The Bay Area is very close to multiple historic and state parks, these parks are maintained by the state and are a great place to visit when you come to the California Bay Area.
Angel Island State Park
Access to Angel Island is by private boat or public ferry from San Francisco, Tiburon or Vallejo. Bicycles can be brought to the island on the ferry and used on the island’s main roads. Bikes can also be rented. Bring camp stove or charcoal – wood fires are not allowed. Angel Island State Park sits in the middle of San Francisco Bay, in Marin County. It offers spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin Headlands and Mount Tamalpais. There are two active Coast Guard stations on the island; one at Point Blunt and one at Point Stuart. Angel Island became a State Park in 1958.
Año Nuevo State Park
Año Nuevo State Park, in San Mateo County, preserves and protects a substantial area on the western slope of the central Coast Range inland from Año Nuevo Point. The property contains a diversity of plant communities, including old growth forest freshwater marsh, red alder riparian forest and knobcone pine forest. Its four perennial streams support steelhead trout and coho salmon, and its wetlands are habitat to the rare San Francisco garter snake and red-legged frog.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
The park is 25 miles northwest of Santa Cruz via Highways 9 and 236 in Santa Cruz County. It is approximately 65 miles south of San Francisco. The park consists of over 18,000 acres of Old Growth and recovering Redwood Forest, with mixed conifer, oaks, chaparral, and riparian habitats. Big Basin is California’s oldest State Park. Established in 1902 it is home to the largest continuous stand of Ancient Coast Redwoods south of San Francisco. Big Basin has a surprising number of waterfalls. The park has over 80 miles of trails with elevations ranging from sea level to over 2,000 feet. Some of these trails link Big Basin to Castle Rock State Park and the eastern reaches of the Santa Cruz range. The Skyline to the Sea Trail threads its way through the park along Waddell Creek to the beach and adjacent Theodore J. Hoover Natural Preserve. This freshwater marsh has lots of bird life.
China Camp State Park
China Camp is located four miles east of San Rafael on the shore of San Pablo Bay in Marin County. From Highway 101, go east on North San Pedro Road for five miles until it enters the park. A Chinese shrimp-fishing village thrived on this site in the 1880s. Nearly 500 people, originally from Canton, China, lived in the village. The park has 1,640 acres of natural watershed along the shores of San Francisco Bay. Features include an extensive intertidal salt marsh, meadow and oak habitats that are home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, squirrels and numerous birds.
Fort Ord Dunes State Park
Located in Monterey County, this is the site of a future park. It has four miles of shoreline with 886 acres. The purpose of Fort Ord Dunes State Park is to perpetuate forever, for public use, inspiration, esthetic enjoyment, and education, an area along the central California Coast of unique natural beauty and scientific significance including sandy beaches and coastal dunes. All scenic, natural, cultural and recreational resources will be managed as a whole, preserving and restoring the natural charter of the park in accordance with ecological principles.
Fremont Peak State Park
Fremont Peak State Park is in Monterey County in the Central Coast region. The nearest city is Hollister.
Fremont Peak State Park offers expansive views of Monterey Bay, from its hiking trails in the grasslands of the higher peaks of the Gavilan Range. Other views include the San Benito Valley, Salinas Valley, and the Santa Lucia Mountains east of Big Sur. Pine and oak woodlands in the park are home to many birds and mammals. There are camping and picnic facilities in the park. The park also features an astronomical observatory with a 30-inch telescope, which is open for public programs on selected evenings.
Garrapata State Park
The park is located on Highway One, 6.7 miles south of Rio Road in Carmel, 18 miles north of Big Sur, in Monterey County along the central coast.
The park has two miles of beach front, with coastal hiking and a 50-foot climb to a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean. The park has nearly 2,900 acres of diverse costal vegetation and trails running from ocean beaches into dense redwood groves. The park also has coastal headlands at Soberanes Point. Sea lions, harbor seals and sea otters frequent the coastal waters. California gray whales pass close by during their yearly migration.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Henry Cowell Park is near Felton on Highway 9 in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The main park area, containing the large, old-growth redwoods, is about 1,750 acres, and the northern area, Fall Creek, is 2,390 acres, with approximately 20 miles of hiking trails. The tallest tree in the park is about 285 feet tall, and about 16 feet wide. The oldest trees in the park are about 1400 to 1800 years old. The park has 15 miles of hiking and riding trails through a forest that looks much the same as it did 200 years ago. The park is the home of the Redwood Grove and a self-guided nature path. The most unusual feature of the park is a stand of Ponderosa pine. The park has a picnic area above the San Lorenzo River.
