Despite its Silicon Valley address, San Mateo is tops when it comes to families. The options are endless for kids of all ages at Coyote Point Recreation Area, on San Francisco Bay. The area includes spots to fish, sail, boat or windsurf. There’s also a magical playground, plus the chance to view wild animals and natural history at CuriOdyssey. Enjoy the weather on the rocky shores of Coyote Point Beach, while listening to the crashing waves. Keep reading our San Mateo travel guide and start planning your vacation to beautiful San Mateo CA. For all the great area beaches, click here.
Weather – When to Visit San Mateo
Average temperatures in San Mateo vary little. If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit San Mateo, the hottest months are July thru September. The warmest time of year is generally late August to early September where highs are regularly around 78°F with temperatures rarely dropping below 57°F at night. The busiest time for tourism in San Mateo is from June thru August. Prices for hotels and flights will be most expensive during these months, though you can save if you purchase well in advance.
San Mateo Attractions
Coyote Point Beach
The recreation area has an 18-hole municipal golf course (Poplar Creek Golf Course), marina and yacht club, family-friendly nature museum called CuriOdyssey, walking trails, beachfront promenade, huge playground, and a grass park with nice amenities.
Sawyer Camp Trail
Located within the Crystal Springs Regional Trail, Sawyer Camp Trail is the most well-known. Spanning 12 miles along the San Andreas Fault, this trail is incredibly beautiful and a breath of fresh air among the heavily populated cities. Whether it’s a bike ride, hike, or a simple walk along the path, Sawyer Camp Trail provides a stellar backdrop to enjoy the outdoors.
San Mateo Japanese Garden
The Japanese Garden, in San Mateo Central Park is one of the finest gardens in California. It was designed by landscape architect, Nagao Sakurai of the Imperial Palace of Tokyo, and features a granite pagoda, tea house, koi pond and bamboo grove. The Japanese Garden is beautiful throughout the year, but be sure to visit in the late Winter and early Spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. Sorry no dogs are allowed in the Japanese Garden.
Seal Point Park
Seal Point Park includes a multitude of pathways for walking, cycling, bird watching and a 3-acre dog park. See Dog Park Rules & Regulations. You can walk the boardwalk along the Bay Marshes where you can observe wildlife – including the endangered California Clapper Rail.
Things to do in San Mateo
No matter the season, California Windsurfing has the perfect water adventure for you. Whether you’re vacationing or looking for something new and fun in your neighborhood. You want a better, or more fun and affordable place to Windsurf, Stand Up Paddle Board, Kayak, or Ride a Pedal Boat than California Windsurfing. Telephone: +1 650-594-0335 Web: California Windsurfing
Venture Jeeps is an all inclusive, family friendly, four-wheeling, camping, outdoor experience. What does that mean for YOU? It means for one fee, you are provided with: a modified & capable Jeep, all necessary camping gear* if two day trip was selected* meals, and a competent trail guide in his/her jeep to make your trip most memorable & worry free! Telephone:
+1 888-425-4884 Web: Venture Jeeps
California Canoe & Kayak
The West’s finest and most extensive Paddlesports company since 1972! They have been committed to providing safe and enjoyable classes and trips for over 40 years and would love to help you discover and develop your paddlesport endeavors. As paddlers, they will support you on your adventures in and around San Francisco bay & beyond! Telephone: +1 650-593-6060 Web: California Canoe & Kayak
Fly Bay Area
FlyBayArea offers U-Fly SkyTours around the Bay Area in airplanes. Choose from four different SkyTours and get a chance to fly the plane with one of our professional flight instructors. Fly over San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the Pacific Coast. A unique aerial tour for locals and visitors alike. Telephone: +1 650-631-2927 Web: Fly Bay Area
Bay Area Ridge Riders
Trail rides for experienced riders. Bay Area Ridge Riders takes you on an equestrian adventure through forests, meadows and ridges in the San Francisco Bay Area. They specialize in rides for experienced riders and therefor provide responsive, well-conditioned horses for a vigorous ride. Telephone: +1 650-296-2236 Web: Bay Area Ridge Riders
