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Situated within the Santa Cruz Mountains lies McNee Ranch State Park. The land was once part of a ranch owned by Duncan McNee that his cattle used to graze on. Eventually, the U.S. military built bunkers on the grounds to help protect the area from possible invasion during World War II. In the 1980s, the ranch was converted into a state park.
McNee Ranch State Park has an impressive landscape that offers views of both the coast and mountains. This state park is close to major cities such as San Francisco and San Mateo.
Visitors to McNee Ranch State Park will discover many things to do while here, and one is birdwatching. The state park is packed with numerous species, such as quail, hummingbirds, flickers, and ravens. Many species also visit during their migration, especially hawks, as they fly south for the winter.
Hikers will discover a vast amount of pathways to explore, like the Montara Mountain North Peak Loop Trail, North Peak Trail, and McNee Ranch to Planet of the Apes Trail. All of these trails range in their lengths and scenery, although most will provide beautiful coastal views and are often lined with wildflowers during the summer. Hikers should remember that some of these trails might have thick overgrowth on them, which could make passing down them difficult to do.
Wildlife photography is yet another activity to try at McNee Ranch State Park. Photographers can grab their cameras to try capturing one of the many species that roam through the grounds, like raccoons, bobcats, foxes, rabbits, and coyotes. In addition to animals, photographers can also take pictures of the stunning flora in the park, like Douglas irises and Hickman’s potentillas.
Those that book an RV in San Mateo County will have a vast amount of RV campground options to stay at while visiting McNee Ranch State Park. One option is Pillar Point RV Park. This camper park offers 49 RV sites that are first-come-first-served and have amenities such as water, cable, and WiFi. Guests will also find hiking trails on the grounds.
There’s also the San Francisco RV Resort. This travel trailer campground has 188 RV sites that have views of the Pacific Ocean. Some amenities provided are WiFi, restrooms, and showers. This pet-friendly campground also has a clubhouse, pool, playground, and picnic area.
There are quite a few attractions located near McNee Ranch State Park that might be of interest to visit during your stay. Only a few minutes away in San Francisco is Fisherman’s Wharf. This area is best known for offering views of both Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. In addition to this, there are many restaurants and shops to explore, many of which serve favorite dishes like clam chowder and sell unique local goods. However, the wharf is best known for its bakeries that serve fresh sourdough bread. Visitors can also hop on a boat to take a sea tour of the area, including to a location where there is a huge colony of sea lions.
In San Jose, there's the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. Believed to hold one of the largest collections of Egyptian artifacts in North America, this museum has a vast amount of exhibits that tell more about life in ancient Egypt. These include an alchemy lab and a tomb room. Visitors can also stop by during the weekends to attend one of its workshops that range in their themes, such as artifact handling and playing senet. Guided tours are available of the structure but should be reserved ahead of time. Keep in mind there are admission fees.
About an hour away in Monterey is Cannery Row. This historic waterfront street was once where many sardine canning factories were, hence its name. Guests to the area can wander down the street where they’ll find many restaurants and shops, some of which are located inside old factories. Other attractions along the street include the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Edward F. Ricketts State Marine Conservation Area, which is known for its large population of sea lions.
Visitors could also head over to Sacramento to explore the Crocker Art Museum. This art museum was founded in 1885 and holds one of the largest amounts of Californian art in the world. The museum has many interesting exhibits that range from paintings to needlework. It also hosts numerous traveling collections as well. Visitors could also attend one of the events held here throughout the year, like art lectures, silent film showings, and Mardi Gras celebrations.