Things to See and Do in Half Moon Bay, California

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The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Surfer’s Beach to see the ocean. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Half Moon Bay  is located 30 miles south of San Francisco on the California coast.

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Surfer’s Beach to see the ocean.

When I crave Half Moon Bay cuisine, I turn to Ketch Joannes at the harbor for seafood in a down-home setting with gorgeous harbor views.

Enjoy the water view at Sam’s Chowder House

To escape work I take a drive up to Skyline (Hwy 35) to drive through the redwoods, or if you don’t have time, head to Sam’s Chowder House for a lobster roll and a glass of wine while enjoying the water view.

For complete quiet, I can hide away at Casey’s Café.

If you come to Half Moon Bay, get your picture taken at Pillar Point Harbor with all the boats.

If you have to order one thing off the menu at Duarte’s in Pescadero, order the half and half soup.  Half cream of artichoke and half green chile soup!

Half Moon Bay is my one stop shop for all things pumpkin.

sailboats, pillar point harbor, half moon bay, northern california
Come to Half Moon Bay in California, get your picture taken at Pillar Point Harbor. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to Milano’s Restaurant in Stone Pine Center or Camerons Inn and Pub.

For a huge splurge, I go to Cetrella, Navio at the Ritz, La Costanoa, Café Gibralter, or Pasta Moon.

Photo ops in Half Moon Bay include Main Street, pumpkin patches, harbor, ocean, Mavericks, or the bluffs by the Ritz-Carlton.

The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Montara Mountain in nearby Montara.

The most random thing about Half Moon Bay is the Pumpkin Festival and Maverick’s Surf Contest.

horseback riding sea horse ranch, poplar beach, half moon bay, nancy brown, travel writer, writing horseback
An active day in Half Moon Bay involves horseback riding with Sea Horse Ranch on Poplar Beach

In Half Moon Bay, an active day outdoors involves walking , hiking, bicycling, kayaking, horseback riding or surfing.

My favorite walking route is the  Purissima Redwoods with streams, redwoods and ferns. The Coastal Trail is pretty spectacular, too.

Half Moon Bay’s best museum is the Johnston House and The Jail.

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For a night of dancing, go to Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. (great local bands), or The Old Princeton Landing.

The Ritz-Carlton is the spot for late night dining.

To find out what’s going on a night or on weekends, read the Half Moon Bay Review or go to the Half Moon Bay Chamber calendar.

You can tell a lot about this Northern California coastal community from visiting  Pescadero and watching a rodeo event, attending Farmer of the Year at IDES in the spring or buying fresh fish and crab directly from the fisherman at Pillar Point Harbor.

In the spring you should attend Dream machines  on the last Sunday in April.

In the summer you should attend Tour des Fleurs held on the third Sat. of July.

In the fall you should visit all the pumpkin farms & Pumpkin Fest held in October.

In the winter you should  cut your own Christmas tree at all the Christmas Tree Farms.

A hidden gem in Half Moon Bay is outdoor dining at It’s Italia – five fireplaces and delicious Cal-Italian prepared with local ingredients.

For a great breakfast treat or espresso, go to Three Zero Café at the Half Moon Bay Airport. For bakery good go to Moonside Bakery in La Piazza (fresh baked breads, pies, scones, cookies, yum!)

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Visit Harley Farms Goat Dairy in Pescadero, outside of Half Moon Bay, California. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Just outside of  Half Moon Bay you can visit the little town of Pescadero; have lunch at Duarte’s Tavern.  Don’t miss Harley Farms for goat cheese Be sure to take one of their tours, but sign up in advance, as they sell out.

The best way to see Half Moon Bay is to walk  Main Street and visit Pillar Point harbor.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss Lemos Farm and Pastorino Farms on Hwy 92.

What are your favorite things to do in Half Moon Bay? For more information Half Moon Bay insider tips.

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Related Post:

Horseback Riding in Half Moon Bay, California

Photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown.

3 thoughts on “Things to See and Do in Half Moon Bay, California”

  1. Please consider visiting and recommending a local Comedy Improv show when next in Half Moon Bay. The website for the troupe is

    Very funny and it is a non-profit that gives the money back to the community and high school kids for college.

  2. Pingback: Pescadero, CA, a coastal gem | Nancy D Brown

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