One of the nicest beach communities in Northern California is Half Moon Bay. It features excellent hiking, a charming downtown retail area, and top-notch eateries.
However, the Coast side has some fantastic beaches, which is more significant.
You might find it difficult to choose which of Half Moon Bay’s beaches to visit.
Miles of the undeveloped shoreline may be found at Half Moon Bay, a laid-back resort for city dwellers seeking a respite from the daily grind.
You will have a nice time at Half Moon Bay thanks to beaches like Gray Whale Cove State Beach, Montara State Beach, JV Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Poplar Beach, etc. We’ve got you covered, so don’t worry!
You may use this site to identify the best beaches in Half Moon Bay based on your requirements, amount of activity, and preferred beach mood.
California’s beautifully sunny San Mateo County Coast is where Half Moon Bay is located. Be careful not to get overly thrilled though; this is and it’s not always sunny.
Fortunately, despite heavy traffic on weekends, it’s not too far from anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The climate is generally predictable, and the temperature never deviates significantly from the mid-sixties. Fall and spring are normally clear with the hottest temperatures, while winter is brisk and chilly with intermittent rain.
Then there is the summertime marine layer and persistent fog.
Thankfully, the fog normally clears up by noon, but if the day ends up being foggy, don’t panic. Still beautiful are the sights. During the winter while they are migrating yearly, California grey whales and humpback whales may be spotted off the coast.
With binoculars, you can get up close and personal views of these gorgeous creatures after keeping an eye out for the distinctive water spout.
Beaches In Half Moon Bay To Visit
Without further ado, here’s our list of the best beach in Half Moon Bay drop by, relax and explore.
The Half Moon Bay State Beach
California’s four-mile-long Half Moon Bay State Beach is a protected beach with sun, sand, and water.
This long beach is made up of Roosevelt, Dunes, Venice, and Francis Beaches, from north to south.
Venice Beach and the Dunes are adjacent to one another and are a recognized component of Half Moon Bay State Beach Park.
Because there is plenty of parking and the beaches are far less crowded than Francis Beach, they are well-liked by residents.
You may walk the entire five miles to Wavecrest beach on beach if you go out at low tide.
The Half Moon Bay Beach Park is the only location along this section of the Coastside that provides beach camping, aside from a few exclusive RV campgrounds.
Even better, the state park offers a select few luxury camping locations right on the beach cliff, where you can catch some amazing sunsets.
Additionally near the downtown shops and eateries is this beach park.
The Half Moon Bay State Beach is a well-liked location for fishing, picnics, and sunbathing.
It’s the perfect destination for some R&R with your family.
There is a campsite that offers to lodge for anyone who wishes to spend more time in nature than just a day.
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Gray Whale Cove State Beach
This lovely beach’s crescent shape is secluded and undiscovered. Just south of the Devil’s Slide, it is present down a steep hill.
Sitting on the swing at The Cliffside will allow you to soar out and take in the breathtaking ocean vistas.
The little, gentle beach is ideal for a leisurely (but brief) walk.
At the far northern end of the beach, there are occasionally people sunbathing naked.
Additionally, it’s one of Half Moon Bay’s quietest beaches, making it a great choice for couples.
Just keep in mind that you’ll need to descend a long, steep hill, but it will be worthwhile! And once you see the vista, it’s actually not that horrible!
Even though the beach is just around 800 feet long and narrow, it is rarely congested. And don’t forget to explore the cave on the beach’s left side; it’s a lot of fun.
Montara State Beach
In contrast to Gray Whale Cove, Montara has a broad, sandy beach with room for everyone.
A beach atop a mountaintop, Montara State Beach is renowned for its unspoiled shoreline, breathtaking scenery, and immaculate condition.
In addition to being stunning to look at, families adore this beach in Half Moon Bay. You could see a harbour seal here, despite the fact that the tidal pools are normally inaccessible!
Be aware that the sand at Montara State Beach is substantially rougher than it is at other beaches in Half Moon Bay. While strolling along the seaside, you should most likely keep your sandals on.
JV Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
Searching for something a little unique? Visit JV Fitzgerald Marine Reserve right away! Because you can go tide pooling here, this beach in Half Moon Bay is one of my favorites!
Lots of marine life may be found in the shallow waters after a little exploring, from starfish and crawling crabs to sea sponges hiding in the pools to the vivid green sea anemones.
The neighboring mountains are great for trekking and provide breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
If you can, schedule some time to investigate these before or after JV Fitzgerald. You must visit at low tide in order to avoid drowning in a sea of aquatic life.
