Before loading up and heading out to the ocean for a beach ride. one should always CONTACT the jurisdiction that the area belongs to, Some areas are closed at certain times of the week to horsemen and for others, parking is tight on weekends but easily accessible on weekdays. All such information on parking, trails, restrictions (remember some trails that are open during winter months are closed for bird nesting spring and summer months) and weather conditions can be obtained by calling that local State, county or city jurisdictions
A couple of my own ‘favorites’ are first, Rancho del Oso off Highway 1 just south of Half Moon Bay. del Oso not only offers beach riding over on Wadell Beach but one can ‘ride north’ and into Big Basin State Park. (Both Rancho del Oso and Big Basin have horse camps for overnight stays.)
For a redwoods to sand ride, plan an overnight stay in Big Basin. (If its a large group, those members that don’t ride can act as drivers for those riding.) Once over the ridge and out of Big Basin, continue down to Rancho del Oso. The second day can he spent riding on the beach.
One place I think just about every horse owner has been to is Point Peyes National Seashore. Camping is at Stewart Horsecarnp if one wants to spend a night, a week or longer. But parking lots are big at Point Reyes so just a day ride can be planned. Although there aren’t many sites to get down to the beach and onto the sand, the views are magnificent! And if you catch the spring months, blackberries are bountiful for snacks and packing back home for pies and cobblers.
One thing that should be remembered about Point Reyes is that certain trails are only open on certain days of the week. So always call ahead to find out what day one can ride on what trail.
Once in Point Reyes, don’t miss the opportunity to ride (or hike) over to the Morgans. Point Reyes breeds and trains Morgan horses for the National Park Service. There’s always a few horses (and foals) in the barn and someone giving demonstrations on training, shoeing, care. The site is located at the main ranger station.
If you have a couple friends you want to take riding, Max Vista Stables in Daly City has rental horses. To get to Mar Vista, take John Daly Blvd. west to Skyline. On Skyline IMMEDIATELY get in the left land and turn into Mar Vista. One can unload an the street going into the stable and they will allow private horses with stable horses, Riding is on the beach hut remember there are OTHER users too!
Moss Landing south of Santa Cruz on Highway 1 is another horsemen’s favorite. It’s on the beach but I’ve found the parking tight with all the cars plus there are those beach restrictions far nesting birds beginning to pop up at some riding locations.
Now that you know a couple of my favorites, tell us about yours. I’m always looking for MORE trails to ride on and horse camps to overnight in.
Other Bay Area beaches open to horses:
Bodega Bay – Sonoma Coast State Beach. Park runs south from the Russian River to the northern shore of Bodega Bay.
Salt Point State Park. 60 miles northwest of Santa Rosa on State Highway 1.
Marin Headlands. Take the Shorline Highway exit off Hwy. 101 to Tennessee Valley Road to Miwok parking and stable area.
Our Readers say:
“I like the Bodega Ride the best, because its close to my house, and after a ride, you can stop in Bodega Bay at the The Tides Restaurant and get a bowl of Clam Chowder. :). Point Reyes is my second favorite, its a lot more riding than Bodega, but very beautiful.” Debbie
“You can ride in Half Moon Bay. The beach parking lot is south of the State Beach in HMB. You cannot ride on the state beach but can ride south of it. Directions: West on Hwy 92 to HMB. Turn left or south on Hwy 1, go through the stop light and then turn right onto Poplar St. (about 2 or 3 blocks from the stoplight). Follow Poplar all the way out to the beach.” Jane.
“There’s a very convenient spot up on a bluff in Daly City which I’ve used many times to park/unload and ride from. The beach length is fabulous! You can ride for 3+ contiguous miles at low tide. My TB gelding handled the sandy trails easily, too.” Leah.
“I am a long-time horse owner, born and raised in San Francisco. I grew up riding on the beach and I can’t tell you how much I miss it. A great beach place to ride is someplace where you might not expect it. Just south of San Francisco in Daly City at John Daily Blvd and Skyline are a few barns that have great beach access and the beach is perfect. Parking is very easy and you have about 1 mile of riding on high bluffs before you and your horse have to step foot on the sand (it makes for a nice and easy introduction to surf and scary ocean).” Susan.
“The best horseback ride in Northern California is here at Monterey Bay Equestrian Center. Ride along the shores of Monterey Bay just 15 minutes north of Monterey. We offer one and two-hour rides. Private rides are welcome. We cater to small groups as well as corporate events.” Michael.