Henry W. Coe State Park
This State Park is located in Santa Clara County in the Central Coast region. The nearest city is Gilroy. It is located 13-miles east of Morgan Hill on East Dunne Avenue. From Highway 101 in Morgan Hill, 1/2 hour south of San Jose, take the East Dunne Avenue exit and go east past Anderson Lake to the end of the county road to the park headquarters. It was once the home of Ohlone Indians. Today the park is home to a variety of plants and animals, including the mountain lion. Coe Park is the largest state park in northern California, with over 80,000 acres of wild open spaces. The terrain of the park is rugged, varied, and beautiful, with lofty ridges and steep canyons. Within Coe Park are the headwaters of Coyote Creek, long stretches of the Pacheco and Orestimba creeks, and a 23,300-acre wilderness area. Coe Park is a year-round playground for hikers, mountain bikers, backpackers, equestrians, car campers, picnickers, and photographers.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
The park is 37 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, and 12 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is located in Monterey County in the Central Coast region. The nearest city is Big Sur. Named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns, a well respected pioneer woman in the Big Sur country. The park stretches from the Big Sur coastline into nearby 3,000-foot ridges. It features redwood, tan oak, madrone, chaparral, and an 80-foot waterfall that drops from granite cliffs into the ocean from the Overlook Trail. Panoramic views of the ocean and miles of rugged coastline can be seen from the higher elevations along the trails east of Highway 1. December and January is an excellent time to watch for gray whales migrating southward to their breeding and calving grounds off the coast of Baja California. Many whales pass close to shore and will come into the mouth of the cove. In March and April, the whales can be seen returning north to their summer feeding grounds in the North Pacific. Sea otters, harbor seals, and California sea lions can also be seen in the cove.
Morro Bay State Park
Morro Bay is in San Luis Obispo County in the Central Coast region. Morro Bay State Park features lagoon and natural bay habitat. Morro Rock is a prominent landmark. The park provides opportunities for sailing, fishing, hiking, and bird watching as well as a colorful marina and an 18-hole public golf course. The museum exhibits at the park cover natural features and cultural history, Native American life, geology, and oceanography. There is a pristine saltwater marsh that supports a thriving bird population on the northeast edge of the bay.
Mount Diablo State Park
Mount Diablo is located in Contra Costa County. Take Highway 680 to Danville and exit on Diablo Road, then go 3 miles east to Mount Diablo Scenic Blvd.
This park is one of the ecological treasures of the San Francisco Bay Area. You can view the stars from its lofty heights, bike ride to its 3,849 foot summit or explore the more remote trails by horseback. Every season in the park has its special qualities. Discover for yourself the mountain’s beautiful wildflowers, extensive trail system, fascinating wildlife and distinctive rock formations.
Mount Tamalpais State Park
Mount Tamalpais is located north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate in Marin County. From Highway 101 take Highway 1 to the Stinson Beach exit and follow signs up the mountain. Mount Tamalpais has 6,300 acres of redwood groves and oak woodlands with a spectacular view from the 2,571-foot peak.
On a clear day, you can see the Farallon Islands 25 miles out to sea, the Marin County hills, San Francisco and the bay, hills and cities of the East Bay, and Mount Diablo. On rare occasions, the Sierra Nevada’s snow-covered mountains can be seen 150 miles away.
Pacheco State Park
Pacheco State Park is located in Merced County in the Central Coast region. The nearest city is Gilroy. Pacheco Pass Park came into existence through the dream of Paula Fatjo, a direct descendant of Francisco Pacheco. Paula wanted her ranch, El Rancho San Luis Gonzaga, to be kept intact for the enjoyment of people who shared her love of horses and the beauty of the unspoiled land itself, so she donated the parklands to the state. The park has beautiful displays of spring wildflowers, scenic vistas, and excellent hiking, mountain biking, and horse trails. The 28 miles of designated trails offers several loop options to give visitors the choice of a hike or ride from one to 20 miles or more.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Big Sur State Park is located in Monterey County on the Central Coast. Big Sur State Park has 1006 acres of redwoods, conifers, oaks, sycamores, cottonwoods, maples, alders and willows – plus open meadows. Among the wildlife are black-tail deer, gray squirrels, raccoons, skunks, and birds, such as water ouzels and belted kingfishers. Hikers can enjoy the many scenic trails, including a self-guided nature trail. There are some campsites are along the Big Sur River. Big Sur Lodge is also located in the park .The lodge has 61 guest rooms, a conference center, cafe, and a grocery store.
