Coyote Point Recreation Area
1701 Coyote Point Dr, San Mateo, 94401 - (650)573-2592
Coyote Point is a regional recreation area that provides a wide variety of opportunities: picnicking, swimming, windsurfing, bicycling, jogging, fishing, boating, and sailing. Kids will love the giant, castle-and-dragon-themed Magic Mountain Playground. Spectacular natural history exhibits of the Bay Area can be found at the CuriOdyssey
. You can observe and listen to live animals at the Wildlife Habitats. Stroll along the beach promenade, visit the marina
and its breakwater, or to the saltwater marsh. See shorebirds, colorful boats, windsurfers, and planes from the San Francisco International Airport
The origin of the name Coyote Point is somewhat clouded. Since it was originally an island completely surrounded by salt marsh, it is doubtful that it was inhabited by coyotes. It is probable that the name could be attributed to Coyetana Arenas, to whom it was granted by the Governor of Mexico. It is improbable that Indians lived on Coyote Point, although small shell mounds do exist indicating that they at least used it for feasts and perhaps special ceremonies. Without fresh water, however, they could not have survived for long on the island proper.
Coyote Point was originally a part of the Presidio and Mission lands. After it passed to Mexico, Governor Pio Pico granted it to Coyetano Arenas. It was later sold by the Arenas family to the firm of Mellus and Howard. Howard bought it from the firm in 1850, and it remained in the Howard family until acquired by the County and the Federal Government in 1942.
The Howard family built a pier at Coyote Point for lumber loading in the late 1800's. Mr. Howard built a bathhouse and pool on the beach in 1880, and had Eucalyptus, Cypress and Pine trees planted on the knoll. It was the Howard family also who reclaimed the marsh between the island and the mainland for the purpose of creating a dairy pasture.
In 1922, a group of promoters organized and built the Pacific City Amusement Park Corporation on land leased from the Howard family. The area embraced the natural beach running north from the knoll about 3,000 feet with ninety acres of land adjoining the beach. The main features of the park were a boardwalk, children's playground, and concessions consisting of scenic railway, merry-go-round, ferris wheel, dancing pavilion and several food concessions. It was reputed to have had one million visitors during the first season. During its second season the amusement park experienced a fire, which destroyed about a quarter of the development. It never opened for another season. The reasons given for its closing were the strong afternoon winds and sewer contamination in the bay.
In 1942, the Knoll proper, or the original Coyote Point, was acquired for a Merchant Marine Cadet School. The Knoll area was used for this purpose until 1946, when the buildings and factories were sold to the College of San Mateo. It was operated as a college until it was acquired by the San Mateo County for use as a park and recreation area in 1962.
A number of paved pathways connect the various park areas and can be used for a brisk walk or a casual stroll. Through the inland area of the park runs a segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail, which upon completion will circumscribe the entire bay. The Shoreline Trail, south of the Marina, is the only unpaved trail in the park and is excellent for those interested in birdwatching along the salt marsh.
Learn more about these and other Coyote Point Recreation Area Trails.
Observe all trail signs and posted speed limits. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not allowed off designated paved areas. Please respect your fellow trail users and follow the trail etiquette guidelines for safe and courteous trail use.
The Knoll Day Camp is a day-use facility for Scout group activities only. It's available reservation year-round for organized Scout groups.
The Captain's House, a coveted meeting and conference facility, is located in the heart of the park. It is used by many companies and organizations for retreats, seminars and conferences. The Captain's House can accommodate up to 30 people and has three 'breakout' rooms. The facility can be made fully accessible with prior notice. A kitchen and a lounge area are located in the building. Trails and picnic benches are located nearby. The Captain's House is available year around Monday through Friday and on Saturday and Sunday from September through March by reservation only. To reserve the Captain's House, please call the Reservations Desk at (650) 363-4021.