Best Restaurants in San Mateo
$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End
$$ – $$$ Attic
A restaurant that offers modern twists to popular Asian cuisine, most notably from the Philippines, Southeast Asia, China, and Korea. Their ‘Ahi Tuna Poke’ on gyoza chips, ‘Adobo Wing Lollipops’, ‘Long Life Garlic Noodles’, and ‘Kimchee Fried Rice’ are standouts of the menu. The connected bar downstairs, Under the Attic, offers a relaxing environment to grab a drink with friends. Telephone: 650-342-4506 Web: Attic
$$ – $$$ Ramen Dojo
With a maximum capacity of 24 people, there are usually long lines but the food here is worth the wait. The shoyu ramen is the star of the menu that helps you appreciate traditional ramen. If you’re not willing to wait queue, owner Kazunori Kobayashi has also opened seafood and modern ramen shop, Ramen Parlor, just around the corner. Telephone: 650-401-6568 Web: Ramen Dojo
$$ – $$$ Three Restaurant & Bar
Brunch is a way of life in San Mateo, and Three Restaurant and Bar is the best place to sample what’s on offer for a late breakfast in the city. Priding themselves with a regionally Californian menu, they strive to recreate the state’s diverse and eclectic personality in their food. Items are offered as either individual orders or as family plates, making Three a great place for both more intimate occasions and large gatherings. Telephone: 650-344-9444 Web: Three Restaurant & Bar
$$ – $$4 31st Union
Immediately presenting itself with a rustic interior, 31st Union offers a very Californian, farm-to-table approach to their artisan food. They pride themselves for acquiring their ingredients locally within the state only, offering recipes and dishes of the highest quality. With a menu that brandishes a charcuterie, artisan cheeses, and modern food plates, 31st Union is a Bay Area native’s dream. Telephone: 650-458-0049 Web: 31st Union
$ Curry Up Now
Starting as a food truck in 2009, Curry Up Now has been a staple in Bay Area for Indian fusion cuisine. Now they have grown as a business that includes five trucks and four brick and mortar locations. The San Mateo restaurant has the usual selections of Indian style tacos, burritos, and street foods, all of which can also be ordered at its connecting cocktail bar Mortar & Pestle. Telephone: 650-316-8648 Web: Curry Up Now
Best San Mateo Nightlife
B Street & Vine
For a fulfilling nightlife experience, B Street & Vine is the wine bar to visit. A description of this restaurant can be narrowed down to three aspects: great wine, great bruschetta, and great live music. They also offer paninis and salads as meals, making B Street & Vine a perfect destination for a light meal with loved ones paired with a fun, lighthearted environment. Telephone: 650-347-8463 Web: B Street & Vine
Paddy Flynn’s is a friendly, local pub. They offer a full bar and specialize in Irish drinks including Guinness, Jameson and other Irish whiskey, beers, and ciders. Join them and enjoy their jukebox, full-sporting event coverage, and outside patio. Telephone: 650-344-0284 Web: Paddy Flynn’s
Sip a cool cocktail, mingle and groove with live weekend DJs, Wednesday Karaoke and Salsa dancing on Thursdays. Specializing in private parties and events, they offer dancing, cocktails and an all around good time. Telephone: 650-347-7656 Web: Vinyl Room
Grape & Grain
They are a local hangout specializing in small production, west coast wines and artisinal brew from around the world. They break the pretension of a wine bar and focus to create a fun and casual atmosphere for everyone to relax and enjoy. They are serious and passionate about their product, but try and not take things too seriously. Telephone: 650-342-9463 Web: Grape & Grain
Yuppie Bar, but more like a Yuppie Free zone. Great selection of drinks, both cheap and something a but more pricey, but not too much. Great place to hang out with your friends and shoot some pool. Telephone: 650-343-8183 Web: Yuppie Bar
Best San Mateo Hotels
Hilton Garden Inn San Mateo
Located in San Mateo, Hilton Garden Inn San Mateo is minutes from Mariners Point Golf Center and Parkside Aquatic Park. Make yourself at home in one of the 157 air-conditioned rooms with refrigerators and microwaves. 37-inch flat-screen TVs, complimentary WiFi, private bathrooms with shower/tub combinations, and an outdoor pool, spa tub, and a 24-hour fitness center. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Hilton Garden Inn San Mateo.
