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    From oak-studded grasslands to breath­taking redwoods and a spectacularly scenic coastline, Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Peninsula hold an abundance of outdoor wonders. Just a few minutes drive to the west, the Santa Cruz Mountain foothills paint a typically Californian backdrop of golden grasslands dotted with rugged live oaks. These mountains form a natural barrier between the valley and the Pacific Ocean, blocking the frequent coastal fog and giving the area one of the world’s fairest climates. The higher and wetter elevations of their eastern side, along with the western slopes leading to the Pacific Ocean, are home to lush forests of majestic, moisture-loving redwood trees. An extensive network of parks and open space preserves, as well as numerous beaches, offer virtuously endless opportunities for outdoor recreation.



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    Almaden Quicksilver County Park

    This park is full of roads once used to transport cinnabar to the reduction works. Hikers and joggers now traverse the 34 miles of trails through chaparral, oak woodlands, and grasslands.




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    ADDRESS: 21785 Almaden Rd., San Jose CA
    TEL #: 408-268-3883       WEBSITE: Almaden Quicksilver County Park

    Outdoors Category: Parks & Preserves

    Año Nuevo State Reserve

    The world’s largest on-shore elephant seal rookery is at Año Nuevo State Reserve, about 20 miles north of Santa Cruz. Take a naturalist-led tour during the breeding season (December through March) ...more




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    ADDRESS: 1 New Years Creek Rd., Pescadero CA
    TEL #: 650-879-2025       WEBSITE: Año Nuevo State Reserve

    Outdoors Category: Beaches, Parks & Preserves

    Baylands Nature Preserve

    At this largest area of undisturbed marshland in the San Francisco Bay, catwalks extend out over baylands and 15 miles of trails provide access to tidal and freshwater habitats. The preserve is a well-k ...more




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    ADDRESS: Ranger Station - 2500 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto CA
    TEL #: 650-617-3156       WEBSITE: Baylands Nature Preserve

    Outdoors Category: Parks & Preserves

    Bean Hollow State Beach

    This relatively small beach consists of two sandy coves separated by a rocky out-crop. Popular activities include kite-flying and tide pool-watching. It’s a terrific place to check out large waves during ...more




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    ADDRESS: 11000 Cabrillo Hwy , Pescadero CA
    TEL #: (650) 726-8819        WEBSITE: Bean Hollow State Beach

    Outdoors Category: Beaches

    Big Basin Redwood State Park

    Towering redwoods, beautiful waterfalls, sweeping vistas, and long hikes are all in store at this park in Santa Cruz County. California’s oldest state park is home to the largest continuous stand of anc ...more




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    ADDRESS: 21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek CA
    TEL #: 831-338-8860       WEBSITE: Big Basin Redwood State Park

    Outdoors Category: Parks & Preserves

    Bonny Doon Beach

    With a backdrop of sandy cliffs, this secluded, clothing-optional beach is picturesque, clean, and peaceful, with caves to explore.




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    ADDRESS: Hwy. 1 at Bonny Doon Rd., Santa Cruz CA
    WEBSITE: Bonny Doon Beach

    Outdoors Category: Beaches

    Butano State Park

    This secluded 2,800-acre park lies in a redwood-filled canyon. Panoramic vistas are available from a variety of trails of varying degrees of difficulty. The Año Nuevo Trail offers a spectacular vie ...more




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    ADDRESS: 1500 Cloverdale Rd., Pescadero CA
    TEL #: 650-879-2040       WEBSITE: Butano State Park

    Outdoors Category: Parks & Preserves

    Capitola Beach

    Sand and surf front the village of Capitola; its esplanade is lined with busy restaurants and boutiques that paint a scene of summer perfection.




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    ADDRESS: San Jose Ave & Esplanade , Capitola CA
    WEBSITE: Capitola Beach

    Outdoors Category: Beaches

    Castle Rock State Park

    More than 30 miles of trails in rugged forested and open terrain offer views in all directions. Steep sandstone canyons with unusual rock formations and challenging overhangs make this a rock-climbing destination.




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    ADDRESS: Highway 35, just 2 1/2 miles southeast of the junc, Los Gatos CA
    TEL #: (408) 867-2952       WEBSITE: Castle Rock State Park

    Outdoors Category: Parks & Preserves

    Chardonnay II

    Take a first-­class cruise through the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary aboard the Chardonnay II—a 70-foot sailing yacht. A variety of sailing charters offer everything from whale watching to wine tasting.




