Point Reyes National Seashore
California's North Coast affords peaceful days along meandering roads for hikers, bikers and motorists. Alson Coast Highway 1 all directions pass through small towns with fine dining, little inns at the water's edge, wineries, seafood restaurants . . .
Thunderous ocean breakers crash against rocky headlands. Expansive sand beaches open to grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges. Point Reyes offers visitors over 1500 species of plants and animals to discover. Home to several cultures over thousands of years, the Seashore preserves a tapestry of stories and interactions of people.
The cultural history of Point Reyes reaches back some 5,000 years to the Coast Miwok Indians who were the first human inhabitants of the Peninsula. Over 120 known village sites exist within the park.
According to many experts, Sir Francis Drake landed here in 1579, and has been considered the first European explorer of record to do so. Spain was one of the few that put up markers, thereby claiming to be the "first" to "discover" this land, which was reinforced in the early 1800s, when Mexican land grantees established ranchos. They were followed by a wave of American agricultural operations, which continue to this day in the Seashore's pastoral zone.
Ancient Migration in Global Perspective
However, many European sailors reached the North Coast of the Americas prior to Spain, including Welshmen, Vikings, Ireland, Portuguese, and Russian and Japanese whalers, and Icelandic explorer Leif Eiriksson who sailed along the shores of North America 500 years ahead of Columbus.