Best Western Coyote Point Inn
The Best Western Coyote Point received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Built recently, it boasts modern décor and numerous attractive amenities, including free wireless Internet access, a deluxe steam room, a business center, and meeting and conference facilities. In your room, you’ll find an extensive lineup of 72 TV channels. Complimentary breakfast each morning is also included. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Best Western Coyote Point Inn.
Residence Inn by Marriott San Mateo
Spacious suites with separate living and sleeping areas, fully equipped kitchens, and free high-speed Internet access provide guests the perfect extended stay accommodations. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Residence Inn by Marriott San Mateo.
Stone Villa Inn
This budget friendly San Mateo hotel provides a variety of amenities you would expect while away from home such as free Wi-Fi, free parking, 24-hour front desk, fax/copy services, 39 inch LCD TVs, free local calls and voicemail, free wake up service, and more. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit the Stone Villa Inn.
Urban Flat Studio Apartments @ Park 20
Urban Flat Studio Apartments @ Park 20 provides free WiFi and a fitness centre. Guests staying at this apartment have access to a fully equipped kitchen. The apartment consists of 1 bathroom and a living room. Private parking is available at the apartment. Guests can make use of the hot tub. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your stay visit the Urban Flat Studio Apartments @ Park 20.
Wow, this is a very detailed post for anyone who is interested in visiting San Mateo. And I must say that even people who weren’t interested in vacationing in San Mateo would be after reading this beautiful review. There is so much to see and so much to do. The Japanese Garden is especially very beautiful and attractive and the Fly Bay Area offerings are also a must. Who can resist the offer to experience the view of beautiful skylines,well unless those with fear of height of course. This is an awesome piece you’ve written. You did justice to San Matteo.
Thank you 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed! Please come back and visit beach travel destinations when you are ready to plan.
Thanks for sharing this wonderful information on San Mateo. I’m still wondering if this San Mateo is located here on earth because the beauty of this place is beyond total comprehension. I’ll definitely visit someday with my wife. The pictures attached at each paragraph makes it more Appalling and promising. This is great information. Thanks for taking your time to put all these together in one piece of information. Cheer’s
You are welcome. And you and your wife will be in awe, San Mateo is beautiful!
San Mateo is a place to settle down. It has everything you need to enjoy yourself and is still big enough to find work. The surrounding are super pretty and diverse! Restaurant and night life sounds lively as well. I’m not into golfing so I guess my place to go to would be a Seal Point park.
The temperatures are pretty moderate and perfect for living as well.. wounder if they get a lot of rain?
They do not get a lot of rain 🙂 You’ll have to head further north if you want to get substantial rain. Yes, I agree that it is a perfect place to live for sure. I am kinda bias though. Thanks for visiting my San Mateo Travel post.
This is a very good article that was articulately put together! I love beaches and I have been to many in recent years but your article on San Mateo is captivating!
The Japanese Garden, in San Mateo Central Park is one that caught my eye. I must see it during my June holiday season.
I must take my wife to the this beach this year. Maybe I can convert her to beaches lover like myself here because of the beauty.
what is special precaution here?
any place to avoid?
No need to worry about any precautions here or places to avoid. You will be able to enjoy yourselves pretty much care free. Just take the normal precautions you would when traveling anywhere. I am glad you enjoyed my San Mateo Travel post!
Whao, I am exited and i don’t think i can hide it any longer.
This is another heaven on earth; a paradise in disguise. This is a lovely site to check on whenever you want to have rest of mind. The pictures are awesome that i had to bookmark this particular page in order to check back easily. San mateo is a place i have never been but with this lovely review, I am checking on the site soonest
Great, you will love the whole San Mateo County area! Please let me know if I can help in any way with your travel plans.
