Our Top 7 Picks for Fun Dates with Your Sweetheart

The San Mateo County Parks’ system offers many wonderful ways to enjoy a dreamy outing with your special someone. Bring a picnic lunch and take advantage of any number of benches and tables offering gorgeous views in scenic settings. Enjoy a leisurely romantic stroll along one of the many trails that is sure to make your date swoon. We have compiled a list of some of our favorite spots for dates and encourage you to share your ideas with us as well.

1. Best Place to Share a Sunset: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Bluff Trail

Location: South of Pacifica and North of Half Moon Bay on the Coast

Above Seal Cove, the Bluff Trail is a moderately easy and romantic trail. Stroll along this path with your honey just before sunset and take in gorgeous panoramic coastal views. Below you is Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, a Marine Protected Area that is home to hermit crabs, sea urchins, anemones, harbor seals and much more. Nearby is the historic and haunted 😉 Moss Beach Distillery where after your stroll, the two of you can snuggle up with hot chocolate by the outdoor fire pits.

Stormy Fitzgerald Sunset

Stormy Fitzgerald Sunset by Brody Scotland


2. Best Place to Share a Tree:  Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve, Ridgeview Trail

Location: Near Redwood City and Emerald Hills Area

On the western edge of Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve is Ridgeview Trail, which ends with a 0.1-mile climb up to “Inspiration Heights”. Here, one is greeted with stunning views of San Francisco Bay and Mount Diablo to the east and the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west. Thanks to a wet winter, wildflowers are starting to bloom, so you and your date will be rewarded with splashes of color, which will develop into fields of wildflowers later this spring. Discover what is blooming now by following the Friends of Edgewood’s weekly wildflower survey.

"Inspiration Height" at Edgewood Preserve

View of tree and SF bay from Edgewood Preserve


3. Best Place to Hide Away: Sam McDonald Park, Heritage Grove Trail

Location: Between Woodside and Pescadero

Sam McDonald Park is a gorgeous and magical forest featuring old growth redwoods. You and your date will feel like the only two people in the world when you visit the Heritage Grove, surrounded by majestic trees that are shrouded in fog. Sit in silence and take in the sounds of the forest and keep your eyes open for the bright yellow banana slug, which calls the Santa Cruz Mountains home. No need to kiss the banana slug, though, when you have your date by your side!

Shady Redwood walk at Sam McDonald Park

A trail through a redwood forest at Sam McDonald Park.


4. Best Place to Run from a Date: Crystal Springs Regional Trail, Sawyer Camp and San Andreas segments

Location: Sawyer Camp Trail is near 280 in the San Mateo Area, San Andreas Trail is near 280 in the Millbrae Area

The Sawyer Camp and San Andreas trail segments offer wonderful views of Crystal Springs Reservoir and San Andreas Lake. This pristine watershed is home to all kinds of wildlife, from hawks and deer to bobcats, coyotes and rattlesnakes. If your date loves trees, make sure to visit the Jepson Laurel, a tree that is over 600 years old and is now the oldest and largest known Laurel in California. You can find it midway along Sawyer Camp Trail. However, if you discover your date hates trees, you can rest assured knowing that you can hightail it out of there on a trail loved by runners. Crystal Springs Regional Trail Map

Trail adjacent to reservoir

Sawyer Camp Trail adjacent to Crystal Springs Reservoir


5. Best Place to Share a View: Coyote Point Recreation Area, Bluff Trail and Merchant Marine Memorial Overlook  

Location: Off Peninsula Avenue in San Mateo on the Bay

The Bluff Trail at Coyote Point offers stunning views of San Francisco Bay, the City of San Francisco, the East Bay, as well as another county park, San Bruno Mountain. Hike up to the Merchant Marine Memorial overlook to sit with your love and watch the planes land at San Francisco International Airport. Windy days offer sightings of kite-boarders and wind surfers playing on the bay. Keep your eyes and ears open for peregrine falcons and other local birds. As the sun sets, the colors dancing off the bay are glorious. Please note some nearby closures in the park.

Trees partially obscuring a San Francisco bay view

From Coyote Point, looking north across SF bay to San Bruno Mountain.


6. Best Place to Share with your Dog: Devil’s Slide Trail

Location: Devil’s Slide is South of Pacifica on the Coast

Devil’s Slide offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, lots of birds, and steep cliffs sure to fascinate your inner geologist. Since this trail is an old section of Highway 1, it is paved. It is also bicycle-friendly and dog-friendly. Bring your canine best friend for a stroll with the wind and the waves and perhaps some whales to keep you company. Perfect for sunsets.

Devil's Slide Trail

Devil’s Slide Trail by Rosa Magana – This paved trail gives people a view of the Pacific Ocean.


7. Best Place to Share a Table and a Bite to Eat: Mirada Surf

Location: Mirada Surf is west of Highway 1 near El Granada

The Coastal Trail through Mirada Surf offers a relaxing stroll to walk hand in hand with your dear one. For a pit stop with an ocean view, choose from one of the tables or benches along the way. Bring a meal to share for a cozy picnic and watch for birds, surfers and whales. Or discover nearby dining just an easy walk away, like the Miramar Beach Restaurant or Sam’s Chowder House. A candlelight dinner followed by a moonlit stroll…? Sounds divine!

Mirada Surf at dusk.

Mirada Surf Sunset by Eric Steven Sevilla – The Coastal Trail hugs the shoreline offering epic ocean views.


San Mateo County is blessed with a rich variety of parks, trails, scenery and terrain. We hope you find this article helpful in your quest to discover new places to share with your special someone!

Please note that some parks, like Coyote Point, charge $6 for parking. Also keep in mind that dogs are only allowed in certain parks and on certain trails. You can see which ones at this link.

San Mateo County Parks Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring people to care for, learn about, and enjoy our parks.



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