Bay Area Family Outdoor Destinations for All Ages

Don’t stay in on a lovely day, especially since there are so many outdoor activities to enjoy in the Bay Area. Family trips to these stunning destinations are a great way to spend quality time with the kids before school starts. Whether you introduce your little one to flora and fauna in a national park or give the kids their first kayak ride, these adventures in the outdoors will surely create memories that last a lifetime.

Wunderlich Park

The wondrous Wunderlich Park used to belong to the Folger family until the land was donated to the San Mateo County by Martin Wunderlich. Towering oak trees, a majestic redwood forest, and verdant fields hide a system of beautiful nature trails where you and your family can enjoy nature’s finest at a leisurely pace. Most of the trails are meant for hiking, but some are designed for horseback riding, which makes the park a popular destination for local equestrian fans. One of the most popular trails is the 2.1-mile Bear Gulch trail, which leads up to Redwood flat, home to the park’s mighty redwood trees. There’s also the Alambique Trail, a 5.1-mile hike that begins from the parking lot and ends at Skyline Boulevard. Once you’re done hiking you can eat a packed lunch at one of the picnic tables and enjoy your meal with a fantastic view of the valley.

Although the trails are wild and fairly well-maintained, make sure your kids don’t stray from the marks, especially if they’re on horses. The grassland and open meadow are home to endangered animals and plants, as well as poison oak and ticks.
Wunderlich Park is located on 4040 Woodside Road Woodside, CA and is open every day, including holidays. For more information, you can call (650) 851-0326.

Kayaking at Half Moon Bay

Have your kids always wanted to explore the ocean in a kayak? Then take them kayaking along Northern California’s picturesque coast via Half Moon Bay’s Kayak Co. Whether it’s a short trip or one of Kayak Co’s 5-day kids’ camp, your children will fall in love with the ocean and the sport of sea kayaking. A three-hour day trip begins with a brief safety orientation and basic kayaking instruction. Shortly after, you will launch your kayaks and paddle safely along the protected harbor, where you get an excellent view of harbor seals and sea birds. After a while, you land at Pillar Point on the opposite side of the harbor and take a short walk across the sand pit. Here, your kids can run around and examine the aquatic life on the tide pools before departing once again in a kayak.

Waterproof paddle jackets and wetsuits are provided for all tours and classes – just make sure you bring sunscreen, shades with a retention strap, shoes that can get wet, and a change of clothes just in case. Book a tour by calling 650.773.6101.

Hidden Villa

There is no better place to teach kids about environmental responsibility than Hidden Villa, a non-profit educational organization nestled near the Santa Cruz Mountains. The organization was founded in 1924, when Frank and Josephine Duveneck purchased the land with the intention of making it a place for discussing social reform. Over time, Hidden Villa served as the first multiracial summer camp and developed an environmental education program. Today, thousands of families participate in Hidden Villa’s programs through workshops and summer camps. Children and families alike learn all about caring for the environment during hands-on activities in their organic farm, develop an appreciation for other cultures during camp programs, and even pick up a few wilderness skills. There’s so much to do at Hidden Villa, you won’t have a hard time finding a program that suits your family’s interests.

San Bruno Mountain State Park

At the northern part of the Santa Cruz range sits the San Bruno Mountain State Park, a must-see attraction that provides visitors with hiking trails, picnic grounds, and gorgeous views of San Francisco and the Central bay Area. The park is also home to several endangered butterfly and plant species, as well as a diverse number of animals and birds. After enjoying lunch, go on the popular Saddle Loop Trail that starts just ahead of the park’s entrance. Colorful wildflowers dot the area during spring and the top greets you with a view of San Francisco’s towering skyscrapers. The Bog Loop trail is also a great choice if you’re hiking with young kids. It’s an easy .8 miles long hike that provides excellent opportunities for bird-watching. There’s also a picnic area and a restroom, which is very useful for kids who have a hard time holding it in. The San Bruno Mountain State Park is open all year round, from 8 am to before sunset.

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