Saddle up for our 5 favorite ranches, resorts, and stables to check out for horseback riding on trails near San Francisco.
By Willow Taylor Chiang Yang
There’s something magical about horseback riding. Mounting a horse, grabbing the reins, and maybe even tipping your cowboy hat as you ride up and down rolling hills and along seashore cliffs—it feels right out of a movie, starring you. And what better place to do it than the Northern California coastline? Be it on the sandy beaches of Pacifica or across the yellowing grasses of Sonoma, riding is an activity for anybody who loves an amble through the outdoors. Read on for our picks of the best stables along the Northern California coast.
Sea Horse Ranch, Half Moon Bay
Following along the Coastal Equestrian Trail and Poplar Beach, Sea Horse Ranch’s excursions highlight the scenic bluffs, ocean winds, and light forest of the coastline south of San Francisco. While they have options for trail rides only, their most popular excursion—their 1.5-hourlong ride—takes the group on both trail and beach. The ranch provides rides from 1 to 2 hours long for both first-time and veteran riders. Online reservations required. Pricing starts at $70 for 1-hour rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Ages 7+.
Five Brooks Ranch, Point Reyes National Seashore Park, Olema
A couple hours farther up the coastline, the 120-mile Five Brooks Ranch allows riders to explore the Point Reyes National Seashore Park, a protected expanse of coastline that includes rocky highlands, forested wilderness, and beaches. They specialize in guided trail rides with explanations of the park’s historical and ecological significance. The many options Five Brooks provides—from lazy rides under the forest canopy to intense climbs that open up to breathtaking views—ensure that there’s something for everyone. Pricing starts at $50 for a 1-hour group ride along Stewart Trail. Ages 6+.
Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, Pebble Beach
A bit farther afield, about a two-hour drive from San Francisco, the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center (part of the larger Pebble Beach Resorts) has been around since 1924. Since then, they’ve gone through numerous changes, but throughout they’ve provided a space for kids and adults alike to interact with horses and the “equestrian arts.” The center now has over 27 miles of trails along the beach. And while they have many programs for experienced riders, they also have easier trails and activities for new riders. Pricing starts at $100 for the 50-minute Family Forest Ride. Ages 7+.
Double J Ranch, Montara
Horseback riding can also be humanitarian—the Double J Ranch proves just that. The nonprofit uses its revenue from rides and visits to rescue and rehabilitate abandoned, abused, or neglected horses as well as help the community connect with them through events and showcases. One-hour riding lessons are available with a suggested donation. Ages 7+.
Horse N Around Trail Rides, Bodega Bay
Set on the Hagemanns Trout Farm cattle ranch along the Sonoma Beach coastline, Horse N Around provides an array of opportunities for trail rides and lessons. The ranch sits between San Francisco and the Sonoma and Napa wine country, and offers easy 30-minute rides for first-timers as well as two-hour rides for more experienced equestrians. (Just for fun, you can virtually meet all of their horses on their website!) Pricing starts at $50 for the half-hour Trout Pond ride. Ages 6+.
Willow Taylor Chiang Yang
Though a passion for politics and economics normally drives Willow Taylor Chiang Yang (she/her/hers) to more politically oriented endeavors, we somehow convinced the SF Bay Area native to try something new through interning at ROAM.
© ROAM Family Travel 2021 – All rights reserved
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