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Great Escapes: Our guide to Half Moon Bay, CA

Planning a getaway? Check out Half Moon Bay, CA, the quaint beach town full of coastal California charm.

Sunset at Miramar Beach in Half Moon Bay, CA.

Half Moon Bay is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Photo by Carol Erdie Photography

Table of Contents

Ready for a getaway?

Growing up in the Bay Area, Half Moon Bay was always a day destination for my family + friends — whether for a beach day, a waterfront lunch, visit to the pumpkin patch, or a walk along the Coastside trail. It also happens to be my husband’s hometown, which gives us a reason to visit whenever we can.

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Miramar Beach sunsets can’t be beat.

Photo by Carol Erdie Photography

Why go?

  • Offering beaches, surfing, local food + wine, stunning stays, and outdoor activities Half Moon Bay’s small town charm makes for a great destination year-round.
  • Welcome in the fall season at the 51st Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival, happening October 14-15. Kick off the autumnal celebrations with costume contests, live music, festival fare, and local sips.
  • Bookmark this 3-day family vacation guide and this travel guide for more recommendations.
Slideshow of spots around Half Moon Bay, CA.

Coastal eats, local wines, beaches, hikes and a small-town vibe? Count us in.

Photos by RALtoday

Act like a local:

  • Coffee: Start your morning with a walk along Main Street and a coffee + pastry from Cafe Society. I recommend window shopping at some of my favorite spots: Hometown Mercantile, Crow’s Nest, and Abode.
  • Food: Every time I’m home, I make Barbara’s Fish Trap in the Harbor one of my first stops. The Fish & Chips are my favorite ever (pro tip: try them with a side of ranch). I prefer to order from the to-go window and either eat on the beach or at one of the picnic tables lining the marina.
  • Drink: A margarita from The Cantina at San Benito House. The Cantina features craft beer, tequila + Mexican fare in one of the oldest buildings in Half Moon Bay.
  • Surf: HMB is known for its big wave surfing. Depending on how swell your surf skills are, try your hand at surfing Montara Beach, Miramar Beach, or Maverick’s.
  • Wine: Grab a glass + a snack while you soak up Main Street’s charm at Half Moon Bay Wine & Cheese, Barterra Winery, or Vinoteca. I recommend a wine flight for the best tasting experience.
  • Explore: Hike or bike Devil’s Slide or walk the Coastside Trail.
  • Wellness: Unwind from your travels with a trip to the Spa at the Ritz and finish with a drink while you take in the coastal views.
Interior of Airbnb living room in Half Moon Bay, CA.

Completely rebuild + decorated by a famous San Francisco architect, this rental home sits a few walking blocks to great restaurants, a winery + distillery, steps away from scenic hikes, and is the closest house to world-famous surf beach Maverick’s.

Photo via Airbnb

Where to stay:

Pro tip: Cue up Half Moon Bay by the San Francisco pop rock band Train as you’re driving along Highway 1 and you’ll feel right at home on the California coast.

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