The beautiful beach town of Half Moon Bay is an easy drive about 35 miles south of San Francisco. With breathtaking coastal views and a beachy vibe, consider adding this Northern California coastal village to your must-visit list.
Here’s how to have a great weekend in Half Moon Bay.
Note: Some information in this article was obtained through a sponsored press trip, but all recommendations are my own.
Things to do in Half Moon Bay
1. Blown Glass at Half Moon Bay Art Glass
At Half Moon Bay Art Glass, you can explore the ancient craft of glass blowing for yourself. Take a look in the studio at the different projects and select yours. Once you’ve chosen your colors, it’s time to get to work. You’ll grab a pair of safety goggles and gloves, and the owner, Doug, will show you the way.
As you carefully insert your torch into the 2,000 degree Fahrenheit oven, watch your glass take shape. Then you twist and turn the rod in the colors of your choice, and things really come to life. I may not be an artist, but I was that day as I carefully crafted my heart-shaped paperweight. How funny! Half Moon Bay Art Glass is the perfect place to learn about the art of glassblowing. They have taught over 7,000 students over the past 10 years and invite you to come discover your inner Dale Chihuly!
Pro tip: If you’re in town on the first Thursday of the month, head to Make It Main Street and look for the Glass Blowing At Half Moon Bay portable trailer on Main Street. Watch Ron work his magic and buy a handmade glass treasure to take home.
2. Horseback Riding at Seahorse Ranch
The dream of horseback riding on the beach comes true at Seahorse Ranch. This family business has been thriving in Half Moon Bay for many years and the people here look forward to helping you achieve your dreams. Make reservations for your choice of ride and upon arrival you will be equipped for your horse and helmet. With the help of the experienced guides, you will soon appreciate the beauty of the coast as you walk through fields of wild flowers and spontaneous grasses.
Chat with your neighbors on horseback as you make your way along secluded trails to the beach. Then you will be guided over a short cliff and as a neighbor the former bull rider advised me to relax and lean back! The crashing waves provide a relaxing soundtrack as you cruise along the shore and take in the beauty of the Pacific. This is truly a one of a kind hike that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
3. Shopping on the main street
Check out the shops on Main Street in Half Moon Bay. Marvel at the incredible handcrafted furniture at Cottage Industries, check out cool finds at Jupiter & Main and their sister store Juno’s Mercantile, and be sure to stop by Feed & Fuel for everything from Western clothing to live chickens!
4. Explore the beaches
Home of the legendary Maverick’s, the surf is big here and the beaches abound. In the morning, stroll along the beach and watch the kids learn to ride the waves at the surf school. It is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
5. Walk the trails
Not to be outdone by the sea, the land around Half Moon Bay offers stunning scenery and excellent hiking. Try Devil’s Slide and Purisima Creek Trail.
6. Cycling along the coast
Take in views of the Pacific as you cycle along the Coastal Path. Collect your bikes at Half Moon Bay Kayak and hit the trail. If you prefer to explore things from the water, they offer stand-up paddleboard rentals, as well as single and double kayaks. They even offer guided kayak or paddleboard tours, so you can get your whole group out on the water for a fun adventure!
Restaurants at Half Moon Bay
7. Half Moon Bay Brewery
Founded in 2000, the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company was the first legal brewery on the San Mateo coast since the late 1800s. Today, it’s one of the top destinations on Capistrano Road and it’s the he perfect place to grab an alfresco table, a locally brewed cold beer or cocktail and relax. With a large full bar plus indoor and outdoor seating, there’s plenty of room for everyone at this award-winning brasserie and restaurant.
For a light but decadent lunch, try the daily special of halibut topped with fresh mango salsa, served with broccoli, mashed cauliflower and parsnips and lobster sauce. The Crispy Seafood Sampler is also a good choice. We dug into this gigantic array of piping hot fish, including calamari, local cod battered in BrewCo beer and prawns. Served with fries and sides of tartare and cocktail sauce, it was way more food than we could handle.
Supreme Soup: Try the clam chowder, named one of the best chowders outside of New England by Food Network.
8. La Costanera
Perfect service, creative cocktails and amazing food. What else do we need? Not sure what to order from the Peruvian menu? The folks at La Costanera are pros when it comes to offering delicious suggestions.
