Starting a hike on a beach is a treat because it allows you to discard your shoes, wriggle your toes in the sand and even walk in the edge of the surf as it laps the shore. On a recent hike that started on Limantour Beach at Point Reyes, we had the beach virtually to ourselves.

It’s one of my favorite beaches because the cliffs are set back enough that there’s a wide expanse of sand. Good for gatherings, beach outings or just hanging out. And because of the contour of the coast, it’s not as wind-blown as other nearby areas, which helps too.

A cloudy day with a chance of rain had kept people away but that was OK since it also meant it wasn’t unbearably hot further inland. Our hike began in the Limantour Beach parking area, which has room for plenty of cars, full facilities, trail maps and more. We headed south on the sand for a mile or so down toward Sculptured Beach and then it was time to put the shoes back on.

Our hike, about an 11-mile loop, went up the Woodward Valley Trail to Sky Camp, which was fairly crowded with tents and families. From there, it’s a short walk on the Sky Trail and the Fire Lane Trail back to the Hostel and Education Center that are off of Limantour Road. And from there, back to the trailhead, a return trip that means about a mile of roadway walking.

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