Father’s day is just around the corner so before you scramble to buy another tie or “World’s Best Dad” coffee mug, get creative and treat him to an outdoor adventure! To parents, the ultimate present is that of time spent together and precious memories. So this year, plan to wake up dad with a home cooked breakfast (bacon, eggs and French toast please!) followed by an activity-packed day outdoors with the entire family.
San Francisco’s Bay Area is abundant with many hiking and biking trails, lakes and bays for boating, fishing and paddling, see my guide to kayaking here and a personal Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boarding story here, or head over to my website and click one of the four categories (Hiking, Biking, Camping and Water Activities) on the homepage for a ton of great ideas!
Today I would like to introduce you to a very special place that has all the above and makes for the perfect Father’s Day gift. Northern California’s Half Moon Bay is home to sun drenched beaches ideal for sunbathing and picnicking, one of our nation’s most spectacular marine protected areas for tide pooling, marine mammal watching, long stretches of coastline trails for biking and hiking, a protected harbor for sea kayaking and a great fishing destination.
Let’s take a closer look at some of my favorite activities that are shown on the map below…
Half Moon Bay’s Coastside Trail runs parallel to the Pacific Coast and is truly a fun destination. It’s a family-grade flat ride with sweeping views of the coast, the ocean, picturesque bluffs, views of the world-famous Mavericks, a surfing spot near Pillar Point that’s visible from the trail and wildlife viewing. Read more….
Roosevelt, Dunes, Venice and Francis beaches line up along the Half Moon Bay coast to form two miles of white sand that makes up Half Moon Bay State Beach (see the map above). A fifth beach, Cowell Ranch Beach, is also part of the state beach and is three miles further to the south. Read more….
Located only 15 minutes north of Half Moon Bay in Moss Beach is Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, which is home to dozens of colorful, unique sea creatures. If you visit the reserve at low tide (one foot or less), you’ll be able to see a multitude of sea-life. Read more….
Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Boating and Fishing:
Pillar Point Harbor (see the map above) is one of area’s most protected harbors. This location is ideal for sea kayaking as well as stand up paddle boarding (SUP) since the area is shielded from wind. There are kayak and SUP rentals available at the harbor to enjoy an afternoon paddle amongst the seals, birds and other marine life. Read more….
Mavericks Cliffs Trail is a 1.5 mile (easy) hiking trek that places you in one of the most famous surfing locations in the world, where the annual Mavericks competition is held. You can supplement the excursion with a climb to a bluff with ocean views, and scramble down a hillside for a walk on the beach. Inside Tip: The Mavericks Cliff Trail is dog friendly.
GPS Coordinates for the Trailhead: 37 30’06.5”N 122 29’47.9”W
Another fun activity to consider – boulder hopping! My kids and I had a lot of fun watching the seals and looking for other marine life while hopping along a 1.4 mile long jetty of big rocks. This is however a potentially dangerous activity since the rocks are large and sometimes big waves may come unexpectedly so please proceed with caution.
Looking to compliment dad’s outdoor adventure with a gift? Click here to see my favorite (tangible) gift ideas for the outdoorsy man in your life:
Looking to connect with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts families? Please join our Outdoor Families of San Francisco Bay Area Facebook community if you’re as passionate about the outdoors and able to actively participate in the discussions to learn and inspire others.