Half Moon Bay is a city on the Peninsula in the San FranciscoBay Area of California. The Half Moon Bay Coastside is a rural seaside community about 30 miles south of San Francisco, and only an hour's drive from virtually anywhere in the Bay Area.
Highway 92 is perfect if you are coming in from either 101 or 280.
If you are coming from San Francisco you can also take 280 to Highway 1 for a very scenic drive through Devil's Slide, which has beautiful, breathtaking cliffs that descend steeply into the ocean. (Unfortunately, this will be bypassed in late 2012 by a tunnel.)
Almost all of the beaches are on or off of Highway 1 (a.k.a the Pacific Coast Highway) (Note some addresses are given as CA Highway 1, the Cabrillo Highway or the PCH.)
Bean Hollow State Beach & Pebble Beach, Off of Highway 1. (Phone: 650-879-2170)  Due to the heavy surf and rip tide, swimming is not recommended. You can explore the self-guided nature trail.
Cowell Ranch State Beach, Off of Highway 1, (Phone: 650-726-8819) The entrance to Cowell Ranch is a fairly long hike in and leads to cliffs overlooking the ocean. It is a steep hike down to the beach.
Dunes State Beach, Highway 1 to Young Avenue. (Phone: 650-726-8819)  Sister beach of Venice State Beach and Francis State Beach. Part of the Waterfront Coastside Trail system.
Gray Whale Cove State Beach a.k.a Devil's Slide, Highway 1, (Phone: 650-726-8819), . The two nick names derive from the fact that 1) gray whales can be seen from the beach and 2) there are steep landslide trails. Note – this is a clothing optional beach.
Fitzgerald Marine Reserve at Moss Beach, Highway 1 in Moss Beach. (Phone: 650-728-3584) Docent tours are availed to take you through the nature trial and marine preserve. Lots of geologic formations are here and at the point you can see the San Gregorio Fault peeking out. Great tidepools, walk out and see the sea urchins, starfish, and anemones when the tide is 0 feet or lower.
Francis State Beach, From Highway 1 to Kelly Avenue, (Phone: 650-726-8819)  Sister beach of Venice State Beach and Dunes State Beach. Part of the Waterfront Coastside Trail system. Also home of the Half Moon Bay State Beach headquarters
Montara State Beach, Highway 1 at 2nd Street, (Phone: 650-726-8819)  One of the more popular beaches in Half Moon bay due to easy access and low hills, the beach provides opportunity for swimming, exploration of tide pools and surf fishing. There is also a lighthouse at Point Montara that has been converted to a bed and breakfast.
Mavericks & Pillar Point Marsh , Highway 1 to Capistrano Road to Pillar Point Harbor. (Phone: 650-728-3584) Home of the legendary Mavericks Surf Contest  This area NOT recommended for swimming. (Technically it is not recommend for surfing either but the people who compete in the contest are professional and a tad crazy.) The huge crashing waves are a site to see.
Naples / Roosevelt State Beach Highway 1 to Washington Boulevard to Naples Avenue (Phone: 650-726-8819) Part of the Waterfront Coastside Trail system.
Pescadero State Beach, Highway 1 to Pescadero Road (Phone: 800-444-7275)  Explore the tide pools or watch the waves crash along the rocks. It's a great place for bird watchers. Sister beach of Pomponio State Beach.
Pigeon Point Beach, Off of Highway 1. Home of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse.
Pomponio State Beach, Highway 1 to Pescadero Road, (Phone: 800-444-7275)  This beach is at the base of sand stone cliffs that are not as hard to reach as steeper trails. Sister beach of Pescardero State Beach.
San Gregorio State Beach, Highway 1 to Highway 84  Discovered by Explorer Gaspar de Portolá in 1769, the beach is strewn with driftwood and there is also a bird sanctuary. Note – this is a clothing optional beach.
