Your Complete To-Do List In San Mateo County
A Little Something on San Mateo County
Located between San Francisco International Airport and Silicon Valley, San Mateo County is full of desirable neighborhoods, beautiful coastlines and endless sightseeing.
What are these sights you claim are worth seeing?
Where are they located?
Both are exceptional questions that I will be addressing here. I will outline the best recreational activities throughout the entire county. The list will include well known tourist stops as well as lesser known sights for those of you who like your space and privacy. Without further ado, let’s dig into the list.
- CuriOdyssey – This is the perfect place to take the entire family. It’s a combination of a zoo mixed with hands on, science enriched activities for kids. There are exhibits with more than 100 animals for you to watch and interact with. My favorite animals are the sea otters. I love watching them eat their food on their bellies as they float in the water. Almost all of the animals came from rehabilitation centers and have found a safe home here at CuriOdyssey. The facility is equipped to handle school trips and family related events. This is an excellent place to see wildlife native to California and support a great cause. Located at Coyote Pointe and open every day except Monday until 5:00 pm.
- Japanese Tea Garden – If you enjoy being one with nature then the Japanese Tea Garden at Central Park is where you want to be. There are four major types of Japanese gardens which include Stroll, Tea, Paradise and Dry-Landscape. This beautiful garden in heart of San Mateo is a combination of a stroll garden and a tea garden. The purpose of a stroll garden is to reveal new and concealed beauty with every step that you take. This includes an arrangement of stones, flowing water, bridges, koi fish and even a granite pagoda. There is also a tea house where traditional tea ceremonies take place.
- Sawyer Camp Trail – Looking for a great place to go on a bike ride or a hike? Sawyer Camp has endless trails with beautiful scenery lots of wildlife. Make your way down to Crystal Springs Reservoir to relax and watch grazing deer. There are two artificial lakes, (upper and lower lake), a paved path to make sure you don’t get off trail, and best of all it’s totally free.
- Montara State Beach – This beach is dog friendly. I repeat, Dogs Are Welcome! If you’re like myself then there is no better place in the world than being next to the ocean. Montara State Beach has hiking trails for us humans, and horse trails for our larger mammal friends. Loaded with beauty, soft sand and even a lighthouse that doubles as a hostel. I’ve done some surfing here and it’s a great place get some waves in without having to deal with crowds.
- Half Moon Bay State Beach – Equipped with a campground for tents or RVs, Half Moon Bay State Beach has a long stretch of coast for everyone to enjoy. The waves are ideal for surfing and are some of the best in the entire state of California. Half Moon Bay is where the annual Mavericks Surf Contest takes place.
- College of San Mateo – This community college is positioned just north of Silicon Valley and a lot of new construction was completed back in 2011. There have been quite a few big names that have graduated from this university. Fred Baer, Dana Carvey, Merv Griffin, Phil Lesh, John Madden, Dick Vermeil and Bill Walsh are just a few. The campus is laid out beautifully. It is located on San Mateo hills which provide a clear, 360 degree view of San Francisco Bay. There is also a fantastic farmers market every Saturday morning. Make sure you go early to get first crack at all the wonderful, local products.
- Foster City Lagoon – Foster City was built for activities. There are miles of walk ways, water ways, beautiful landscaping and recreational facilities to keep you constantly occupied. There is an extensive system of artificially built water canals and islands that provide kayakers and canoers a grand experience. There are boardwalks and trails for runners, bikers or walkers. You can rent paddle boats, kayaks or canoes to navigate the waters. There is a dog park so you don’t have to leave your furry friends behind. Foster City also puts on an excellent fire work show every 4th of July. This is a resort style town that has something for everyone to enjoy.
This list doesn’t even begin to encompass everything that San Mateo County has to offer, but I intended it to be a starting point for anyone looking to get out and explore. Many of the activities listed above are absolutely free and will only cost you your time and energy. This was my intention as I find many people operate under the belief that you have to spend money in order to have fun. Every one of these activities also forces you to be outside in some capacity. This was also intentional. San Mateo is such a stunning area of the country that I want to make sure you don’t miss any of it.
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