Captains House Conference Facility
The Coyote Point Pistol and Rifle Range is located near the center of the Park. It can accommodate both small bore and high power guns. The Range is open separately to both the public and law enforcement personnel. The Rangemaster can be reached at (650) 573-2557. Admission is $5.00 for adults and $4.00 for youth 17 and under. The times for public use are:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
The Coyote Point Marina, located in the eastern part of the Park, accommodates 580 boats. Berth rentals are available on a monthly and daily basis. It has 24-hour Bay access with three boat ramps and a fishing breakwater. Fuel is available next to the boat ramps. Further information regarding the Marina may be obtained by calling the Harbormaster at (650) 573-2594.
The Coyote Point Yacht Club is located just south of the Marina. It is a proprietary club with over 300 sail and powerboat members. This 55-year-old organization sponsors various events throughout the year. The Club's restaurant, the Point, is open to club members, their guests, and other affiliated yacht clubs. For more information about Coyote Yacht Club, the Point, special activities, or membership, you can contact them at (650) 347-6730.
Jumpers are allowed in select Reservation Sites at Coyote Point Recreation Area. An additional fee of $90.00 is required and jumpers are allowed only after payment is accepted, and permit issued from the Reservation Office. All paper work, and payments must be submitted a minimum of one week prior to the date of your reservation. Please call the reservations desk for details @ 650.363.4021.
Coyote Point Recreation Area has large lawn areas and places for picnicking and relaxing and playing. Paths alongside the water offer a view of the bay, San Mateo Bridge, and the procession of jets taking off and landing at SFO. On the north side of the park is a gravel beach area, which is ideal for sunbathing, and the cool bay water is very refreshing on hot summer days (food and drink are permitted on the beach, but alcohol is prohibited).
Magic Mountain Playground
Magic Mountain Playground, re-opened in 2006 after a complete redesign, contains two play areas, one for 2-5 year olds and another for 5-12 year olds. Children enjoy eleven slides and thirteen swings, plus spring riders, balance beams, and a 42-foot high castle atop a five-foot hill. The slide from the top of the castle is one of the longest enclosed slides in California. Flanking the hill and extending into the playground are two huge purple dragons.
Coyote Point has the Peninsula's only science and nature museum, CuriOdyssey (formerly the Coyote Point Museum). CuriOdyssey is a family-friendly museum that features hands-on science exhibits that explore how nature's complex systems work together. CuriOdyssey's Wildlife Habitats house live reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds. Stop by and visit these animals that are native to the Bay Area. The museum maintains regular hours. You can contact CuriOdyssey at (650) 342-7755 for further information.
Coyote Point is one of the most popular windsurfing locations in northern California. Most days are suitable for windsurfing due to fairly regular and constant winds. On some days the water can get very choppy. Wetsuits are recommended for any extended periods in the cold bay waters. Windsurfing and kiteboarding gear and lessons are available for rental in the park by Boardsports School.
Days and Hours of Operation
Coyote Point Recreation Area is open every day of the year including all holidays. It opens daily at 8:00 A.M. The closing time varies by time of year. Certain facilities within the park have different schedules. The park's closing times are:
- December - February 5:00 P.M.
- March 6:00 P.M. (before Daylight Savings Time starts)
- March 7:00 P.M. (after Daylight Savings Time starts)
- April - August 8:00 P.M.
- September 8:00 P.M. (through Labor Day)
- September 7:00 P.M. (beginning the day after Labor Day)
- October 7:00 P.M. (first week[s] of October)
- October 6:00 P.M. (last three weeks of October)
- November 6:00 P.M. (before Daylight Saving Time ends)
- November 5:00 P.M. (after Daylight Saving Time ends)
Coyote Point (also formerly knows as San Mateo Point) was originally an island surrounded by salt marsh. The point is basically a red rock formation with a thin layer of salty soil. This original soil supported scrub oak, grasses and chaparral. The oak never achieved a significant height, having been sculpted by the wind. In the 1800's the marsh between the main land and the island was filled in. Also, Eucalyptus, Monterey Cypress and Monterey Pine were planted but most have been stunted due to the wind and poor soil.