Portola Redwoods State Park
Located in San Mateo County, Portola Redwoods State Park is off Highway 35. To get there turn west onto Alpine Road, go 3 miles, and turn onto Portola State Park Road. The park has one of the tallest redwoods (300 feet high) in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The park has a rugged, natural basin forested with coast redwoods, Douglas fir and live oak. Eighteen miles of trails crisscross the canyon and its two streams, Peters Creek and Pescadero Creek.
Samuel P. Taylor State Park
Samuel P. Taylor Park is located 15 miles west of San Rafael on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. It has over 2,700 acres of wooded countryside in the steep rolling hills of Marin County north of San Francisco. The park features a unique contrast of coast redwood groves and open grassland. California native wildflowers include buttercups, milkmaids, and Indian paintbrush. The most common animal in the park is the black-tailed deer. Silver salmon and steelhead trout migrate up Papermill Creek to spawn.
San Bruno Mountain State Park
Located in San Mateo County, from Highway 101, take the Bayshore Boulevard / Brisbane exit. Continue on Bayshore Boulevard to Guadalupe Canyon Parkway. Turn west on Guadalupe Canyon Parkway toward the Mountain and go to the park entrance. The Mountain’s ridge line runs in an east-west configuration, with considerable slopes and elevations ranging from 250 feet to 1,314 feet at the summit. The landscape offer excellent hiking opportunities and outstanding views of San Francisco and Central Bay Area. The park has 2,266 acres and is home to a wide variety of birds and animals. Hiking is the most popular activity in the park. The park area is at the northern reaches of the Santa Cruz range.
San Simeon State Park
San Simeon State Park is located 35 miles north of San Luis Obispo on Highway 1, and 5 miles south of the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument in San Luis Obispo County. San Simeon State Park is one of the oldest units of the California State Park System. The coastal bluffs and promontories of the scenic park offer unobstructed views of the ocean and rocky shore. A 3.3 mile trail runs through parts of the San Simeon Natural Preserve and the Washburn Campground. The trail includes scenic overlooks, rest-stop benches and interpretive panels with information on wildlife and habitat. Santa Rosa Creek Preserve is an area of approximately 40 acres, which includes valuable riparian forests and coastal wetlands. San Simeon Natural Preserve consists of approximately 365 acres of vast wetlands, riparian areas, and several undisturbed native plant communities. The Preserve is also the wintering site for monarch butterfly populations.
The 13.7 acre Pa-nu Cultural Preserve contains the most significant archeological site within San Simeon State Park. The site has been dated to 5850 years before the present, and it contains significant evidence documenting prehistoric technology, subsistence practices and social organization over the course of several centuries.
Tomales Bay State Park
Tomales Bay is 40 miles north of San Francisco, adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County. The Coast Miwok people were the first to inhabit the coastal area of sheltered coves, beaches, tidal marshes, and forest of Bishop pines. Real estate developers began to purchase large areas of beachfront land in the 1940s, which prompted local residents and conservation groups to save this area as a park. It was formally dedicated in 1952 and Tomales Bay State Park was opened to the public.
Wilder Ranch State Park
Wilder Ranch is north of Santa Cruz, immediately west of Highway One, just a mile or so past Western Drive in Santa Cruz County. It has over 4,400 acres with 34 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian rails winding through coastal terraces and valleys. The site was originally the main rancho supplying Santa Cruz Mission. It later became a successful and innovative dairy ranch. Several restored buildings once belonging to the Wilder family are preserved. The park has tours and living history demonstrations to help visitors explore the history of early ranchers and farmers along the Central Coast. Surrounding grounds include Victorian homes, gardens, and historic adobe.
If you are interested in buying a home in San Jose or anywhere else in the Bay Area, contact us today.