Recipe for a sizzling barbecue spot: abundant grilling sites, great views, hiking trails, and a warm swim-friendly waterfront. Heart's Desire Beach in Tomales Bay State Park delivers the goods. There are a few prime picnic sites right on the sand, but just a couple of minutes up the Johnstone Trail is a secluded grilling nirvana: a dozen picnic tables and barbecues overlooking Tomales Bay. Light the charcoal and watch kayakers paddle by as plumes of barbecue smoke tempt your appetite. Later, work off your feast with a half-mile stroll on Johnstone Trail to nearby Pebble Beach, or just relax while basking in the scent of surrounding pine trees. Whatever your heart desires.
There is an $8 entrance fee to Tomales Bay State Park. Upon driving in, follow the signs to the picnic area, which is dog-friendly. Or, from the beach, walk the Johnstone Trail south for a couple of minutes to reach the picnic area. The beach and Johnstone Trail do not allow dogs.