Half Moon Bay, CA
Updated: May 5, 2022
Welcome back to the blog!
I know it's been a while. Like everyone else, I have been vacillating between hunkering down and going out to test the pandemic waters. I'm one of the many who, eventually, came down with the virus, but after being fully vaccinated. I'm happy to report that my time under the weather was only about one week and more like having a bad cold than a full-blown, upper respiratory infection. Thank you, modern medicine!
I'm supposedly more immune (?) now that I've had COVID and I am re-entering the world of the well-traveled. Short trips, so far, and close to home. I love a good road trip and Half Moon Bay on the coast of California is the perfect driving time for me and hubby!
The view from our balcony at sunrise!
We stayed at a beautiful little Inn, called Mavericks House. It's right on the ocean side of HMB, about a ten-minute drive from downtown. We had a large room with a sitting area, table and chairs, microwave, coffee maker and small fridge. There was an ice machine that made the cutest little ice cubes and snacks were delivered to the room, daily. We also had a large, soaking tub and shower in the spacious bathroom and a balcony with a view of the water to die for! We heard harbor seals barking and the sound of the waves up against the rocky shore just below us. The downside, if you can call it that, was the foghorn that blows 24/7. Not a bad trade for some stunning water views and a fantastic location, walking distance from many restaurants, breweries, a distillery, beaches and hiking trails.
We spent our first day hiking a short trail along a peninsula to Mavericks Beach. The peninsula borders a harbor, so the water here is not always the best for swimming or wading - signage lets you know when this is the case - but we did get to see one impressive surfer
catching the waves from an outcropping of rocks all the way into shore. There's a mysterious military facility at the top of the hill above the beach. More signage prohibits the public from getting very close to its secrets. Still, the giant golf ball-shaped structure crowning the hill is
a fascinating landmark!
On our second day, we re-initiated OPERATION BEACHCOMBER from earlier blog posts, which rather fell by the wayside over the last two years. We visited a number of beaches south along Highway One. First, was Surfers Beach, which is walking distance from Pillar Point Harbor which we could see from our balcony. The beach lived up to its name, with about seven surfers in the water during our visit and more arriving while we were leaving. Use caution when parking to visit this beach. You can park and walk from the harbor or else you're stuck parking along Highway One and need to cross the highway to get to the beach. You'll also see the California Coastal Walking Trail along the beach side of this stretch of Highway One/Cabrillo Highway.
Driving south, this part of the California Coast is practically one, long strip of sand with multiple "beach names" that make up Half Moon Bay State Beach. At our next stop, we found Dunes, Roosevelt/Naples Beaches. Half Moon Bay State Beach is part of the California State Parks system and there is a fee for parking. The good news is that there are some parking slots right outside the entrance and the walk to the beach from there is short. More good news: one parking fee gets you access to all three beaches. This is a beautiful strip of sand, part of the four miles of beach along this beautiful section of the coast. This strip is great for walking and bird watching, for miles of scenic coast!
Finally, we found Francis Beach which also includes a campground and is the southern-most part of Half Moon Bay State Beach. Down a lovely, residential street, right off of Highway One, we found the entrance to the beach on the left. Parking inside the entrance is steep - 10.00. The nice ranger let us in, no problem, with our annual State Parks pass. This was one of the best kept secrets we've found so far! This beach has multiple bathroom facilities for the public and a welcome center. There is a whole section of picnic tables with BBQs and an adjacent campground. This is a stretch of beach that goes for miles, in both directions, with impressive wave action. There's a steep incline to the water so not the best walking beach, but fabulous for catching rays and watching wildlife. There's a strong riptide so use caution near the water.
We ended our trip with a visit to a favorite restaurant, Whale City Bakery Bar & Grill in Davenport, CA. It's right on Highway One so use caution when parking. There are about five parking spaces in front of the restaurant and side street parking when available. Overflow parking has traditionally been in a dirt lot across the street where you can catch some great views over Davenport Beach. But you have to run across the highway to get to the restaurant, which is ill advised. We love the vibe of this place! It's a small-town diner with great food, super friendly people and a fantastic bakery. They have a great outdoor space which is awesome on a nice day, but it is close to the highway and can be noisy when there's lots of traffic. Be sure to load up on bakery goodies to take home!
That's our two-day trip along the coast! Did I mention that the views along this part of Highway One are some of THE BEST in the world? You can't go wrong with this California Coasting!