Venice State Beach, Highway 1 to Venice Boulevard, (Phone: 650-726-8819)  Sister beach of Dunes State Beach and Francis State Beach. Part of the Waterfront Coastside Trail system.
Waterfront Coastside Trail, Pillar Point Harbor to Mirada Road. (Phone: 650-726-8297) The trail systems goes through Naples / Roosevelt Beach, Dunes Beach, Venice Beach, Francis Beach and Bluff Top Coastal Park.
Coastal Flower Market Third Saturday of every month (except October)hotline: 650.712.9439
Reece Computer Systems Green Technology open Monday through Saturday: 650.726.7155
Coastside Books, 432 Main Street, ☎ 650-726-5889, . 10am to 5pm. Serving Half Moon Bay since 1972, Coastside Books has a carefully selected stock of current fiction, biography, history, science and nature, spiritual books, and children's literature.edit
Ketch Joanne Restaurant and Harbor Bar, 17 Johnson Pier, ☎ (650)728-3747, . Open until 3AM F and Sa. Food was pretty good and reasonably priced. Service was lacking. Bar becomes popular around 10:30PMedit
Sam's Chowder House, 4210 North Cabrillo Hwy, ☎ (650)712-0245, . Live music Friday and Saturday. The deck has great views and is a great place to sit around the fire pits. It's also dog friendly. NBC's Today Show named the Lobster Roll as one of the five "best sandwiches in America". Entrees range from $10 to $28 and seafood is very fresh. edit
Cafe Gibraltar, 425 Ave. Alhambra, El Granada, ☎ (650)560-9039, . Cafe Gibraltar is an interesting Mediterranean restaurant a short drive north of Half Moon Bay. Very high ratings in Michelin and Zagat guides, one of the best places to eat on the San Mateo coast.edit
H.M.B. Brewing Company, 3909 Capistrano Road, Princeton (west off Rt. 1 just north of Half Moon Bay). Seafood restaurant with an excellent and extensive menu (check out the Half Moon Bay Louie salad with Bay Shrimp) at reasonable prices (they offer half size portions too.) Fast, friendly service. Inside and outside dining with good views of Pillar Point Harbor.They book rock and blues bands on the weekends. moderate. edit
Best Western Half Moon Bay Lodge, 2400 Cabrillo Highway S, ☎ +1-650 726-9000 (toll free: +1-800 710-0778, fax: +1-650 726-7951), . edit
Days Inn Half Moon Bay, 3020 N. Cabrillo Hwy, ☎ 650-726-9700, . edit
Holiday Inn Express, 230 South Cabrillo Hwy Box 99, ☎ +1-650 726-3400, . edit
Oceano Hotel and Spa, 280 Capistrano Road, ☎ (650)726-5400 (fax: (650)726-5402), . checkin: 4PM; checkout: Noon. Nice, clean rooms with helpful staff. Environmentally friendly features, including in-room recycling, organic bamboo linens (very comfortable!), and chemical free room cleaning technology.edit
Old Thyme Inn Bed & Breakfast, 779 Main Street, ☎ +1-650 726-1616, . Enjoy original artwork, gourmet breakfasts, and comfy rooms.$139-$299. edit
Pacific Victorian Bed and Breakfast, 325 Alameda Avenue, ☎ 888-929-0906, . checkin: 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.; checkout: 12 p.m.. An elegantly decorated Victorian style Inn 1½ blocks from the beach.Rooms:$150 - $195. (37.49214,-122.456987)edit
Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel, 16th Street at Cabrillo Highway 1 (7 miles north of Half Moon Bay), ☎ +1-650 728-7177 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Affordable accommodations at a spectacular lighthouse location.edit
Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, One Miramontes Point Road, . edit
Be careful to check for ticks  after hiking in fields in the bay area. There is a high rate of lyme disease transmission in the Bay Area. If a bulls' eye rash develops at the tick bite site, immediately seek medical help and treatment with antibiotics.