Half Moon Bay California is a wonderful destination for those seeking great beaches and lots of possibilities for things to do. A small, coastal city with just around 12,000 residents, Half Moon Bay is just 25 miles south of San Francisco, which makes it a popular destination for those who live in or are vacationing in the Bay Area. The Half Moon Bay beaches are renowned surfing hangouts, and if you really like to go big when heading out to sea with your board, you can head just north of town to see what the world famous Mavericks surfing spot has to offer. Come wintertime, Mavericks boasts waves that are not recommended for amateurs, which is evidenced by the annual, invitation-only surfing competition that only sees high-caliber surfers taking part. For those who don’t surf, the Half Moon Bay beaches are ideal for other pursuits as well. Also, with so many area attractions within easy reach, you can really enjoy a well-rounded vacation here.
Half Moon Bay Beach, which is also known as Francis State Beach, is among the more popular Half Moon Bay beaches, and because it is protected, it is devoid of high-rise hotels, apartments, and other manmade interferences. What you will find here instead are broad, sandy stretches that are backed by natural bluffs. It’s quite picturesque, and for those who like the outdoors, it’s a great place to be. While you can always stay at one of the area hotels, be it in Half Moon Bay, San Francisco, San Jose, or elsewhere, there is a blufftop campsite at Half Moon Bay Beach where you can set up camp for a night or more. Down below, the four miles of beachfront encourage sunbathing, casual walks, swimming, and surfing. In addition to the blufftop campsite at Half Moon Bay Beach, there are also a blufftop hiking trails. These trails are ideal for walkers who want to enjoy scenic ocean views, but not have to worry about getting sand in their shoes or on their dogs’ paws. Some of the hiking trails in and around Half Moon Bay California are made of cement, while others are more akin to simple dirt paths, so you can choose accordingly. Bicycling is just as popular as walking on these trails, so if you prefer to pedal, you can sightsee that way as well.
Dog owners who are looking to enjoy the Half Moon Bay beaches can walk their four-legged friends on the trails at Half Moon Bay Beach, but they are not permitted to bring them down to the beach itself. You are also not permitted to ride horses on this large beach, though you can do that on the trails as well. There is only one beach in the immediate Half Moon Bay California area that allows horses and dogs, and that is Poplar State Beach. Just make sure that you keep your dog on a leash, as it is mandatory. One of the main reasons why dogs are generally not permitted on the Half Moon Bay beaches is because they are nesting habitats for the Western Snowy Plover, which is an endangered bird species. In addition to Half Moon Bay Beach and Poplar State Beach, there are other Half Moon Bay beaches that are worth exploring when in the area, and they include Pomponio State Beach, which has a generous parking area and public barbecues, San Gregorio State Beach, whose eponymous creek forms an intriguing lagoon behind the beachfront, and Venice State Beach, which like Half Moon Bay Beach, offers some great trails for bicycling, horse riding, and hiking. All of the Half Moon Bay beaches close at sunset, and generally, they open at around 8 a.m. Public restrooms and picnic areas are about the extent of the facilities at these beaches.
While the beaches are the main attractions in Half Moon
Bay for many visitors, there are also golf courses in
the area that you can enjoy, not to mention nearby state
parks and other protected beaches to the north and
south. Other attractions include area wineries
and unique shops, and if you are interested in enjoying
area tours, the whale-watching ones are among the most
popular. You can also enjoy scenic flying tours to get
a bird’s eye view of the breathtaking landscape.
Of course, nearby cities such as San Francisco, San Jose,
and Santa Cruz boast a variety
of attractions as well,
so there is virtually no end to the list of things to
do when vacationing in Half Moon Bay California.