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West Marin Towns
The former grade of the narrow gauge North Pacific Coast Railroad follows the east shore of the bay.

Tomales Bay is a long narrow inlet of the Pacific Ocean in Marin County in northern California in the United States. It is approximately 15 miles (25 km) long and averages nearly 1.0 miles (1.6 km) wide, effectively separating the Point Reyes Peninsula from the mainland of Marin County. It is located approximately 30 miles (48 km) northwest of San Francisco. The bay forms the eastern boundary of Point Reyes National Seashore. On its northern end it opens out onto Bodega Bay, which shelters it from the direct current of the Pacific. The bay is formed by a submerged portion of the San Andreas Fault.

Immediately to the east of the bay, much of the land is grazed by cows belonging to small dairies.

The bay sees significant amounts of water sports including sailing and motorboating. Watercraft may be launched on Tomales Bay from the public boat ramp at Nick's Cove, north of Marshall. There is a $5 fee. The sand bar at the mouth of Tomales Bay is notoriously dangerous, with a long history of small boat accidents.

Towns bordering Tomales Bay include Inverness, Inverness Park, Point Reyes Station, and Marshall. Additional hamlets include Spengers, Duck Cove, Shallow Beach, and Vilicichs. Dillon Beach lies just to the north of the mouth of the bay, and Tomales just to the east.



The area was once Coast Miwok territory. Documented villages in the area included: Echa-kolum (south of Marshall), Sakloki (opposite Tomales Point), Shotommo-wi (near the mouth of the Estero de San Antonio), and Utumia (near Tomales).[1]

Francis Drake is thought to have landed in or near Tomales Bay in 1579.[2]

The narrow gauge North Pacific Coast Railroad from Sausalito was constructed along the east side of the bay in 1874 and extended to the Russian River until dismantled in 1930.[3]

Tomales Bay State Park was formed to preserve some of the bay; it opened to the public in 1952.[2]

Ramsar Convention signed in 1971, listed Tomales Bay as a wetland of international importance.

Marconi Conference Center

Marconi Conference Center

The Marconi Conference Center SHP preserves a small hotel built by Guglielmo Marconi in 1913 to house personnel who staffed his transpacific radio receiver station nearby. The hotel was built by the J.G. White Engineering Corp under contract to Marconi. Ownership passed to RCA in 1920. The station was closed in 1939, though other nearby radio stations on the Point Reyes Peninsula still operate today. Synanon, a drug rehabilitation cult, owned it from the early 1960s until 1980, when it was purchased by a private foundation and given to the state to operate as a conference center.


View of Tomales Bay towards the north.
  1. ^ "Miwok Indian Tribe". Access Genealogy. Retrieved 2008-01-07.  
  2. ^ a b "Tomales Bay State Park". Retrieved 2008-01-07.  
  3. ^ Dickson, A. Bray Narrow Gauge to the Redwoods(1974)Trans-Anglo Books ISBN:87046-010-2

External links

See also

Coordinates: 38°08′55″N 122°53′52″W / 38.14860°N 122.89787°W / 38.14860; -122.89787



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