The 10 Best Things to Do in Half Moon Bay, United States

February 18, 2018 Brandee Mangan

A mere 45-minute drive from San Francisco lies Half Moon Bay, an idyllic enclave and truly the perfect place to spend some time away from the big city. Horseback ride along a scenic beach, play golf on a spectacular course overlooking the ocean or browse through the numerous shops and art galleries in the historic section. If you decide to stay, as many do, treat yourself to a delicious dinner at any of the town's fine restaurants. Then check into an enchanting bed and breakfast, a charming inn or boutique hotel. Your Half Moon Bay experience will not be soon forgotten.
Restaurants in Half Moon Bay

1. Half Moon Bay Distillery

103 Harvard Ave, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019-4030 +1 650-728-7226
Excellent
96%
Good
4%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 90 reviews

Half Moon Bay Distillery

We are a craft distillery on the coast of Half Moon Bay, California. We make small batch, hand crafted distilled spirits. We are open for distillery tours and tastings.

Reviewed By CJBarnett - Santa Clara, California

What a fun, non pretentious, and educational activity. Nestled next to the Pacific Ocean you will find the Half Moon Bay Distillery. There is ample free customer parking. Inside the distillery there is a seating area and it is the location of the tour. The day we visited, the owner Ulli played a video and then gave her personal journey. She is vibrant and joy to spend time with. Overall, I walked away learning about the process to make spirits and I enjoyed the tastings. I look forward to bringing friends back here.

2. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

200 Nevada Ave, Moss Beach, CA 94038-9615 +1 415-728-3584
Excellent
73%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 161 reviews

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Explore tidepools, hike along bluffs and relax at a beachside picnic spot.

Reviewed By NewMexBound - Framingham, Massachusetts

Short stroll from the parking area down to the beach. Went at very low tide when lots of the tide pools were exposed. Saw a few sea anenomes and 2 starfish. Was hoping to see a whole lot more than that. Lots of people were there as it was a Sat night around sunset. The younger kids will be satisfied with the adventure, but it really wasn't all that impressive.

3. Filoli

86 Canada Road, Woodside, CA 94062-4144 +1 650-364-8300
Excellent
76%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 381 reviews

Filoli

Filoli offers unique restorative experiences for the whole family every season. From the historic home and manicured gardens to a vast estate and natural trails, come explore the beauty and tranquility of another time. Guests can visit the cafe, have a glass of wine or enjoy afternoon tea. Filoli also hosts seasonal activities, including tours of the home and grounds, art shows, education programs and special events. Conveniently located between San Francisco and San Jose, this 654-acre estate is open to the public to visit as a guest, or become a member and drop by any time.

Reviewed By obdocSanJose - San Jose, CA

We visited on a day of sunshine in a week of rain. The old mansion is interesting with many period furnishings. The gardens were not in full bloom in February so not much to see there. The daffodils & tulips were pretty. The cafe was ok for a bite to eat. The estate walk was a pleasant stroll in a wooded area. Overall was a enjoyable day but given the cost I don't plan to return.

4. Half Moon Bay Coastside Trail

Half Moon Bay, CA +1 650-726-8297
Excellent
67%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 206 reviews

Half Moon Bay Coastside Trail

Easy and scenic hiking trail along the Pacific coast that measures six miles round trip.

Reviewed By Sarah B - London, United Kingdom

We had walked Pescadero beach and met someone who recommended this Half Moon Bay coastal trail. We can now certainly recommend it. We parked in the Ritz Carlton hotel car park where they have designated "Coastal Access" parking in their garage. You just need to explain at the security gate that you are just walking the trail and not visiting the hotel (otherwise you will be charged $15 for valet parking).

The trail runs out past the golf course to the left of the hotel and beyond. You pass a set of metal steps which takes you down to the beach for some amazing views (when it is not foggy!) or you can just continue along the trail. It is an easy, level walk with some fabulous views of the ocean. We loved it and it is well worth a visit!

