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What is Half Moon Bay Known For? A Local’s Take

If you’re traveling to the San Francisco Bay Area, you might be considering a trip down to Half Moon Bay, California.

You should totally go! It’s a beautiful place that I, as a local, visit at least five times per year.

Here are some of the things Half Moon Bay is known for.

Natural Beauty and Beaches

The first thing that strikes you about Half Moon Bay is the stunning natural beauty. Situated right on the Pacific coast, approximately 25 miles south of San Francisco, this place offers incredible vistas of beaches and surf.

Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach

One of the town’s top attractions is the Mavericks Beach, widely regarded as one of the best surfing beaches in the world. In addition to Mavericks, the town’s coastline is dotted with other family-friendly beaches, such as Manhattan Beach and the popular Half Moon Bay State Beach.

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However, these are not your typical sandy beaches where you lounge around in your swimsuit. These are rocky, rugged Northern Californian beaches with quite cold waters. But trust me, taking a nice walk along the beach, dipping your toes in the water, or swimming (ideally with a wetsuit) is an experience you won’t forget.

Half Moon Bay's natural beauty
Half Moon Bay’s natural beauty

On a personal note, I will recommend that you stick around for the sunset over Half Moon Bay. The natural beauty that unfolds before your eyes is truly mesmerizing.

Sunset over Half Moon Bay
Sunset over Half Moon Bay

The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

Another notable aspect of Half Moon Bay is the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. As one of the only beachside luxury resorts in Northern California, it offers a great view of the ocean, fantastic golf courses, and an excellent restaurant.

Ritz Half Moon Bay
Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay luxury hotel perched on sea cliffs with Half Moon Bay Golf Links golf course in foreground, Half Moon Bay, California, December 22, 2017.

As someone who has been privileged to stay there on multiple occasions, witnessing the enchanting beachside journey from this resort is always an amazing experience.

Deep Agricultural History

Goat Yoga in Half Moon Bay
Goat Yoga in Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay also prides itself on its agricultural history. Don’t miss out on the chance to visit farms like Lemos Farm, where you meet and interact with baby goats, carry out activities like goat yoga (yes, it’s a thing), and even engage in pumpkin hunting sessions during the fall.

Lemos Farm in Half Moon Bay
Lemos Farm in Half Moon Bay

In fact, Half Moon Bay is renowned as one of the pumpkin capitals of the world. It even hosts a festival dedicated to pumpkins, providing an overall cultural and fun experience for visitors.

Seafood Delights

To wrap up your visit, do not forget to taste the culinary delights Half Moon Bay has to offer, especially when it comes to seafood.

Lobster roll at Sam's Chowder House
Lobster roll at Sam’s Chowder House

Sams Chowder House will serve you one of the best lobster rolls in the Bay Area. This restaurant, located by Pillar Point Harbor in the north of Half Moon Bay, allows you to savor your meal while enjoying an impressive beach view, creating a comprehensive sensory feast.

Lobster roll on the beach
Lobster roll on the beach

Key Takeaways

  • Half Moon Bay is a stunning coastal town in California.
  • It has some of the best surfing beaches in the world, including Mavericks Beach.
  • Half Moon Bay is known for its rocky, rugged Northern California beaches.
  • It is home to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, one of the only beachside luxury resorts in Northern California.
  • Half Moon Bay is known for its deep agricultural history, with farms you can visit, such as Lemos Farm.
  • It is also known as one of the pumpkin capitals of the world.
  • Sams Chowder House is one of the best seafood restaurants in the Bay Area.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.
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