If you feel yourself wanting to ditch the cars, buses, trains and hustle, and calm down a little bit, might we suggest a leisurely horseback ride? Here are a few of our favorite spots to saddle up, hitch a ride on the back of a horse to soak in the beauty of the Bay Area.
Garrod Farms, in the Saratoga Foothills near San Jose
This traditional California ranch about 25 minutes from downtown San Jose takes its splendid, sweeping views of the Santa Clara Valley from its thousand-foot elevation. Their trail rides wind through the shrubbery and trees and last for 1 hour. If you make a Sunday out of it, you can start your day with one of their early-morning rides, or go on a wine-tasting ride every last Sunday of the month. After your journey, you'll end up at the Garrod Farms winery for libations and a bites to eat. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Rides start at $45 per person for 1 hour.
Sea Horse Ranch & Friendly Acres Horses & Rental, Half Moon Bay
In business for over 40 years, Sea Horse Ranch rents horses for guided 1-2 hours rides 364 days a year (they're only closed on Christmas Day!), so their horses are complete pros when it comes to prancing in the surf and hilly trails. Beginning and advanced riders are welcome on the 7 miles of beach to creek to bluff trails, and kids as young as 5 get their own horses. Rides start at $55 per person for 1 hour.
Five Brooks Ranch, Point Reyes
The best way to experience the Point Reyes National Seashore park is perched atop an equine, which will take you from forested mountains to the white sand beaches down below over 120 miles of trails. You can drop by for a short guided ride (1-3 hours), or pack an epic picnic for an all-day guided ride with your new horse friend all over the countryside. Kids can get in on the action too, with pony rides! Rides start at $40 per person.
Miwok Livery Stables, Mill Valley
Just across the bridge is the historic, expansive Golden Gate National Park, boasting views of the Pacific Ocean, Mt. Tamalpais and our fair city, glittering across the Bay. Their guided trail rides are between 1 and 2 hours, filled with opportunities to spot wildlife like deer, quails, bobcats and hawks. And you'll fall in love with their well-trained horses; just take a look at the likes of Clementine and Applejack! Rides start at $75 per person.