5. Sawyer Camp Trail

Skyline Blvd & Crystal Springs Rd, San Mateo, CA 94401, San Mateo, CA
Excellent
73%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 111 reviews

Sawyer Camp Trail

Tree-shaded trail stretching 12 miles.

Reviewed By Timothy Y - Redwood City, California

This trail is 6 miles each way along the Crystal Springs Reservoir for a total of 12 miles round trip.

The trail is paved throughout. I normally start on the Millbrae side and park at the top of Hillcrest by the freeway entrance. When you start there, the first 1.25 miles is all downhill. Remember that on the way back! ;).

The trail is fine for adults walking, but on weekends when its much busier, watch out if your hiking or biking with kids and they don't stay on the right half of the path. You'll get cyclists racing through there from time to time and you'll have to watch out for them not to get run over or cause an accident.

The San Mateo side is pretty flat. So during a nonbusy time, great for kids to bike if they just started learning.

6. Purisima Creek Redwoods

Woodside, CA 94062 +1 415-691-1200
Excellent
76%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 45 reviews

Purisima Creek Redwoods

This 2,500-acre redwood preserve is a favorite for hikers, bikers and nature lovers.

Reviewed By Timothy Y - Redwood City, California

I've done over 20+ hikes over the last year all over the state and I can't believe I did this one for the first time and it's only a 25 minute drive from Redwood City! This is my new favorite local hike. We went on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend to the north Skyline parking lot around 11am. Parking lot was full so we had to park on the side of the road on Skyline Blvd.

We did the North Ridge Trail - Whittemore Gulch Trail - Purisima Creek Trail - Craig Britton Trail - Harkins Ridge Trail - North Ridge Trail. I had a 9 year and 7 year old kids with me. It was a 10 mile loop and they made it with only complaining near the end. Even though it was hot in Redwood City, the trail provided pretty good shade through most of the hike, and the fog even started rolling in near the end of it.

Whittemore Gulch was great as it provided the best views of the Redwoods. The Purisima Creek Trail was a wide trail that ran along the creek and there were more families along that trail. It was relatively easy compared to the other trails. The Craig Britton trail was a nice narrow trail that zig zagged through the forest.

Next time I visit, I'd love to park on the west end of the park and try out the other trails. The creek was still running and may not be running in the Summer, but there was enough shade that makes me think this place is great year round.

7. Mavericks

West Point Avenue, Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay, CA
Excellent
57%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 186 reviews

Mavericks

Popular beach in Half Moon Bay that is known for superb big-wave surfing.

Reviewed By Kelsdog - Truckee, California

Mavericks is World Famous for some of the largest waves in the world. Located at Pillar Point in El Granada, this place offers a great trail for walking and surf viewing.

8. Half Moon Bay State Beach

Kelly Avenue, Half Moon Bay, CA (650) 726-8819
Excellent
54%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 577 reviews

Half Moon Bay State Beach

Broad and sandy beach stretching more than four miles features campground facilities and trails for hikers and horseback riders.

Reviewed By GeoLorenzo - San Marcos, California

If you’re in HMB walk along the bluffs and enjoy the views. We were there in December in the morning when it was very breezy, chilly. We hope to return when its a little warmer so we can walk a little longer.

9. Miramar Beach

Mirada Road, Highway One, Half Moon Bay, CA
Excellent
57%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 106 reviews

Miramar Beach

Reviewed By gm_traveler_13 - Stockton,CA

This is a long white sand beach along Miramar drive. The only drawback is the number of places to get down to the beach. We walked quite a distance before finding an easy spot to get down to the beach. Once on the beach it was very soft sand and plenty of room for many people.

10. Pescadero State Beach

Pescadero Road, Highway One, Half Moon Bay, CA (650) 726-8819
Excellent
52%
Good
42%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 107 reviews

Pescadero State Beach

Reviewed By MikeyBoy12804 - Queensbury, New York

The water along this beach is plenty cold. Simply fantastic views and if you are lucky ( as we were) you'll be blessed with a good fortune to see a few whales breaching and dolphins jumping. There is nothing here that detracts from nature. No kiddie rides, no snack bars, no retail shopping places. Just a sandy beach and some rough waves.

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