Tomales is a beautiful town of approximately 200 residents who reside near the winding Shoreline Highway 1 that runs along the east side of Tomales Bay and overlooks Point Reyes National Seashore. Though located only 60 miles north of San Francisco, the coastal trip on two lane roads from the big city to Tomales usually takes about 2 hours.
Scenic beauty awaits those who drive the Shoreline Highway; the fog, rain and twists may require keeping your eyes trained on the road, however. For faster access, take US 101 north from San Francisco, exit Washington Street and follow its changes as Bodega Avenue and then Valley Ford Road. Turn left on Tomales Road and travel approximately eight miles.
For nature lovers, there are hikes, kayaking in the bay and Dillon Beach nearby. The dead end road to Dillon Beach begins in Tomales and is worth the drive (and maybe even a full day at their beach). Tomales visitors can dine in wonderful restaurants and cafes (don’t miss the Tomales Bakery), tour the community with its Victorian architecture and Queen Anne cottages, visit the Tomales Regional History Center and shop.
During the 1870s, Tomales was a stop on the North Pacific Coast Railroad connecting Cazadero to the Sausalito ferry. The post office building dates back to 1854.
This little town certainly retains its historic charm. Driving down these country roads feels a little bit like going back in time.
One of the main attractions in Tomales is Ramini Mozzarella, a very special ranch. Founded in 2009 by Audrey and her husband, Craig, the goal was to become the only farm in America that produced true Buffalo Mozzarella like the authentic mozzarella di bufala made in Italy. Though Craig sadly passed away in 2015, Audrey has kept the dream alive and has been running the farm ever since. Their private herd of water buffalo resides on the farm and are given plenty of care and love.
Visitors can tour the farm, pet the buffalo and taste the delicious mozzarella by appointment (415-690-6644). The farm has been featured in publications like the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Their cheese is sold at some of the finest cheese shops in California. The ranch sells out of cheese quickly due to high demand. If you visit Tomales, a trip to Ramini Mozzarella is a must.
The town of Tomales is just three miles away from Tomales Bay, a long narrow inlet of the ocean with several small beaches worth exploring. Oyster farming is a major industry on the bay, and this is where Hog Island Oyster Company, one of Northern California’s most famous companies, farms for their oysters. Tomales Bay State Park is on the other side of the bay as is Point Reyes National Seashore. Both have trails to hike and beaches to explore.
Continental Inn Facebook
After a day full of oysters and Buffalo Mozzarella, retreat to a luxurious room at the Continental Inn. This is an exact replica of the turn-of-the-century hotel that once stood in the same spot, and the rooms are cozy and comfortable. Another option is to stay overnight in the town bank. It’s complete with teller windows and an open bank vault (plus a king bed and a kitchen). The Not-A-Bank Vacation Rental might be the most unique in the area. Either of these lodging options can be the perfect place to cap off a relaxing getaway.