I wanted to compile the list of places we as a family like to go around the Bay Area and also use this opportunity to gather recommendations from you. We are a family of 4 with 2 kids. I’ll update the list as we discover new places.
Hidden Villa (link)
Why we like it: Great for hiking, biking, picnic (no flames); accessible rain or shine, great views. There is a running water along the hiking path as well.
Other notes: There is ample parking space at a price of $5-10.
Venice Beach in Half Moon Bay (link)
Why we like it: There are many beaches along the coast but Venice beach has enough variety in terrain structure that keeps it interesting for the kids all day. Sand is soft, ocean creeps in and creates a little water body and that’s likely why they call it Venice. We like to park at the Venice beach and walk to Half Moon Bay downtown area from the beach.
Why we like it: This is a day-long bike+hike activity. We like it because Berry Creek Falls is beautiful and getting there gives us a destination to aim for, plus great scenery with interesting plants/mushrooms and birds.
Other notes: We pack sandwiches and drive to Waddell Beach, park the cars. We then get on the bikes into the Berry Creek Trail towards the falls. Last 1 mile or so towards the falls is not accessible with bike, so we park bikes and hike the remaining 1 mile. Kids enjoy the falls, play around the water, eat lunch and we return from there.
The place is a bit high in the mountain, so expect climbing up on the way there — but then it’s just that much fun coming down with mountain bikes. Bike ride is about 6 miles one-way.
Purisima Creek (link)
Why we like it: 20mins away from Half Moon Bay, makes for a convenient day-trip that you can combine with after-hike dinner by the beach. Hike itself is very slight incline (~300 feet climb over 2 miles) going in and you can come back the same way or take a longer route as there are many trails around this creek. Main path goes alongside the creek, very scenic and lots of places for kids to take a break and play.
Most of the trail system allows for biking as well, though we didn’t go with bikes thus far.
It’s about an hour drive from Menlo Park.