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If your dog loves the beach as much as mine does, Popular is the greatest Half Moon Bay beach for puppies. It’s really one of the few local beaches that accept dogs.
This is due to the neighboring beaches’ extensive sensitive dune and snowy plover habitat.
At the base of the Poplar beach entrance, there are a lot of beachgoers and families, but if you head south, you’ll quickly escape the crowd.
Although it’s required that you keep your dog on a leash, several people let their dogs go free until they reach the more tranquil areas.
Pescadero State Beach
A mile-long stretch of sandy coves, rocky cliffs, tidal pools, fishing piers, and picnic areas may be found at Pescadero State Beach.
Pescadero, which translates to “the place to fish” in Spanish, is a fantastic location for fishing. But keep in mind that you need a fishing license from the state of California.
In contrast to Poplar Beach, dogs are never allowed here. Also prohibited is the removal of driftwood, shells, and other inanimate objects found on the shore.
Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve, a favorite destination for bird watchers and other naturalists, is located across the highway. For blue herons, kites, deer, raccoons, foxes, and skunks, the Reserve serves as a haven.
If you enjoy surfing or have lived in the Bay Area for some time, you’ve definitely heard about Mavericks Beach.
Why? It is due to the renowned surf competition! And for those of you who don’t surf, there are tidal pools that, during low tide, are filled with species.
The beach is crowded with surfers competing with one another, and if you go in the winter, you could even see some of them riding the enormous waves to qualify for the prestigious Mavericks Surf Awards.
Professionals and accomplished amateurs compete for the title of Performer of the Year in this well-known competition.
Pro surfers now collaborate with filmmakers to capture their finest performing waves, which has significantly impacted the contest throughout the years. Anyone may now participate because it is no longer invitation-only.
However, as a result of this modification, there will be no surf competition.
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At Miramar Beach, it’s all about the bohemian attitude and the beautiful surroundings. It’s a true hidden treasure and one of Half Moon Bay’s less popular beaches.
Although Miramar Beach is a terrific site for tanning, we love going back because of the magnificent trees, vast coastline, and adorable dogs.
It is, however, quite difficult to get there. Once you locate the footbridge, descend the narrow route until you reach the eye-catching bridge. Sand-filled Miramar Beach is accessible by crossing there.
The only other drawback is the erosion problem — there isn’t much sand left to walk on during high tide! If that occurs, go for a leisurely stroll along the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail while looking out over Miramar.
It has a lot of character; there are many unusual homes, and several artist studios, and in the spring, there are vivid areas of pink flowers.
San Gregorio Nude Beach
San Gregorio Nude Beach, which is private property and should not be mistaken for San Gregorio State Beach, is situated north of the main beach. It is the oldest nudist beach in the nation.
There is a parking fee and admittance cost because the area is privately owned. Near the shore, there are constructions made of driftwood, and if a T-shirt is hanging from a pole, the location is “occupied.”
Surf fishing and tide pooling are also excellent on the two-mile stretch of soft sand, rocks, and driftwood. In the area, swimming is not advised.
Cowell Ranch Beach
Half Moon Bay State Beach includes Cowell Ranch Beach. Cowell Ranch Beach is situated 0.6 miles south of Miramontes Point Road and 3.4 miles south of Half Moon Bay.
On the west side of Highway 1, there is a tiny parking area with enough for around a dozen automobiles and a portable restroom. A route extends for 0.5 kilometers from there to a set of stairs that leads to a nice little beach.
The main route continues past the steps and leads to a viewpoint at the end of a cliff if you stay on the bluff.
You may look down on a harbour seal preserve at the next beach to the south from there.
March and April are the birthing months for harbour seals. People are prohibited from entering the harbour seal preserve. On the overlook, there are seats and a brand-new telescope that is wheelchair accessible.
The Cowell-Purissima Trail, a portion of the California Coastal Trail, ends at Cowell Ranch Beach in the north. The 3-mile route, which is accessible on weekends, goes south to Purissima Creek.
Many people in the Bay Area are completely unaware of Redondo Beach, which is a hidden treasure near Half Moon Bay.
It is close to The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay and features a lengthy sandy beach as well as pathways for exploring and eroding bluffs in the distance. And the sand is so pure, fine, and white.
You may see that the walk to the beach might occasionally be muddy, so you must decide for yourself if you want to make the journey to the sand.
The Wave crest Open Space, which is located just north of the white sand beach and offers guests the ability to go biking, horseback riding, and bird watching, is a big lure in addition to the beach’s own. Keep your dog on a leash and be aware of animals if you’re bringing one.