San Mateo CA is really beautiful at least from the pictures. Have me hoping winter ends a lot quicker so I can chill out at the beach with my family. Looking forward to visiting curry up as I love burritos. Quick question though, is this beach pet friendly? cos I’ll hate to leave my pets behind.
There are so many beaches that are dog friendly in the area. Some require a leash, and some don’t The list for dog friendly beachescan be found here. Please let me know if you have an additional questions 🙂
Hi laehrae, another good post from you that I will, be reading about great, interesting and wonderful places In San Francisco to spend holiday with families, friends and loved ones. It was really, an amazing video that shows all the interesting places, I feel like going to San Mateo right now, but I remember best time to visit is just during my birthday, September
What a great way to celebrate your birthday! Please let me know if you need any additional information.
Thanks a lot for the informative and insightful travel guide.
To be honest I love beaches and I love to travel. My mom use to tell me when I am a child I will cry and pray to GOD asking “Dear GOD please bring the beach to my city” Lol. That much I love beaches (Beach is 200 kms far away from where I live).
Heard a lot about San Mateo and your travel guide gave me great insights. And while reading your guide I felt like I am in the San Mateo and the images you shared are awesome. The 3.50 minutes video you embedded is super helpful.
After reading your guide San Mateo is ranking top on my list. Thanks a lot for the great walk-through. I am bookmarking your guide for future reference.
Glad you enjoyed Paul! I love beaches too if you couldn’t already tell 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.
O my Gosh! This place is super cute, and I didn’t even know it exist.Looks like one of those places to visit when you want to rest your mind and soul. I think that even without those adventure options it’s still pretty cool place to see.
BTW., you provided such a great combination of information. Basically, everything you stated is really useful. And love the pictures too.
Thank You so much for putting it all together and sharing.
Bookmarking this website!
I am glad you enjoyed your visit to beach travel destinations! It is a great beach community and I think you will have a wonderful time in San Mateo. Please let me know if you need any additional information.
Wow, what a beautiful place! To be honest, I have never heard of San Mateo until I read your article. My daughter and her girlfriends want to make a trip and they didn’t know where to go. I have bookmarked this page so I can show her later on. Are there places to avoid there? You know, moms always worry:)
Thank you for this great post!
Yes us moms do worry. But no worries in San Mateo. She just needs to take the normal precautions any young lady would take when traveling 🙂 It is really a beautiful area and her and her girl friends would really enjoy .
Wow! Another beautiful place to visit! More gardens, trails, wines, and night life adventures to explore. Right up my alley! I would really like to see The Japanese Garden, in San Mateo Central Park. Sounds beautiful.
Thanks for sharing,
You are so welcome Devara! Thank you for visiting my San Mateo Travel review.
This little area just south of San Francisco can get you to a lot of places quickly. I like to try the Curry Truck, as this is something that I have had several trips to the west coast.
The location is good for getting around in this area, are there any budget hotels in this area.
Thanks for visiting my San Mateo Travel review John. Yes, the best budget hotel with a good rating is the Los Prados Hotel. This is going to be your best bet 🙂 Please let me know if you need any additional information.
I have been waiting this whole winter for warm days to come so that I can just go out to the beach and chill. you have laid out great options on your site regarding beach destination. I guess I don’t need any more research for my travel destination as you have nicely detailed everything one need to know. Is San Mateo Japanese Garden good for toddlers? Coz I have a 3 year old and sometimes it’s a challenge if a place is not child friendly.
The Japanese gardens is kid friendly and your toddler will enjoy 🙂 I think this is a great family destination for sure.
San Mateo seems like a place I would enjoy visiting. You covered San Mateo and its activities, hotels, and restaurants very well. Your article is laid out very well and you have a nice website. You cover your topics very well.
Thank you Danny! Come back when you are ready to start planning!
Another mind blowing destination! I’m impressed by the looks of the city, their beaches and the Japanese garden. Can’t wait to visit San Mateo!! Great read, Leahrae!!
Thanks Effie! Glad you enjoyed!