Head Outside Thanksgiving Weekend
San Mateo County Parks has joined the national movement encouraging people to #OptOutside and explore the day after Thanksgiving. Our parks are open the entire long weekend, and we have something to please just about every member of the family.
Parks Foundation Hike on San Bruno Mountain
Join the San Mateo County Parks Foundation for a hike on the day after Thanksgiving, November 24. Let's hike off that turkey together and start the day outside at San Bruno Mountain Park!
We'll hike about 2-3 miles. From the Summit Loop trailhead, we'll hike west along April Brook where we'll enjoy diverse riparian habitat and cross three different foot bridges. After the last bridge we'll climb up Bitter Cherry Ridge into savannah grasslands dotted with wildflowers and coastal scrub. From this point on we will be rewarded with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Peninsula watershed, until we reach the summit at 1,314 feet.
Meet at 9am at the Trailhead Parking lot, which is located on the Southeast side of Guadalupe Canyon Parkway, and can only be reached by car from the main park entrance. You will drive under Guadalupe Canyon Parkway and find a second parking lot. RSVP by emailing Michele Beasley, Parks Foundation Executive Director.
Other #OptOutside Ideas
Walk Along the Edge of the Continent
Treat your visitors with a trip to Devil’s Slide Trail between Montara and Pacifica. This 1.3-mile (one-way) trail offers a unique (and spectacular) view of the coast. A walk or bike ride will refresh your mind and body, and you can stop to enjoy the telescopes, interpretive signs, and benches along the way. Dogs on leash are welcome, and the paved path is friendly to strollers and wheelchairs, though there are some hilly portions. No entrance fee.
Playgrounds and Panoramas
Family members of all ages will enjoy Junipero Serra Park in San Bruno. This quiet park has two playgrounds and trails just the right length for little ones and grandparents. The panoramic views of the entire Bay and of air traffic at SFO are spectacular. $6 entrance fee, plenty of parking.
Hiking, History, and Horses
Hike off those calories on the gorgeous hiking and equestrian trails of Wunderlich Park in Woodside. Learn about the history of this area, and the importance of horses, in the museum inside the gorgeous Folger Stable. No entrance fee; parking is limited – take the free Park Shuttle on weekends.
Walk It Off Along the Bay
Take a walk along the Bay Trail or stroll along the beach or marina at Coyote Point Recreation Area in San Mateo. The little ones will enjoy the three playgrounds – and maybe a visit to CuriOdyssey, the science and wildlife center in the park. $6 entrance fee, plenty of parking; additional fee for CuriOdyssey.
Wildlife and Waterfalls
Hiking trails in Pacifica’s San Pedro Valley Park will reward you with amazing coast views and – if we’ve had rain – glimpses of Brooks Falls. Start from the Visitor Center for a casual, two-mile-long round trip hike on Weiler Ranch Trail. Head out in the early morning or late afternoon for a good chance of seeing deer or bush bunnies. $6 entrance fee, abundant parking.
Hiking Through the Hills
Nestled in the hills of Redwood City, Edgewood Park & Natural Preserve is popular trail network that winds through grasslands, forest, and hilltops. Check in with the volunteer hosts at the Bill and Jean Lane Center to get tips on what to see or enjoy leftovers at one of the drop-in picnic tables. Use one of the two alternative park entrances (or take the shuttle) to skip the crowds at the main parking lot. No entrance fee; limited parking; free Park Shuttle on weekends
Redwoods Close to Home
Get your dose of redwoods right in Woodside at Huddart Park. Take the younger set on the 2.5-mile long Redwood Nature Trail, or get your heart pumping with a 5.3 mile-long hike roundtrip hike from the floor of the park to Skyline and back. $6 entrance fee; abundant parking.
Respite on the Peninsula
In Brisbane, in the midst of the urban peninsula, you’ll find open space respite at San Bruno Mountain. A delight for botanists, this park has 14 species of rare or endangered plants. If it’s a clear day, take the a 2-mile hike up Summit Loop to earn your reward of ocean and Bay views, or walk the Saddle Loop Trail for views of San Francisco. $6 entrance fee, plenty of parking.
In Loma Mar, nearly 900 acres of redwood forest offer escape from the holiday bustle at Sam McDonald Park. The Heritage Grove Trail immerses you in the stunning beauty of old-growth coast redwoods. The 2 mile long trail from the Alpine Road parking area connects to the Big Tree Trail for a longer hike. $6 entrance fee; parking on Alpine Road and from Pescadero Road.
Family Time on the Coast
Get the whole family outside with a visit to Quarry Park in El Granada, where tot and youth play areas, a tree house, and a community garden have something for everyone. A one-mile hike up Vista Point Trail offers ocean views. Dogs on leash are welcome on the trails.