San Gregorio State Beach
At San Gregorio State Beach, there is a protected estuary behind a long, sandy beach and grassy cliffs along the shore.
The estuary is home to several birds and small animals, and this beach has been recognized as suitable nesting habitat for the Western Snowy Plover, an endangered species with the official classification of “threatened.” On the beach, dogs and campfires are never permitted.
Pomponio State Beach
Pomponio State Beach, 12 miles south of Half Moon Bay on Highway 1, offers miles of sandy, gently sloping beaches at the foot of a tall sandstone cliff. The public is welcome to access this coastal strip on a day-to-day basis.
There are picnic areas, parking spaces, and fantastic hiking routes. Dogs and camping are absolutely prohibited in this area.
Gray Whale Cove State Beach
Due to the surrounding cliffs’ rapid descent into the Pacific Ocean, Gray Whale Cove State Beach is also known as the “Devil’s Slide.” Small, isolated, and with lovely white sand, this beach is ideal for sunbathing, especially in the months of April and May.
On the beach, there is a small picnic area; however, bonfires are not permitted there. Dogs are permitted but tightly confined to a leash.
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Bean Hollow State Beach
You’ve found the ideal beach if you’re seeking one with pathways and opportunities for nature hikes.
It’s one of the greatest locations for nature enthusiasts. Picture wildflowers, tide pools (with sea anemones, crab, and sea urchins), barking seals, and other wild birds present. Additionally, it is one of just a few unspoiled beaches in Half Moon Bay.
This means you’ll be able to see local beach flora that is unique to this area. Due to the riptides, currents, and frigid water, swimming is discouraged (and really rather dangerous), but there are lots of other activities to keep you busy instead!
Can You Walk On The Beach At Half Moon Bay?
The majority of the void along this section of the San Mateo County shore has been filled in admirably by the Half Moon Bay Coastside.
Take a stroll on all or part of this lovely walk, which offers some of the state’s most breathtaking coastline vistas. Numerous birds, animals, and other species will be present along the journey.
What Do You Wear To Half Moon Bay?
Male players at Half Moon Bay Golf Links must wear a polo shirt or turtleneck.
Women should attempt to carry polo shirts or turtlenecks in addition to their collarless clothes because T-shirts and tank tops are not recommended.
It is not hyperbole to say that it’s nearly always 64′ in Half Moon Bay.
Sure, there can be colder days in the winter and some really nice hot days in the spring or early fall. But plan for variable weather by bringing layers. It can be foggy in HMB any time of year but is particularly more so when the summer heat of California’s Central Valley pulls in the coastal moisture.
It frequently rolls in later in the afternoon but will often clear out for sunset.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Can you swim on Half Moon Bay beach?
A wise tip at Half Moon Bay is to avoid swimming. Because there are no lifeguard posts, entering the ocean might result in your death. The webpage for Half Moon Bay State Beach states that the ocean is always quite chilly.
Q2. Can you walk on the beach at Half Moon Bay?
The Half Moon Bay Coast side has done an admirable job of filling in the bulk of the vacuum along this stretch of San Mateo County beach.
This delightful route, which provides some of the state’s most spectacular coastline panoramas, is great for a stroll on all or part of it. Along the route, a variety of birds, animals, and other species will be visible.
Q3. Is Half Moon Bay worth it?
The Half Moon Bay Coast side provides guests with a wide variety of activities thanks to its expansive beauty and small-town charm.
You can be in awe of the enormousness of big wave surfing, the majestic redwoods that line the shore, and possibly, the most well-known guests, the gorgeous grey whales. The pleasures of more unassuming locations, such as tiny family farms, small-batch artisan breweries, and peaceful country roads, may appeal to you.
Q4. What is special about Half Moon Bay?
Half Moon Bay is unique because it combines the best of both worlds and showcases the best of Northern California. Half Moon Bay offers both the charm of a tiny community and a wide range of outdoor pursuits. Like the breathtaking trails and treks along the coast, its unmatched natural beauty, and the charming city.
Q5. What is the water temperature in Half Moon Bay?
The average annual temperature ranges from 45 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit, seldom falling below 38 or rising over 76.
Q6. What should I wear to Half Moon Bay?
Male golfers at Half Moon Bay Golf Links are required to wear a turtleneck or polo shirt. T-shirts and tank tops are not advised; therefore women should try to bring polo shirts or turtlenecks in addition to their collarless clothing.