ActivitiesTravel & Day Trips

Where is Half Moon Bay Located? A Local’s Advice

Visting San Francisco, and wondering if it makes sense to take a day trip to Half Moon Bay, California?

As a local, here’s a breakdown of where this seaside Bay Area town is located relative to San Francisco, and the best ways to get there.

Setting off from San Francisco

Beginning in the vibrant downtown San Francisco area where many visitors flock, you may wonder how to reach the iconic Half Moon Bay. Some travellers might be acquainted with the northern part of San Francisco, including Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero. Nevertheless, we need to set our sights south, beyond the city’s borders.

The Route to Half Moon Bay

About 25 miles south of San Francisco, along Highway 1, lies our destination. Known as the Pacific Coast Highway to the denizens of Southern California, this prominent California coast road becomes our guide. It is a wonderfully scenic jaunt, with the bracing ocean wind casting back your hair as you drive. Eventually, after approximately 25 miles, the alluring sight of Half Moon Bay comes into view.

Half Moon Bay is about 25 miles South of San Francisco

Exploring Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay is more than just a name; it is a region with diverse attractions. As you approach, the first eye-catching spot is Pillar Point, a beautiful locale enriched by a small airport, marina and a sublime beach. Accommodation isn’t an issue with offerings such as the Beach House Hotel ensuring a comfortable stay.

Continuing southward, you’ll encounter the heart of the hubbub – the widely popular Half Moon Bay State Beach. Finally, in the far south lies one of my personal favourites, the luxury Ritz-Carlton Resort, which boasts a stellar coastline view.

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

Travel Tips

Half Moon Bay’s beauty is undeniable, with a look reminiscent of the Scottish moors. However, the practical aspects cannot be ignored. Commuting to Half Moon Bay from San Francisco might not be very straightforward due to limited public transit options. Your best bet would be to rent a car or take an Uber, though the latter may prove challenging due to a lower density of ride-share drivers in the area.

The traffic congestion level often depends on the time of travel, and on weekends it may take up to an hour to reach Half Moon Bay. If you’re staying towards the south of the city or in Daly City, that would cut down your travel time. I assure you, the journey is worth it for the sensational experience of basking on the beach, hiking, or exploring quaint downtown Half Moon Bay.

Concluding Thoughts

I wholeheartedly recommend adding Half Moon Bay to your travel itinerary. It’s a stunning location, even if getting there can be tricky.

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Key Takeaways

  • Half Moon Bay is located 25 miles south of San Francisco on Highway 1.
  • It can take up to an hour to get there from San Francisco, depending on traffic.
  • The area includes Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay State Beach, and the Ritz-Carlton.
  • Rent a car or take an Uber to get to Half Moon Bay.
  • For more information, search ‘Bay Area Telegraph, Half Moon Bay’ online.

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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