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Half Moon Bay

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For other places with the same name, see Half Moon Bay (disambiguation).

Half Moon Bay is a city on the Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay 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.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

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.

By bus[edit]

Take Samtrans #294 from Hillsdale Caltrain, or from Pacifica.

Get around[edit]

  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car 213 San Mateo Rd., #112 Phone: (650) 712-6880 Fax: (650) 712-6884
  • Coast Cab Company PO Box 2252, El Granada, CA 94018 Phone: (650) 726-1779 Fax: (650) 712-1119

See[edit][add listing]

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) [1] 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) [2] 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), [3]. 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 trail 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) [4] 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) [5] 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 [6] 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) [7] 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) [8] 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 [9] 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) [10] 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.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Rock the Block Coastside Block Party Late May. Sponsored by Chamber Office: 650.726.8380
  • Portuguese Pentecostal Festival 7 weeks after Easter. Sponsored by IDES Society: 650.726.2729
  • Classics By The Sea Car Show Late July or early August. Sponsored by Chamber Office: 650.726.8380
  • Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival Early to Mid October. Sponsored by Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee: 650.726.9652
  • Half Moon Bay Golf Links, Two Miramontes Point Road, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, 650.726.1800, [11]. Two links style golf courses located at the Ritz-Carlton.  edit
  • Gray Whale Watching (Whale Watching), 1 Johnson Pier, (415) 256-9604, [12]. December through May. Witness the annual migration of thousands of gray whales on a 3-hour cruise from Pillar Point Yacht Harbor. Oceanic Society is a non-profit conservation organization that leads educational whale and wildlife watching tours. Cruises depart every Saturday and Sunday at 9:00AM and last until noon. Adults $49; Kids $45.  edit


Buy[edit][add listing]

  • 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, [13]. 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

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Ketch Joanne Restaurant and Harbor Bar, 17 Johnson Pier, (650)728-3747, [14]. Open until 3AM F and Sa. Food was pretty good and reasonably priced. Service was lacking. Bar becomes popular around 10:30PM  edit
  • Sam's Chowder House, 4210 North Cabrillo Hwy, (650)712-0245, [15]. 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, [16]. 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

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • La Nebbia Winery, formerly Obester Winery 12341 San Mateo Rd. Phone: (650) 726-9463 Fax: (650) 726-7074
  • Half Moon Bay Winery 700 Mill St., Ste 4, Phone: (650) 245-8033
  • 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


Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • 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), [17].  edit
  • Days Inn Half Moon Bay, 3020 N. Cabrillo Hwy, 650-726-9700, [18].  edit
  • Holiday Inn Express, 230 South Cabrillo Hwy Box 99, +1-650 726-3400, [19].  edit
  • Oceano Hotel and Spa, 280 Capistrano Road, (650)726-5400 (fax: (650)726-5402), [20]. 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, [21]. Enjoy original artwork, gourmet breakfasts, and comfy rooms. $139-$299.  edit
  • Pacific Victorian Bed and Breakfast, 325 Alameda Avenue, 888-929-0906, [22]. 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 (), [23]. Affordable accommodations at a spectacular lighthouse location.  edit
  • Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, One Miramontes Point Road, [24].  edit

Stay safe[edit]

Be careful to check for ticks [25] 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.

Watch out for poison oak on the hiking trails.

Get out[edit]

The City of San Francisco is just 25 miles to the North, Santa Cruz is just 40 miles to the South.


Routes through Half Moon Bay
San FranciscoPacifica  N noframe S  Santa CruzMonterey


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