What to do in Half Moon Bay, CA

Activities, attractions and tours
Half Moon Bay showing a beach and general coastal views as well as a small group of people

Half Moon Bay Attractions

With the city’s roots in the agricultural industry and mile-upon-mile of windswept beaches, life in Half Moon Bay proceeds at a slower pace than its dot-com neighbors to the north. Locals and travelers like that just fine, especially when Half Moon Bay beckons with so many adventures—from horseback rides on Poplar Beach to all-day getaways in the Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve. Adding to its touristic charms, Half Moon Bay is home to a handful of luxury hotels and an idyllic downtown peppered with laid-back galleries and stylish yet understated boutiques—what's not to love?

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Most fun & popular experiences in Half Moon Bay

What to do in Half Moon Bay

Free Things to Do in Half Moon Bay

Vacationing on a tight budget in Half Moon Bay? Spend time instead of money on great experiences.

Francis Beach - Enjoy a nice, leisurely stroll by the water and maybe even dip your toes in.

Waterfront Coastside Trail - It's easy to feel connected with Mother Nature at this magnificent spot.

Purisima Creek Redwoods - Revitalize your mind, body and soul by spending a bit of time with Mother Nature.

Areas & Neighborhoods in Half Moon Bay

In 1973, jazz musician Bill Evans recorded an album in Half-Moon Bay, which features songs like, "How My Heart Sings" and "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" Spend a little time along the sleepy lanes of Half Moon Bay and you might just fall into the same contemplative state of mind. From Main Street to Miramar, Half Moon Bay offers a slice of heaven for every type of traveler.

Main Street

Main Street is Half Moon Bay's civic and commercial center, where 18th-century edifices intermingle with contemporary structures. A brief stroll introduces you to the region's retail delights—from purveyors offering perfectly sun-washed garb to avant-garde galleries showcasing some of Northern California's finest artists.

Miramar & Roosevelt Beach

Sweeping cliffs and saltbox cottages dominate the scene in idyllic Miramar, a residential enclave north of Main Street.Residents rave about Roosevelt Beach, which is often more secluded than the ever-bustling Half Moon Bay State Beach.

Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve

The Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve offers a taste of the sublime with breathtaking sights of Half Moon Bay. Here, travelers attempt to wrap their arms around redwoods while trekking through ferns, berries, and wildflowers in summer.

Things to See in Half Moon Bay

From spouting gray whales to performances at one of Northern California's most beloved community theaters, there are endless things to see in Half Moon Bay. Begin by heading to Cowell Ranch Beach, where you can lounge in the sand before scrambling up a bluff to marvel at a harbor seal preserve below. Or, motor into town and push off on a sightseeing cruise to marvel at gray and humpback whales between the months of December and April. In the evening, venture to the Coastal Repertory Theatre, which showcases the dramatic, musical, and comedic stylings of the San Mateo Coast.

Sightseeing in Half Moon Bay

Discover why Half Moon Bay is nicknamed the Pumpkin Capital of California while indulging in the city’s bevy of activities. Whether you’re traveling in autumn or not, the organic pumpkin farms and fresh produce stands along Highway 1 are worth a stopover. In September and October, head to Farmer John's Pumpkin Farm, and then pull over to peruse the Coastside Farmers' Market, which runs on Saturdays between May and December, for a look at pumpkins, squash, gourds, and more. Next, grab your hiking poles and explore the Coastside Trail, which rewards travelers with views of Half Moon Bay’s swirling turquoise surf. Finally, embark on a horseback ride along Poplar Beach, or discover why some compare Half Moon Bay to the Scottish Highlands by treating yourself to 18 holes at the Half Moon Bay Golf Links.

Things to Do in Half Moon Bay with Kids

Half Moon Bay is a great place for a family escape. Bring the youngsters along and enjoy these top family friendly experiences together:


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Frequently asked questions

What to do in Half Moon Bay on a sunny day?
What to do in Half Moon Bay on a rainy day?
Are there cheap things to do in Half Moon Bay?
What can you do in Half Moon Bay for free?
You could leave your cash in the hotel safe for the day, because these fantastic attractions won’t cost you a cent:

  • Mavericks Beach
  • Half Moon Bay State Beach
  • Miramar Beach
  • Venice Beach in Half Moon Bay

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