Discover the national drink, the Pisco Sour, and let your taste buds awaken while sipping this ultra creamy cocktail. Expertly crafted behind the bar and featuring a hummingbird design in the frothy top, this drink is my new favorite. Al, La Costanera’s ambassador, told us that the hummingbird design adorning the top of the drink is a nod to ancient Peruvian Nazca lines. Our very fun evening started in a fascinating way!
With drinks in hand, be sure to sample the homemade fries and salsa. It’s not the typical Mexican restaurant food, but more of the Peruvian-style homemade crispy chips and salsa with cilantro which I love. Delicious !
Whether you opt for a seat on the large patio by the fire pits, a cozy spot at the cozy first floor bar, or upstairs in the expansive dining room, you’ll be greeted by friendly, knowledgeable staff, waiting than to help you. you.
For a taste of heaven on earth, try the Pescado a lo Macho starter, which includes a fillet of seasonal fish roasted over a seafood stew. Mine included mussels, clams, prawns, octopus and swordfish, all served in a savory rocoto-paprika sauce, served with a side of coconut rice. It was simply magical and one of the best dishes I have ever had the pleasure of eating. My catering partner devoured his entree, the Salmon Bandido. Made up of grilled wild salmon, roasted kabocha squash purée and a shisha reduction, this is a mouth-watering dish for sure. La Costanera serves creative and tasty dishes in style. I bet this restaurant will earn a place in your top dining experiences, as it has mine.
Choice of bartenders: Flight Pisco Sour, tasting of 3 piscos: Traditional, Maracuya and Cucumber.
Gourmet dessert: Order it a delicious, mind-blowing chocolate lava cake.
9. Sam’s Chowder
Some of the best seafood in town is served here at award-winning Sam’s Chowder House restaurant. Located right on the beach overlooking the bay, the views are amazing and the food is even better.
Start with something from Sam’s Fresh Oyster Bar, where you’ll obviously find oysters as well as seafood cocktails and ceviche. Indulge in the award-winning lobster rolls, served naked or dressed. An order of cold-smoked salmon served with pickled cucumber, herb cream cheese and toasted bread wedges proves that simple doesn’t have to be boring. Voted by San Francisco Magazine As one of the top three outdoor restaurants in the Bay Area, Sam’s Chowder House will have you feeling the love.
Inventive aperitif: Try this winning combination of a colorful mix of grilled cherry tomatoes, huge shrimp, topped with a pesto sauce and served hot in a cast iron grill.
10. Garden Deli Cafe in San Benito
Located among the quaint shops of Main Street, the Garden Deli Cafe in San Benito usually has a queue outside the door. We found the queue moved pretty quickly and the short wait was worth it.
My vegetarian avocado and cheese sandwich topped with fresh lettuce, onion, pickles and tomato, served on my choice of homemade wheat, hit the mark. The ham and bean soup of the day was also delicious. The casual take-out spot is consistently ranked as one of the best sandwich restaurants on the coast.
Pro tip: Go get your food and grab a table in the adjacent courtyard. Acoustic musicians playing while we munched on our lunch gave us a relaxing hour at noon.
Half Moon Bay Hotels
11. The Beach House
Comfortable, spacious and ideally located right on the beach are all reasons why you will love your stay at the Beach House Hotel.
Offering 500 square feet and all-suite accommodations, you’ll have everything you need and more at The Beach House. The in-room mini-fridge and microwave make it easy to grab a snack, and the Beach House offers the option to order cocktails for your own private happy hour. We loved the daily continental breakfast included with our stay, the in-room fireplace, the wonderfully relaxing hot tub, and of course the stunning view of the bay from the private balcony. You’ll also love the easy access to Sam’s Chowder House next door, as well as the coastal path which is directly behind the property, providing easy access to Pillar Point Harbour.
12. Oceano Hotel And Spa
Steps from Pillar Point Harbor, enjoy your stay in a luxurious suite or villa at the Oceano Hotel and Spa. At the on-site Oceano Bar & Grill, unwind with a cocktail or savor a full chef-prepared meal. Afterward, stroll through the adjacent Shoppes at Harbor Village for a shopping spree.
The Bay Area is one of The journey awaits you After popular destinations, featured in articles like these: