The Best Things To Do And See In San Mateo, California

San Mateo Overview | © Michael C. Berch/WikiCommons
San Mateo Overview | © Michael C. Berch/WikiCommons
Photo of Jeff Fox
9 February 2017

Most people don’t associate suburbs with a plethora of outdoor activities. However, when coming to San Mateo, get ready to venture beyond the downtown shops and restaurants. There’s plenty to do outside that can keep you entertained without having to spend a dime.

Coyote Point

Nestled in the bayside area of San Mateo, Coyote Point serves as the perfect outdoor getaway for families and groups of friends alike. With large amounts of picnic tables you can reserve, Coyote Point is a great barbecue spot on a sunny weekend. There are also five walking trails you can venture on to get great views of the bay and to see the San Francisco skyline from a different perspective. With great beach access located on the bayside, there is a great opportunity to participate in various water sports. The most popular in Coyote Point is windsurfing, which also makes for great people-watching if you don’t feel too adventurous.

Coyote Point, 1701 Coyote Point Dr, San Mateo, CA, USA

Sawyer Camp Trail

Located within the Crystal Springs Regional Trail, Sawyer Camp Trail is the most well-known and used segment. Spanning 12 miles along the San Andreas Fault, this trail is incredibly beautiful and a breath of fresh air among the heavily populated cities. Whether it’s a bike ride, hike, or a simple walk along the path, Sawyer Camp Trail provides a stellar backdrop to enjoy the outdoors. Make sure to be on the lookout for Jepson Laurel, the oldest and largest Laurel tree aged at about 600 years old.

Sawyer Camp Trail, Skyline Blvd & Crystal Springs Rd, San Mateo, CA, USA


Tucked inside Coyote Point is CuriOdyssey, an interactive science and wildlife center whose focus is on children and families. This is a great daytime activity with the family or a birthday party for a group of kids. Most of the animals are native to California and are there because, in their current condition, they would not survive in the wild. With constantly new and rotating exhibits, events, and activities, be sure to check out the website for something that catches your eye.

CuriOdyssey, 1651 Coyote Point Dr, San Mateo, CA, USA, +1 650 342 7755

Laurelwood Park

Whether you want to have a picnic, give your kids free reign to roam around the park, or go on a scenic hike, Laurelwood Park should be your go-to. Located at the bottom of Sugarloaf Mountain, Laurelwood is a serene 200-acre park that serves as a perfect Saturday or Sunday outdoor oasis. With several trails leading into Sugarloaf Mountain, it is a great basecamp to explore the hills of San Mateo. Not to mention the views atop Sugarloaf Mountain offer some of the best panoramic views of the Bay Area skyline.

Bicycle Sunday

Sunny weather usually beckons all forms of outdoor activities. With that, bicycle rides are the perfect way to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon. Every Sunday from 9am to 3pm, the San Mateo Parks Department offers ‘Bicycle Sunday.’ That means they close Canada Road between the Fioli Entrance and Highway 92, allowing for non-motorized activities. So not only does this gives bike riders a chance for the open road, but it also allows for jogging, roller-skating, and walking.

Bicycle Sunday, San Mateo, CA, USA

Pulgas Water Temple

Similar to the Palace of Fine Arts, Pulgas Water Temple offers a less-crowded version of a water temple. Located in San Mateo County near Canada Road, this engineering marvel was built as a monument to commemorate the Hetch Hetchy Project. With a beautiful reflecting pool and great views of the Crystal Springs wilderness sprawling in the background, the Pulgas Water Temple is a great way to spend a couple of hours outside of San Francisco.

Pulgas Water Temple, 56 Cañada Road, Redwood City, CA, USA

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel – and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travellers and friends who want to explore the world together.

Epic Trips are deeply immersive 8 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and enough down time to really relax and soak it all in. Our Mini Trips are small and mighty - they squeeze all the excitement and authenticity of our longer Epic Trips into a manageable 3-5 day window. Our Sailing Trips invite you to spend a week experiencing the best of the sea and land in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm – and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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