighthouse visitors’ center. If you’ve never been or haven’t been recently, day hikes, walking trails, camping, wildlife viewing and much more should put Point Reyes on your spring or summer getaway radar.

Another advantage is its proximity to two tiny towns: Point Reyes station and Inverness. Named after the railroad that ran through it until 1933, Point Reyes Station, the popular stopping place for travelers heading further north or east, is a half-day destination in itself. It packs a powerful punch for its many visitors. If you go, make a lunch or dinner reservation, especially at the crowded Station House Café. Cowgirl Creamery and Bovine Bakery are also must-stops during your visit.

Inverness, a blink-and-you-miss-it town located on the southern end of Tomales Bay, has several good restaurants, and is great for fishing, paddling and exploring Tomales Bay State Park. Whatever is in the lineup for your getaway day, weekend or longer trip to Point Reyes, make sure you call ahead to find out what’s open and what’s closed. For more information, visit, or call the West Marin Chamber of Commerce at 415-663-9232.