Why you should plan a Half Moon Bay vacation
Tucked between pristine coastline and rustic mountains, Half Moon Bay is a beautiful vacation destination that you should add to your bucket list in 2021! This coastal community offers an array of unique excursions, accommodations, and dining options that make for the perfect vacation. Though just 20 miles south of San Francisco, Half Moon Bay is a hidden gem vacation spot that most seasoned travelers have not yet had a chance to visit.
Given its close proximity to San Francisco and San Jose, HMB is the ideal seaside retreat from the hustle and bustle of these nearby cities. Here are 5 reasons why you should plan a Half Moon Bay vacation!
1. Awe-inspiring views
When people envision California’s picturesque coastline, the Big Sur is probably the first place that comes to mind.
But only a couple hours north lies the hidden gem of Half Moon Bay, which boasts equally breathtaking views. Encapsulated by the Golden Coast and the Santa Cruz Mountains, it’s an idyllic enclave that is every photographer’s dream.
On some days, the landscape is blanketed by the same mystical fog that notoriously covers the Golden Gate Bridge. On sunny days, Half Moon Bay emits a vibrant, rustic terrain that is ideal for biking, hiking, swimming, and even horseback riding. Scenic views of the mountains on one side, and the beach on the other, undoubtedly leave its visitors in awe. For these reasons, HMB is also a wonderful wedding destination.
(Check out Bree and Stephen Photography, a pair of local wedding photographers who capture epic romance and exotic landscapes)
With its seaside charm and countless tourist attractions, Half Moon Bay is truly an enchanting destination to visit during all times of the year!
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2. Exquisite seafood and local cuisine
Half Moon Bay’s oceanfront restaurants have mastered the art of Sea-to-Table dining. On a daily basis, fresh fish from Pillar Point Harbor make their way onto the most delectable seafood dishes. Sam’s Chowder House, a popular locale that blends with the coastal landscape, has some of the most delicious oysters, clams, and mussels found outside of New England.
This seaside restaurant also offers some enticing dessert dishes, such as Key Lime Pie, which has local celebrity status. It’s just as good, if not better, than the key lime pies you’ll find in the Florida Keys. The warm chocolate cake is also every chocolate connoisseur’s dream. Add to that stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, and you’ll never want to leave this a slice of a heaven.
Another trendy, waterfront restaurant is Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. Known for its house beers and local, pub-style grub, this restaurant offers the perfect California culinary experience with scenic views. Its most tasty dishes include the Fisherman’s Stew, Strip Steak, and fresh seasonal oysters.
The local restaurants strike an optimal balance between seafood delicacies and farm-fresh produce. Dining is certainly a central part of the HMB experience.
3. Beautiful accommodations
The Half Moon Bay experience wouldn’t be complete without staying at one of its extravagant hotels and vacation rentals. Many of the stays in town offer unparalleled views of the ocean and surrounding mountains. Two accommodations that stand out are the Beach House and Ritz-Carlton.
The Beach House at Half Moon Bay is a charming, seaside haven with luxurious suites and breathtaking balcony views.
With its delightful spa and beach, the Beach House is the perfect romantic getaway. For the avid hiker and nature enthusiast, the Beach House has convenient access to the Bay’s scenic coastal trails. It’s a much cheaper alternative to the Ritz-Carlton that straddles the coastline nearby.
Read next: Unique tips for traveling as a couple
Even more secluded, yet also extraordinarily beautiful, is the Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay.
Overlooking the rugged cliffs and surrounding mountains, the Ritz-Carlton is a premier hotel that exhibits superior elegance and ambiance. It majestically watches over the California coast, offering some of the best views in town. For those who are weary of the ritzy price tag, perhaps stop by for a picture or drink instead.
In addition to these hotels, I recommend staying at a vacation rental. Here are some top ones below:
Wherever you decide to stay in Half Moon Bay, be sure to choose a hotel room with a balcony overlooking the waterfront. Even on a foggy day, you will not regret it!
4. Extraordinary excursions
What makes Half Moon Bay particularly suitable for all kinds of travelers are its unique and exciting excursions. Whether its horseback riding on the beach, biking along the rugged coastal trails, kayaking and paddle boarding, surfing those maverick waves, or playing a round of golf…there is certainly something special for everyone to enjoy! For these reasons, I consider Half Moon Bay to be one of the best destinations for multigenerational outings and vacations.
Horseback riding along the beach is one of the top tourist attractions in Half Moon Bay. It’s truly a surreal experience that everyone should try at least once during their visit to Half Moon Bay. Seahorse Ranch offers an exceptional guided tour that seamlessly meshes coastal trails with impeccable views of the beach. The horses were well-behaved, and based on what I saw and heard, they are well-treated.
When visiting Half Moon Bay, one should also consider exploring the myriad of oceanside trails on a bike. Bike Works offers bike rentals within close proximity of the Bay’s most scenic hiking trails.
If you are contemplating a trip to Half Moon Bay during the winter months, be sure to check out the Maverick’s Challenge surf contest that occurs during January and February. It’s one of the top tourist attractions in Half Moon Bay due to its international acclaim. This past year, waves exceeding 60 feet were recorded here!
5. Be one of your first friends to visit Half Moon Bay!
Ready to start planning your Half Moon Bay vacation?
Unless you are native to California or a veteran traveler like Rick Steves, you probably haven’t visited Half Moon Bay. In the age of social media crazes and fads, popular destinations such as Iceland and Croatia are becoming over-saturated, which leads us to an important question: what will come next? Would you like to start a new trend and be an early adopter? By visiting this coastal escape, you will be doing just that; visiting a cool and exotic destination that will undoubtedly be every traveler’s top choice in the coming years. Half Moon Bay is far too accessible and beautiful to remain uncharted territory for much longer.
It is truly astonishing that HMB’s pristine beaches have remained a hidden gem for so long. Will Half Moon Bay be your next dream vacation?
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