Half Moon Bay has 33 miles of magnificent shoreline and miles of open sandy beaches that front the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This little coastal city has miles of broad sandy beaches, beautiful blufftop meadows, rolling wooded hills, and interior lakes.
Whatever your pleasure, whether it’s wandering the historic downtown with its signature red-brick architecture or trekking the various paths to Half Moon Bay’s famed lighthouse, if you’re searching for things to do in Half Moon Bay, you’ll always find something to your liking.
Do you like to spend a pleasant and quiet weekend with some delectable seafood? Let this to be your deciding factor and spend your money wisely for a soul-resting weekend. We will discuss the greatest things to do in Half Moon Bay that I believe are worthwhile to see and do.
Please feel free to peruse the list of the top ten restaurants in Half Moon Bay. They provide tasty, fresh dishes. But first, let’s look at things to do in Half Moon Bay.
Not in the mood to dine out tonight? Click here to have Grubhub deliver right to your door from the greatest restaurants in town.
- 1 Top Half Moon Bay Attractions
- 1.1 Explore the Half Moon Bay State Beaches.
- 1.2 Begin your journey in Pillar Point Harbor.
- 1.3 Take a deep breath and relax in the Purisima Creek Redwoods.
- 1.4 Walk or ride your bike along the California Coastal Trail.
- 1.5 Picnic at the La Nebbia Winery
- 1.6 Hop on a kayak and go exploring.
- 1.7 Shop and eat on Half Moon Bay’s Main Street.
- 1.8 Enjoy an evening at The Ritz-Carlton.
- 2 FAQ
- 3 Conclusion
Top Half Moon Bay Attractions
Explore the Half Moon Bay State Beaches.
Hello and welcome to the Coastside. The coast side of Monterey County, just north of San Francisco, is alternately bright, warm, chilly, and foggy; it’s a spot where you can buy artisan cheese and wool blankets on the same day.
For a young city, this one has an old-fashioned feeling of community and a focus on doing things locally. As you walk off the train or aircraft, you will enter a world that will thrill you with its small-town warmth and big-city elegance, offering you a wealth of Half Moon Bay things to do.
Half Bay Moon State Beaches Trails provides thorough information on each Half Moon Bay State Beach route, including features, images, reviews, and descriptions. Organize your treks and outdoor activities by exploring new areas or returning to old favorites. Discover the most affordable area restaurants, motels, and campsites.
With over 1,000 acres of coastal headlands, dunes, and oceanfront constructed for day use or camping, you may enjoy the beauty of this Northern California locale while still having historic train access to San Francisco. On Highway One, Half Moon Bay State Beach is just 15 miles south of San Francisco, 55 miles north of Monterey, and 40 miles south of Santa Cruz.
From dawn to sunset, the public beach and campsite on the west side of Boca Ciega Bay are available all year. Inside the campsite, there is a day-use picnic area with tables, as well as two double-sided charcoal grills and a storm shelter. Start with a beach cook-out if you’re wondering what to do in Half Moon Bay.
Begin your journey in Pillar Point Harbor.
Johnson Pier, Half Moon Bay, +1 650-726-43821
Having direct access to the Pacific Ocean, Pillar Point Harbor is an ideal stop for a dinner or to refuel. The port, which is part of the Half Moon Bay Coastside, draws thousands of visitors each year with its array of activities ranging from walking paths, dunes, and beaches to picnic sites, stores, and restaurants. And, of course, who can resist The Fish House’s fresh seafood?
Pillar Point Harbor Beach is a remote beach and recreation area located just outside of El Granada, California. Two massive jetties completely shelter the beach from ocean waves. The jetty protects this beautiful beach from the fury of the ocean, and as a result, erosion has not occurred.
This is one of the few places on the Peninsula where you may stroll on the beach. This family beach overlooks Pillar Point Harbor and features picnic tables, bathrooms, and seasonal lifeguards. Sam’s Chowder House and Beach House Hotel are both within walking distance. Take a walk, then eat at Sams before hitting the waves at Mavericks or other local surfing destinations.
There are three beaches in this area. Portuguese Beach is located on the north side of Pillar Point Harbor. It’s more of a surfing beach, with Popcorn Beach at its northernmost point. The middle beach is known as Oyster Beach, because there are plenty of oysters to be found here.
The southernmost beach is great for families and relaxing, with vistas in all directions, including Half Moon Bay to the west, Pacifica to the east, Pillar Point Harbor to the south, and a nice view of the lighthouse out there, as well as Princeton across the ocean. If you like surf and sand, this is the place to be in Half Moon Bay.
Take a deep breath and relax in the Purisima Creek Redwoods.
This path is very rocky, steep, and in times inaccessible. Despite the evident environmental harm to the region, there are a few excellent redwoods worth a short detour off the Purisima Creek Trail.
