Situated 25 miles south of San Francisco, Half Moon Bay is known for its agriculture and fishing industries. Fall is a festive time to visit as pumpkin patches abound along Highway 92. There are wineries, farm stands, nurseries, and even Christmas tree farms. Keep heading west, and discover a vast shoreline with beaches, marine reserves, lighthouses and more. Whether visiting for the day or making a vacation out of it, there is so much to enjoy.
For a great two-hour excursion and a lovely way to see the coast, hop on a horse at Sea Horse Ranch and trot through a scenic wooded trail, and then along the beach. No camera is needed as there’s a professional photographer to take guests’ pictures along the way — the photos are available for purchase at the end of the trip. This guided horseback tour is a relaxing way to view the amazing beauty and nature of Half Moon Bay. The Sea Horse Ranch staff gives great instructions on how to handle the horse on the ride. The horses are well trained and seem to follow the trail easily without the rider having to do much. The best part of the ride is letting the horses run. It’s a fun and bumpy ride. The weather is cold and windy even in the summer, so make sure to bring a jacket or sweatshirt.
Sea Horse Ranch, 1828 Cabrillo Hwy N, Half Moon Bay, CA, USA, +1 650 726 9903
Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is located on Moss Beach. There is a stunning shoreline with bluffs and vistas, along with amazing tide pools to explore, so put on some waterproof shoes, and climb out on the rocks. There are many kinds of interesting marine life to view, including anemones, hermit crabs, and sea urchins, to name a few. During springtime, visitors can watch harbor seals on the beach. They tend to be in a specific area of the beach where orange cones have been set up reminding visitors to keep their distance from this federally protected animal. But they are lovely to watch even from a distance. They blend in with the color of the sand, so look closely to see them. Be sure to check the website for more information about the best times to catch the tide pools.
Just up the road from Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is Point Montara Lighthouse. Originally established as a fog signal station in the late 1800s, the lighthouse grounds were renovated to become a hostel in 1980. The hostel offers a quiet, retreat-like setting for overnight guests. And for those visiting just for the day, the compound is a scenic area to hike around and explore the coast.
Situated on Capistrano Road, where visitors will find many restaurants, Barbara’s Fishtrap offers a casual dining experience with an ocean view. They serve delicious clam chowder and a variety of seafood. The Dungeness crab was delightful, served in a garlicky oil sauce, along with French fries and fried zucchini. There is indoor and outdoor seating, and while waiting for a table, guests can romp around on the beach. There are windows throughout the restaurant, so almost any table provides a good view. Don’t forget to check out the daily specials.
Barbara’s Fishtrap, 281 Capistrano Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA, USA, +1 650 728 7049
There is a Farmers market on Saturdays that boasts locally grown produce, homemade cheese, and all kinds of sweet treats. It’s located at 225 Cabrillo Highway.
Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival is coming up on October 17th and 18th. There will be arts and crafts exhibitors, bands, a pie-eating contest, and a lot of other activities.