When the weather warms up, I find myself heeding the call of the open road. As a South Bay Area resident, I am fortunate to have day-trip options so close by. From lounging with snacks by a stream to climbing the hills at a local park, there are plenty of idyllic mini-getaways to get outside and catch some much-needed sunshine. For anyone who can relate, now’s the time to queue up your playlist, grab your sunhat and lace up your sneakers.

That’s because we put together a guide of 11 summery escapes that will take your troubles away. They’re well-suited for various budgets, abilities, ages, and interests. We’ve got you covered whether you’re exploring the great outdoors with your kids, family, or friends.

We’ve included a selection below, or you can go straight to the complete guide!

Peruse the options, take your pick and go make some memories.

Explore the State’s Richest Tide Pools

Mussels and anemones congregate in a pool of water.
The tidepools at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve are a great place to see anemones.

For an intertidal treasure hunt, the tide pools at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve are some of the best in state. Check the tide tables before you go and be sure to arrive an hour before or after the low tide.

Round out this adventure with a stop at the Moss Beach Distillery, famous for its local seafood (and ghost). The venue’s ocean-side setting has a patio where you can relax and continue to enjoy views of the Pacific.

Let Loose on Long Ridge

A hiking trail curves between yellow grasses with trees and a sunset in the distance.
The trails at Long Ridge Preserve include options for short hikes or longer loops.

Long Ridge Open Space Preserve is a hiker’s paradise and boasts one of the longest continuous segments of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, making it a favorite for trail runners as well. One of our favorite destinations is the Wallace Stegner Bench at the junction of Long Ridge Road and Long Ridge Trail. The views here will take your breath away!

The nearby Jikoji Zen Center offers meditation and yoga classes that are open to the public. It’s also a nice place to take a moment to unwind after your time on the trail.

Cool Off by a Creek at Memorial Park

A woman stands barefoot on a rock that juts out of a creekbed with a towel around her shoulders.
Memorial Park offers meditative moments near cooling waters.

On hot days, we like to escape the heat at Memorial County Park under the shade of massive redwood trees.

If you’re feeling energetic, the Mt. Ellen Nature Trail is a short and shady loop hike. Then grab an ice cream at the park’s camp store (open Memorial Day through early October) and cool off on the banks of nearby Pescadero Creek.

Bike the Scenic Trails at Skyline Ridge

Two people on mountain bikes ascend a trail at Skyline Ridge while another takes a break while sitting on the hillside.
At Skyline Ridge, cyclists enjoy a ride on designated trails.

Cruise the skyline and enjoy one of the most scenic mountain bike trails in the area.

From the main entrance of the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve, follow the Sunny Jim Trail north along the ridge for jaw-dropping views of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay.

The trail leads to the David C. Daniels Nature Center which lies on the edge of Alpine Pond. If the center is open (Saturday and Sunday, Noon–5 p.m.), there is a multimedia tour you can take around the pond, or just relax and recuperate.


Looking for more great outings?

Get a guide to Summer Escapes around the Peninsula and South Bay and check out 6 additional excursions.


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About Post

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 87,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more

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