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San Mateo is a coastal city in Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay Area. San Mateo is a convenient drive from many of San Francisco’s main attractions. It’s also a great location for visiting nearby destinations by hire car, such as San Jose,Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.
If you’re arriving via San Francisco International Airport then it’s an eight-mile drive by rental car to San Mateo. As this is a coastal route, you can stop off for a stunning view of the North Pacific Ocean at any point on your journey.
There are various hire car providers to suit your budget and preferences, including Alamo, Dollar and Thrifty. Many offer extras like free cancellation, unlimited mileage and zero excess collision cover.
San Mateo is close to many of San Francisco’s key visitor highlights and also has a number of attractions of its own. Curiodyssey is a fun, activity-based science and wildlife centre for families. Coyote Point Park and the Coyote Point Museum are also worth visiting. If you’re a golf fan, then try out the sweeping Poplar Creek Golf Course. The Hillsdale Shopping Centre is the perfect place to pick up souvenirs and the San Mateo County Event Centre hosts various events throughout the year.
Downtown San Francisco is a 19-mile drive from San Mateo by rental car. Highlights include Golden Gate Bridge, Union Square and the historic Alcatraz prison, which is open for tours. You can also sample San Francisco’s fabulous dining scene, visit one of its many art galleries or explore its famously hilly streets by cable car. Of course, San Francisco is famed for being a counterculture hotspot, so don’t forget to visit the iconic City Lights bookstore, hub of the 1950s beat scene, and the legendary Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood, famous for being one of the key sites of the 1960s flower power movement and home to Golden Gate Park.
Sunnyvale is a city in Santa Clara County, a 23-mile drive away. Key attractions include the Sunnyvale Bay Trail, a scenic coastal wetlands walk, the Steven’s Creek Trail, a 100-acre preserved walking area, and the Sunnyvale Community Centre, a recreation complex that includes a pond, arts centre, indoor sports centre and the Sunnyvale Theatre. The Sunnyvale Farmer’s Market sells delicious local produce on Saturdays and the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum boasts various local history artefacts. For a day out that’s a little bit different, the Lace Museum is a great way to find out more about this specialist craft.
Due to its world-class coastline, stunning scenery and sunny climate, California is wonderful to explore by hire car. Bear in mind that in California, pedestrians always have right of way. The US is right-hand drive and remember to keep an eye on your mirror, as drivers don’t always indicate a direction change. Every state has different driving laws, so make sure you familiarise yourself with the California ones before your visit.
Feeling inspired to explore San Mateo and the rest of California? Check out this City Guide and use the Expedia search tool to help you find the best car hire, flight and hotel deals and to research the best attractions and activities.
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