Kayak Camping in Pt. Reyes

Chicken Ranch Beach

Sunsets, bonfires, oysters, and camping on the beach. What else do you really need?Kayak to one of Tomales Bay's main boat-in campsites.Pick up oysters and bbq them at your beach bonfire.Duration: Overnight

Like camping in remote locations? Love oysters? This is it! Tomales Bay offers boat-in only campgrounds along the east side of the peninsula.

We departed from Chicken Ranch Beach, which is on the west side of Tomales Bay. We jumped in our kayaks and headed north in the bay for a quick breather at Heart's Desire Beach. This beach has restrooms, so keep that in mind when you head up. One thing that we learned for next time, it's best to start the paddle in the morning or in the early evening, once the wind has died down.

Once we were ready to take off from Heart's Desire, we headed up to Tomales Beach. This is one of two campsites, Marshall being the other, which offers restrooms at the campground. Be sure to catch the amazing sunsets from the northern most point of the beach.

If you need a kayak, we recommend renting kayaks from Blue Waters Kayak. If you reserve them far enough in advance, you may be able to depart from Blue Water Shop on the east side of the bay, which is closer to the campgrounds. Another plus side is that it's located right next to The Marshall Store. Stop here, pick up a dozen or 2 of raw oysters (can't go wrong with the Kumamotos), pack up the kayaks, and paddle across the bay. It's best to get an early start on the day to avoid potential headwinds.

Unfortunately, these campgrounds aren't dog friendly, so keep that in mind when planning future camping adventures.

Here's a map to give you a better lay of the land.

Pack List

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Activities Camping, Kayaking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Adult Beverages
Picnic Area


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Plan to leave early in the morning as the afternoon winds can make for dangerous and challenging kayaking.

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