By Stephanie Fermin

Summer in San Mateo County/Silicon Valley begins in the fall.  Here are ten outdoor activities to enjoy while the weather heats up:


1. PUMPKINS – ‘Tis the season! If there is anything San Mateo County/Silicon Valley is known for it is our pumpkin season - and it is upon us!  Visit one of our many farms or spend the day on the coast shopping and learning all about our favorite orange gourds.  Try Pastorino’s or Lemos Farms, both on Highway 92 in Half Moon Bay.  Farmer John’s Pumpkins on Highway 1 is a good option too, with tractor rides and an authentic Native American teepee.

2. KAYAK – While you may kayak any time of the year in San Mateo County/Silicon Valley, it’s particularly beautiful in the fall.  We suggest California Canoe & Kayak, with lessons and rentals in Half Moon Bay and San Mateo, and a retail store in San Carlos.

3. HORSE BACK RIDING – Also a year-round outdoor activity.  There is nothing like riding along the beach in warm weather or trotting through redwood trees with sunshine beaming through the grove. We love Chaparral Ranch at Wunderlich Park in Woodside; they can also set up horse rides throughout San Mateo County/Silicon Valley.


4. SURFING – Okay, we’re seeing a trend. Yes, you can do this year round also! Take a surf lesson with University of Surfing. The school is dedicated to providing and documenting the best surfing experience possible. They are fully licensed and insured and proud to work on the beach in beautiful Pacifica.  


5. STANFORD – Have lunch in Cantor Art Center’s Rodin Garden or visit The Anderson Collection, both completely free museums on Stanford’s campus. Campus tours are also available. We guarantee the mix of architecture, culture and education will leave you feeling smarter.


6. BOCCE BALL – Have you ever played bocce ball? It’s really fun, especially with a glass of wine in the other hand. La Nebbia Winery in Half Moon Bay has courts open from 10am to 5pm daily. Orange Park in South San Francisco also has courts open to the public from 1p to 4p Monday through Saturday.


7. LIGHTHOUSES – We are lucky enough to have two!  Pigeon Point Lighthouse in Pescadero was built in 1872, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast.  Point Montara Lighthouse in Montara was built in 1875 and served as a naval training base in WWII.


8. AÑO NUEVO STATE RESERVE –Home to one of the largest elephant seal populations in the world.  It isn’t mating season - that takes place between December and March - but it is a beautiful flat hike to see.


9. GARDENS – Visit Filoli in Woodside or Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden in Palo Alto before they close for the season.  Walk the gardens, get ideas and inspiration. They are both great places to spend an afternoon.


10. HIKE – There are plenty of hikes and bike rides in San Mateo County/Silicon Valley.  We could mention them all, but that is for a septate blog post. San Mateo County has five Golden Gate National Recreation Area trails and each is amazing. The tallest is Sweeney Ridge in Pacifica, where, on a clear day, you can enjoy a 360 degree view of the Bay Area from the Pacific Ocean to the San Francisco Bay peninsula.