The route, which resembles a switchback staircase ascending straight up the hill, begins just south of the intersection of Lidgeon and De Santos roads and extends all the way to Skyline Boulevard.
The Craig Britton Trail (formerly known as the Soda Gulch Trail) winds along a beautiful ravine high above a stream, providing an excellent ride. The forest is densely forested with second-growth redwoods with ferns and redwood sorrel as groundcover.
This is one of the most gorgeous redwoods, with its deep red bark and the tree’s trunk marked by highly clear white horizontal lines. The view improves near the Harkins Ridge Trail crossing.
As you climb onto the hill, the atmosphere changes dramatically; magnificent lichen-covered fir trees flank the route, giving the region an unique coastal character, and there are many more panoramic views than previously. The Purisma Creek Redwoods should be on your list of things to do in Half Moon Bay if you appreciate breathtaking scenery and outdoor activities.
Walk or ride your bike along the California Coastal Trail.
Walk or ride your bike along the California Coastal Path. You’ll be astounded at the diversity of beauty you’ll see in only a few kilometers. Beginning from Pillar Point Harbor, you may bicycle or walk to Long Slope Beach, which is popular for camping, past Kaiser Permanente Beach Club and the remnants of a historic racetrack and golf course.
There are varied degrees of difficulty throughout the path, with some portions being rocky and challenging to ride, while others are more level and smooth.
The California Coastal Trail is a great place to stroll, but if you want to get your adrenaline pumping, go to the beach and try to catch some waves. The magnificent coastline of the path may be experienced all year. When it’s cloudy above ground but warm below, come on over.
Maintain your focus on the prize. When the budget permits, California’s Coastal Trail is accessible, allowing you to blast through redwoods fed by Big Sur’s famed fog and beyond.
This 360-mile (580-kilometer) path was used for thousands of years by Native People before being abandoned; today it seems like seven routes in one, featuring beaches, waterfalls, pristine woods, and harbor vistas.
If you’re a trail runner, you’ve probably heard of California’s famed Pacific Coast Highway cycling route, also known as the Hearst Castle Highway. The journey from Cambria to San Simeon is one of the top cycling paths on the west coast for thousands of expert cyclists and novices looking to try out some challenging hills.
What’s the reason? It has spectacular ocean vistas but also lots of obstacles, with steep slopes reaching more than 100 feet in height. This is what makes it one of the top mountain biking paths in California. There is definitely something to do in Half Moon Bay for fitness enthusiasts!
Picnic at the La Nebbia Winery
+1 650-726-946312341 Road. San Mateo
A visit to the stunning California coast would be completed without a picnic lunch or supper at La Nebbia Winery in Half Moon Bay.
This beautiful vineyard stands on a hill with a view of the coast and has an outdoor bocce court. You may play and mingle with your friends and family while resting with a glass of wine and admiring the scenery. Taste one of their numerous white wines; you’re sure to find one you enjoy!
La Nebbia Vineyards, a family-owned and run winery near Half Moon Bay, is the ideal stop on your holiday. With their picnic area and bocce ball courts, expect to have a great day outside.
They also offer a wine selection on tap! If you’re wondering where to go in Half Moon Bay, put this vineyard on your list!
La Nebbia Winery is one of Half Moon Bay’s greatest wineries. La Nebbia wines are a handmade combination of Italian varietals made with the finest grapes from California. The wines are full-bodied with a smooth, dry finish, making them ideal for a day at the beach or around the fire pit.
They also provide wine tastings during normal business hours and special weekend packages. Check their website for more information, or contact them now to make a reservation!
Hop on a kayak and go exploring.
Keep an eye out for the area’s sea lions and seals as you kayak across the bay.
The bay serves as the Pacific’s entry point and is an ideal site to begin your kayaking adventure. See the sea lions and harbor seals that reside off the marina in front of the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club while paddling around the city. It is one of numerous locations that are popular with both visitors and locals.
If you live on the seaside, you should try your hand at kayaking. Our favorite site is near Half Moon Bay’s tranquil port, where there are few wind gusts and plenty of room.
Paddle around the harbor or out into the water to see the seals that live close to the yacht club. Many people bring a lunch, which enables you to remain out longer and have more fascinating experiences by venturing farther out from the port.
Local animal conservation organizations advise tourists not to pick up or touch the pups since touching a young seal reduces its chances of reconnecting with its mother. Disturbing animals is one of the top worst things to do at Half Moon Bay.
Shop and eat on Half Moon Bay’s Main Street.
Shop & Dine on Main Street is conveniently located in the heart of old town and is one of the top things to do in Half Moon Bay. Its Italy, Pasta Moon, Sacrilege Bar and Grill, Caf Sabor, Carrara Pastry, and Food & Supply Co. are just a few of the nearby restaurants.
You can’t leave Half Moon Bay without trying one of Malleys’ Double-Dipped Waffle Cones or scooping some Sweet Rose Creamery ice cream.
