Half Moon Bay
About half an hour south of San Francisco -- or half an hour west of Palo Alto -- lies a marvelous little jewel called Half Moon Bay. Located in San Mateo County, it is nestled between the coastal range and the ocean and is literally awash in the sights, sounds and smells of the sea.
When I first visited, it was almost as if the place had not yet been "discovered". But now, some 30-plus years later, builders, developers and tourists alike lay claim to the area. But in all this time, its beauty and charm have not diminished. The same places at which I used to eat, shop or stay still thrive; they are simply joined by a number of newcomers. And there is still the incessant and omnipresent roar of the Pacific Ocean that can almost -- but never quite -- be taken for granted.
The views are stunning, the surf is awesome, the sunsets are breathtaking and recreational possibilities know no bounds. This is truly a place where one can find a touch of the past gently cohabitating with the present while still experiencing the tranquility that this part of the Pacific Coast has to offer.
Three of my favorite restaurants are the Miramar Beach Restaurant (tremendous Crab Cakes), Barbara’s Fishtrap (awesome clam chowder) and the Moss Beach Distillery (amazing views and an incredible happy hour). But there are dozens more places in and around Half Moon Bay at which your palate can be easily pleased and teased; to try to name even a portion of them would not prove practical. Best to simply let you roam the area, soaking in the sights and sounds… or even request a suggestion from the locals. They are very friendly.
But whether you prefer to explore the coastal regions, take a leisurely stroll down Main Street and check out possible shopping venues, peruse the Pumpkin Region, slide through the Santa Cruz Mountains or get lost in the refuge of the Redwoods, Half Moon Bay and its surrounding environment is a place that will easily take your breath away; and it will certainly make you want to return again and again and again.