Introducing San Francisco to San Jose
South of the San Francisco peninsula, I-280 is the dividing line between the densely populated South Bay area and the rugged and lightly populated Pacific Coast. With sweeping views of hills and reservoirs, I-280 is a more scenic choice than crowded Hwy 101, which runs through miles of boring business parks. Unfortunately, these parallel north–south arteries are both clogged with traffic during commute times and often on weekends.
A historic site where European explorers first set eyes on San Francisco Bay, Sweeney Ridge straddles a prime spot between Pacifica and San Bruno, and offers hikers unparalleled ocean and bay views. From I-280, exit at Sneath Lane and follow it 2 miles west until it dead ends at the trailhead.
Right on the bay at the northern edge of San Mateo, 4 miles south of San Francisco International Airport, is Coyote Point Recreation Area, a popular park (its playground sports a huge castle) and windsurfing destination. The main attraction – formerly known as the Coyote Point Museum – is CuriOdyssey, with innovative exhibits for kids and adults highlighting science and wildlife. Exit Hwy 101 at Coyote Point Dr.