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    ADDRESS: 704 Soquel Ave, Suite A , Santa Cruz CA
    TEL #: 831-423-1213       WEBSITE: Chardonnay II

    Outdoors Category: Sailing

    Cowell (Main) Beach

    This sandy beach is popular for sports such as volleyball and windsurfing.




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    ADDRESS: Beach St., Santa Cruz CA
    TEL #: (831) 420-6015       WEBSITE: Cowell (Main) Beach

    Outdoors Category: Beaches

    Cowell Ranch Beach

    This newest state beach is still relatively undiscovered, with beautiful stretches of often unpopulated white sand. A half-mile walk past artichoke fields offers views onto a harbor seal preserve.




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    ADDRESS: Half mile south of Miramonte Point Rd. on Hwy. 1, Half Moon Bay CA
    TEL #: 650-726-8819       WEBSITE: Cowell Ranch Beach

    Outdoors Category: Beaches

    Davenport Beach

    This dramatic, secludedbeach in a protected cove is a choice spot for surfers and windsurfers.




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    ADDRESS: Highway 1, opposite the town of Davenport, Davenport CA
    WEBSITE: Davenport Beach

    Outdoors Category: Beaches

    Deer Hollow Farm

    This 10-acre working homestead and educational center located on a 2,135-acre preserve lets families observe, explore, and participate in a working farm. The surrounding wilderness is also explored using hand ...more




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    ADDRESS: Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, Cristo Rey, Santa Clara CA
    TEL #: 650-903-6430       WEBSITE: Deer Hollow Farm

    Attraction Category: Family/Young Ones, Specialty/Other, Parks & Preserves

    Edgewood County Park & Natural Preserve

    Close to urban centers, this 467-acre area is composed of rolling foothills terrain with large expanses of grasslands, chaparral, and pockets of oak woodland. Hikers can enjoy eight miles of trails that reach a ...more




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    ADDRESS: 10 Old Stage Coach Road, Redwood City CA
    TEL #: 650-368-6283       WEBSITE: Edgewood County Park & Natural Preserve

    Outdoors Category: Parks & Preserves

    El Sereno Open Space Preserve

    At this 1,415-acre preserve, hikers, bikers and equestrians can travel through about six miles of gradual trails, most of which wind through chaparral and some wooded creek-side areas. A three-mile trek along a r ...more




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    ADDRESS: Montevina Road & Aeronaut Way , Los Gatos CA
    TEL #: 650-691-1200       WEBSITE: El Sereno Open Space Preserve

    Outdoors Category: Parks & Preserves

    Emma Prusch Farm Park

    This 47-acre park offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the area’s rich agricultural past. Featuring San Jose’s largest barn, the park also includes community gardens, a fruit orchard, and sp ...more




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    ADDRESS: 647 S. King Rd., San Jose CA
    TEL #: 408-794-6262       WEBSITE: Emma Prusch Farm Park

    Attraction Category: History Museum/Historic Site, Specialty/Other, Gardens, Parks & Preserves

    Forest of Nisene Marks State Park

    This beautiful park offers 10,000 acres of semi-rugged wilderness, rising from sea level to coastal mountains at 2,600 feet, with more than 30 miles of trails. A former logging site, the park contains remnants of ...more




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    ADDRESS: 100 Aptos Creek Rd,, Aptos CA
    TEL #: 831-763-7062       WEBSITE: Forest of Nisene Marks State Park

    Outdoors Category: Parks & Preserves

    Fremont Older Open Space Preserve

    This gorgeous preserve in the west valley foothills offers hikers, cyclists and equestrians forested hillsides, open hayfields and Hunters Point, a 900-foot hilltop with breathtaking views of the Santa Clara Valley.




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    ADDRESS: Prospect Rd. (turn left after the Saratoga Country, Cupertino CA
    TEL #: 650-691-1200       WEBSITE: Fremont Older Open Space Preserve

    Outdoors Category: Parks & Preserves

    Gray Whale Cove State Beach

    This sheltered 800-foot cove, also known as Devil’s Slide, is surrounded by stunning cliffs that drop abruptly into the Pacific Ocean. Gray whales can often be seen from the bluffs of this clothing-opti ...more




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    ADDRESS: Hwy. 1, Montara CA
    TEL #: 94019       WEBSITE: Gray Whale Cove State Beach

    Outdoors Category: Beaches

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