San Mateo Coast's Beach Gems



I love driving Highway 1 south of San Francisco along the coast. The air is clean and clear and the beaches are usually empty, or nearly so. It's fun to get out and explore. No two beaches are the same, No beach stays static for very long. Storms carve new channels. Sand drifts in and out and driftwood comes and goes. Life in and around the ocean changes every day. But beach memories last much longer. Every beach experience sticks in my mind. My favorite is of a day in 1984 on a beach near Pescadero

where my older son, the day after his first birthday, took his first official step in the sand. He left a little shoe imprint that a wave washed away within minutes but that has stayed in my mind for years. I don't remember the official name of that particular beach though he and I returned there many times while he was little, stopping to play in the dunes or chase a ball by the water before driving on. As far as I'm concerned, it's Nicolas Beach. There are lots of beaches to visit and memories to make along the San Mateo coast. And by the way, after you work up an appetite in the fresh air, drive inland a couple of miles to Pescadero. I've seen pictures of the town a century ago, and except for a few neon lights and paved streets, not much has changed including Duarte's Restaurant which has been owned by the same family for generations. The food is good and comforting, especially the special soups and pies. And by the way, ask about the Harley goat cheese the family makes just outside of town. Sometimes you can stop by to see the goats and purchase your cheese directly. It's very good. Even the poor goat I tried to milk one day survived and is doing quite well.


Although Heidi Horowitz has moved on from her job there, the beaches of the San Mateo coast continue to follow their natural cycles. The entire region has gained even more protection recently as you can see by watching our story about the Peninsula Open Space Trust.


They comprise a string of scenic and uncrowded jewels just over the hill from millions of people. Here are just a few of the quiet beaches along the San Mateo coast.
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