If you’re looking for scenic views and delicious seafood, look no further than Half Moon Bay. With year-round activities and special seasonal events, this charming coastal city 30 miles south of San Francisco is always worth a stop during a road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway. In the spring and summer, kayak among wildlife and witness blooms of wildflowers.
The fall brings the local harvest, and pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and sunflower fields take over the landscape. And in the winter, sit back by the fire with a holiday drink in hand and ocean waves roaring in the distance. No matter which season you visit, here are some of our favorite things to do to make the most of your trip!
Downtown Half Moon Bay
Shop around Main Street in Downtown Half Moon Bay for unique clothing, art, gifts, and home goods. There are also many historical points of interest, including the Half Moon Bay Jail Museum and City Hall. Grab some picnic items and head over to the iconic James Johnston House for sweeping views of the area.
Best Seafood Restaurants in Half Moon Bay
Seafood doesn’t get much fresher than on the California coast, and Half Moon Bay has several places to try a taste. Pillar Point Harbor, homeport to the vital commercial fishing industry, offers fresh fish right off the dock! The Fishline App lets you know the type of fish available to purchase.
For a delicious selection of seafood, head over to one of the many restaurants in the area. Try the Dungeness crab, seasonal oysters, or fish and chips at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. Overlooking Pillar Point Harbor, the heated outdoor patio is a great spot for lunch or dinner, and is pet-friendly! They even offer house-made dog treats, called "Mavericks Bones". The selection of beer is excellent. Try their “Full Swing” IPA or their “Calf-eine” Coffee Milk Stout, or their seasonal Pumpkin Ale in the fall!
Another favorite includes the award-winning lobster rolls at Sam’s Chowder House, selected by the Food Editor as one of the five “Best Sandwiches in America” and a must-try when visiting Half Moon Bay.
For an incredible seafood feast, head to The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, and dine on their outdoor Ocean Terrace, which is open daily from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM for both overnight guests and non-overnights guests. The seafood tower includes delectable oysters, poached prawns, Dungeness crab, tuna tartare, and octopus salad. Visitors can make a reservation online for this unique experience.
Beaches in Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay has some of the best beaches in the San Francisco Bay Area, with opportunities to swim, hike, explore tide pools, or simply relax. Grab your picnic basket and enjoy a stunning sunset at Poplar Beach. Or head to Half Moon Bay State Beach and explore the Visitors Center to learn more about the history of the area. Located right off of scenic Highway 1, this area is made up of four small beaches that form the two-mile curve of fine, white sand and relaxing coves. The waves here make for a great surfing spot!
Kayaking in Pillar Point Harbor
Experience the coast firsthand on the water! Paddle among seals, birds, and marine wildlife in protected Pillar Point Harbor with Half Moon Bay Kayak. Their fleet includes single, double, and triple kayaks as well as paddle boards and bikes to rent. If you’re looking to make your outing special, consider one of their guided trips.
Local Farmers' Markets
From April through December, explore the Coastside Farmers Market for a variety of fresh produce and goods from local farmers, ranchers, and artisans. The Coastsise Farmers Market in Half Moon Bay is on Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. For a sweet treat to take home, purchase a variety of raw honey from Half Moon Honey. Owners Teri and Gary Butler are incredibly knowledgeable and focus on fresh honey, pollen, and bee rescues.
To get to know the local farmers, be sure to sign up for a farm tour to learn more about the food grown on The San Francisco Peninsula.
Wineries & Distilleries in Half Moon Bay
To wind down, head over to a local winery or distillery. La Nebbia Winery provides a wide sampling of grape varietals. Their gardens and picnic areas are also the perfect spot to relax and play bocce ball. This winery is also pet-friendly, so you can bring your dog or cat and relax on their patio. La Nebbia is open Thursday through Sunday from 11:00 AM through 5:00 PM for table-side service.
Stop by Barterra Winery’s tasting room in downtown Half Moon Bay for fine wines sourced from California’s top vineyards, including Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, and Mendocino. They also offer a cheese or charcuterie plate to go with your wine. Their tasting room is open every day from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM for indoor and outdoor seating.
For a craft cocktail, head to Jettywave Distillery to sit by one of their fire pits and enjoy the coastal breeze and live music. The Swell Lounge at Jettywave is open Fridays from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Saturdays from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM, and Sundays from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
Decided You Would Like To Stay Longer?
We don’t blame you! Half Moon Bay offers a variety of sophisticated accommodations for a longer visit. For magnificent views, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, Oceano Hotel & Spa, and Beach House Half Moon Bay will not disappoint. Looking for more options? Check out all of the other hotel options in Half Moon Bay! For more assistance in planning these activities, check out Half Moon Bay Coastside Tours.