Shelldance Orchid Gardens Nursery
Do you like tropical rain forests and beautiful orchids? Here is a hidden gem you’ve likely missed even though the big old greenhouses have been here over 75 years. See map and specific directions below since it can be a bit hard to find. Also note that it is open weekends only.
Shelldance has been voted Best Specialty Nursery in Northern California by San Francisco Magazine. Its owners are recognized by botanical gardens around the world for their expertise in tropical plants, particularly bromelaids (sometimes called air plants because they grow on other plants for support but get their nutrition from rain and dust in the air) and orchids.
This is a great place for plant lovers to purchase some exotic orchids, talk with a world-class orchid expert, or to just admire the carefully crafted collection of bromeliads, orchids, ferns, and flowers growing as they would in the wilds of a tropical rain forest. The atmosphere is artistic, old fashioned, rustic and charming including a small gift shop and art gallery featuring local artists including the proprietors.
Shelldance also happens to be located at the trailhead of Mori Ridge Trail to Sweeney Ridge. There is a nice view from the nursery but after just a few minutes of climbing this trail you will be rewarded with an even more fabulous view of the Pacific Coast line.
Detailed Directions: The trailhead is on the east side of Highway 1 in Pacifica south of Sharp Park Road and north of Reina Del Mar. Starting from Highway 1 and Reina Del Mar drive north on Highway 1 past the police station on the right and then look for the sign on the right that says “orchids.” At the “orchids” sign take a very sharp right turn and drive up the winding road to the main parking area adjacent Shelldance Orchard Gardens greenhouses where you will see a big Sweeney Ridge trailhead sign.
Phone: (650) 355-4845
Hours: Open to the public only on weekends, Saturdays & Sundays 10-5 pm. Tours for children and plant-lover groups can be arranged on weekdays. These “magical fairy gardens” are also available as a unique wedding venue. Call ahead for details and directions.
Links: website, yelp
- Pacifica Area Map of Things To Do
- Other botanical gardens plant lovers will enjoy: UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens, SF Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park, UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, Filoli Gardens in Woodside.
- Mori Ridge Trail to Sweeney Ridge – This trail starts just behind the Shelldance parking lot.
- Montara Area Map of Things To Do
- Half Moon Bay Area Best Things To Do and Map
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