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San Mateo County

Along the 55-mile stretch of San Mateo County's coastline, known locally as the Coastside, rows of artichokes and Brussels sprouts extend from the foothills to the ocean bluffs. The coast has remained largely rural, revealing sweeping views of the ocean, dizzying seacliffs, sandy beaches, lush coastal terraces, and rolling hills.

At the north end is Sharp Park Beach and the Pacifica Municipal Pier, with access to a section of the Coastal Trail that travels south to Rockaway Beach and beyond. If you're ambitious, you can travel the entire seven miles of this trail segment, past Mori Point to Pacifica State Beach, popular with surfers and dog owners––leashed dogs are allowed on the beach. As you leave Pacifica check out the dramatic views from the Devil’s Slide Trail built on a former stretch of Hwy 1.

Just beyond Point Montara lighthouse you can stop at Pillar Point Harbor for a meal before you head to Half Moon Bay State Beach where you can cruise the beach in a beach wheelchair. Several other state beaches at the southern end of the county, are mostly inaccessible except for parking and limited picnic opportunities, but the drive alone can be well worth the trip. You won’t want to miss Año Nuevo State Beach, where thousands of northern elephant seals gather each year to mate and breed.

On the other side of the hills from the coast is the more densely populated bay side shoreline. Coyote Point Recreation Area is a great destination for families with it’s numerous playgrounds and CuriOdyssey nature museum. From there follow the Bay Trail for two-miles to the San Mateo Bridge. Further south you will find parks created on former dumps, and miles of accessible trails that take you through parklands and around sloughs and marshes that have been restored.



Pillar Point Harbor
Pillar Point Harbor (Eileen Ecklund)
Pillar Point HarborPacifica Coastal Trail: Pacifica State Beach to Calera CreekPacifica Municipal Pier and Mori PointCowell Purisima Trail
Access Norhtern California This web guide is a project of Access Northern California.   California Coastal Conservancy Thanks to our partner the California Coastal Conservancy

DISCLAIMER: Although the information contained in this web-guide was believed to be correct at the time of publication, neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy shall be held responsible or liable for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions, nor for information that changes or becomes outdated. Neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy assume any liability for any injury or damage arising out of, or in connection with, any use of this guide or the sites described in it.

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