The city is small yet full with wonderful restaurants and adorable boutiques. Stop by Wrights Gourmet Foods to enjoy some of the best chocolate on the globe or some of their special jams.
Just a bit farther down Main Street, you’ll find Oddyssea Outdoors, a must-see in Half Moon Bay. You’ll discover entertaining activities like kite building lessons and flower arrangement demos here, as well as creative projects like making your own terrariums. This excellent science shop is just across the street from the world-famous Coastside Vineyards. There are creative projects and enjoyable activities for everyone there.
Come to Half Moon Bay if you want to avoid the crowded, impersonal retail centers. Main Street’s stores, restaurants, and bars are more relaxed, but still full of visual candy (lots of cool art).
While visiting Half Moon Bay, it is always a good idea to visit our downtown establishments. With its charming boutiques, delectable restaurants, and live music, you’re bound to find something worth seeing while you’re there.
Enjoy an evening at The Ritz-Carlton.
650-712-70001, Miramontes Point Road
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay is a luxurious beachfront resort with stunning ocean views and a coastal elegance in the California enclave. The property was refurbished in 2010 and has a new color palette of subtle greys, blues, and slate colours that enhance the breathtaking Pacific Ocean views.
The entryway staircase and reception room greet guests with floor-to-ceiling wood framed mirrors, polished stone flooring, and a unique collection of original works by renowned American artist David McGary.
The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel welcomes you with pleasant weather and a warm welcome. Each one and two-bedroom beachfront suite is tastefully outfitted with contemporary interiors containing rich bedding, designer styles by Porthault linens, and a 46 LCD TV as well as an entertainment library with DVD players. The premium spa has four treatment rooms as well as a rest pool.
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay embodies the coastal California lifestyle and promotes an exquisite coastal lifestyle. The hotel has four-star facilities, exceptional service, and beautifully decorated guest rooms with exquisite linen. Some rooms include private balconies with unobstructed ocean views, as well as contemporary conveniences for an enjoyable visit. Even with all of the wonderful things to do in Half Moon Bay, staying here for the view and ambience is a no-brainer.
How much does it cost to live in Half Moon Bay?
In 2013, Half Moon Bay topped the list of places with the highest cost of living. The San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco Metro Div has a 5.5% unemployment rate. The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metro region has one of the lowest rates.
Almost two-thirds of overall costs are accounted for by housing, food, transportation, healthcare, and other products and services. The typical family spends over $1,600 on housing costs (rent or mortgage).
This comprises hotel or resort accommodation (36%); utilities (19%), which include electricity, natural gas, water, and waste services; housekeeping services such as a cleaning lady or gardening service; and housing in recreational vehicles, trailer tents, or campers.
How does Half Moon Bay rank in comparison to the rest of the United States?
Half Moon Bay, with its spectacular vistas of the Pacific Ocean and Pillar Point Harbor, is home to several well-known restaurants and nightclubs, including our own iconic Merritts.
Merritts has been a San Mateo County institution since 1950, and is located on the gorgeous Pillar Point Harbor. Merritts, which serves fresh seafood, steak, spaghetti, and sushi, is a local and guest favorite.
Several of these items are not available on the Eastern Side. Both coasts are beautiful, although Half Moon Bay is a little more pricey than New York. Also, in contrast to other states, its economy and tourism have kept Half Moon Bay alive and well. According to statistics, Half Moon Bay has a stronger economy than 55% of the United States.
Well, how about transportation?
The Eddie Andreini Sr. Airfield is now known as Half Moon Bay Airport. If you are flying, there are several options for getting to your ultimate location, including taxis, buses, public transit, and private transportation.
Whenever you get at your location, your best strategy is to hire a bike and explore the area to make the most of your vacation. If you wish to visit more difficult terrain, invest in a good pair of shoes and don’t be afraid to explore the surrounding woods.
Half Moon Bay’s historic downtown is famed for its boutique shops, delectable restaurants, magnificent art galleries, and many free events. With so many things to do in Half Moon Bay, the hardest part will be picking what to do first. The rich history of this coastal town will thrill you, from the iconic Fishtail Park to the historical Main Street Discovery Cruise aboard the SS Palo Alto!
Visitors to Half Moon Bay are guests in one of the most beautiful tiny port villages on the Pacific Coast; waterfront parks, whale watching, sailing, and seaside restaurants are all within a short walk.
The picturesque old Main Street section is on the National Register of Historic Places and is brimming with specialized stores, galleries, bed and breakfasts, and exquisite restaurants in a variety of pricing levels.
There’s always something fresh to learn here. The greatest way to appreciate your location, whether historic, adventurous, or a nice piece of nature, is to go out there and experience it for yourself.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of recommended Half Moon Bay sites and activities that will both whet your appetite for the Coastside and assist you in planning your schedule.