The most prominent feature of the park today is the large stand of Eucalyptus trees. They are visible from many points along the peninsula and provide protection from the almost constant winds near the bay. Also, remnants of the salt marsh still exist at the southeastern corner of the park near the Marina.
All of the plant and animal species are protected in the Coyote Point Recreation Area, and their habitats may be off limits to park users. Please observe signs carefully, and keep motorized vehicles and bicycles on marked trails and parking areas.
Prepare for a safe and enjoyable visit to Coyote Point Recreation Area and other San Mateo County Parks by being aware of your natural environment.
Directions to the Park
When coming to Coyote Point from the north (San Francisco), use Highway 101 South. Take the Poplar Avenue exit. Turn right onto Humbolt until Peninsula Avenue. Turn right onto Peninsula Avenue. Go over the freeway, and then circle around and into the Park.
When coming to Coyote Point from the south (San Jose), use Highway 101 North. Take the Peninsula Avenue exit. Turn right onto Airport Blvd. Turn left onto Coyote Point Drive to the park.
SamTrans buses provide service to key destinations throughout San Mateo County and San Francisco, such as work, schools, malls, civic centers and parks. Please visit SamTrans web site to find out how you can take one of their buses to this park.
Map to Coyote Point Park on mapquest.com
Coyote Point Park has 3 picnic areas with 12 different sites. The Eucalyptus Picnic Area is located near the Marina, the Beach Picnic Area is located near the northern beach front, and the Magic Mountain Picnic Area is located near the Magic Mountain Playground.
The Knoll Day Camp is also available only by reservation and accommodates up to 50
youth and leaders.
The Captains House Conference Facility is also available by reservation.
The above areas are booked for the entire day. Fees are charged for using these areas and for vehicle entry into the park. Payment in full, by credit card, is required at the time you make the reservation. Reservations are not required for general drop-in use. Vehicle entry fees are charged at the gate house.
To reserve a picnicking site at Coyote Point Park, visit our on line reservation system or please call the San Mateo County Parks Department reservations desk at (650) 363-4021. Reservations for Knoll Day Camp sites and for the Captain's House Conference Center must be made by phoning the reservations desk.
Visit our on line reservation system for RV camp site photos & info, pricing and availability. Be sure to enter RV Camping at Coyote Point as the "Use Type."
A large and varied number of volunteer activities take place all year long at Coyote Point Recreation Area as part of the Parks Department's Volunteer Program. Individuals, groups, families and organizations can take part in trail construction, plant maintenance, visitor services and other beneficial and rewarding projects. Special activities are held each year for Earth Day, Coastside Cleanup Day and Trails Day. Please contact Coyote Point Park or San Mateo County Parks Volunteer Program for further information.
The Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education is funded and supported by donations and volunteers. Volunteers staff CuriOdyssey and the Wildlife Center, provide interpretive education, and lead docent tours. Call (650) 342-7755 for further information on volunteer opportunities at CuriOdyssey.
To preserve the natural environment of Coyote Point Recreation Area, all plants, animals and natural features are protected.
- Picking or removing wildflowers or other natural material is prohibited.
- Fires are permitted in park barbecue pits only - no ground fires.
- Cutting and gathering of wood is prohibited.
- Dogs and other pets are not allowed.
- Motor vehicles and bicycles are permitted only on paved roadways and in established parking areas.
- Firearms and other weapons are prohibited.
- Loud radios and the playing of amplified musical instruments are not permitted.
- Park opens at 8:00 A.M. and closes at the preset time prior to sunset.
- Keep fishing lines and boats out of the swim area.
- Beer and wine only are allowed in certain areas, no hard liquor.
- Smoking is prohibited.
- Feeding of wildlife is prohibited.
- Leaving designated trails is prohibited.
- Hunting is not permitted per California State Fish and Game Regulations.