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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?
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 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.
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.
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.
Vacationing in Half Moon Bay on a budget? The following can be experienced for zip.
Francis Beach - Devour the latest bestseller or play some music while you're catching those rays.
Waterfront Coastside Trail - Be treated to vistas that'll inspire awe at this natural marvel.
Purisima Creek Redwoods - If you like nurturing your garden, this place will appeal to your inner green thumb.
Make the most of the weather (and get some fresh air at the same time) with these top outdoor activities:
If it's pouring with rain during your visit, dry off your umbrella and have a go at these enticing indoor activities:
Your trip to Half Moon Bay needn't cost a bundle with free things like these to explore: