Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino named the area Punta de los Reyes, or Point of the Kings while sailing past the peninsula on Jan. 6, 1603, the legendary anniversary of the three kings’ visitation of the baby Jesus. Today, a youthful, rural spirit sweeps rustic Point Reyes. Children rollerblade past the Old Western Saloon, just a few stores down from the Old Bank Building, home of a store called Flower Power. Across the street is Toby’s Feed Barn, testimony to the town’s rural roots. Inside, $20 Pooh T-shirts are folded neatly in cubicles near bales of straw on sale for $4.50 each. The unincorporated town is at the south end of Tomales Bay.
Families who have lived here for generations have resisted development and the community retains a romantic, small-town atmosphere. But ever since President Kennedy established Point Reyes as a national seashore, the area has been frequented by millions of tourists, an average of 2.5 million a year, many of whom surge through in the spring and summer.