Things to Do in Half Moon Bay, California

Things to Do in Half Moon Bay, California
Picturesque Half Moon Bay (HMB), on the coast between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, offers a wide variety of things to do and see, from outdoor activities to shopping and fine dining.

Outdoor Activities and Sports

Golf, ocean kayaking, whale watching, cycling and horseback riding are some of the many ways to have fun outdoors year-round in HMB. Sport fishing for salmon, lingcod, rockfish and tuna is available seasonally depending on regulations and fish populations.

Galleries and Shops

Many shops and galleries in town feature the work of local artists and artisans, from painters to woodworkers. The Coastal Art League gallery features special exhibits several times each year. Small boutiques offer unique apparel, jewelry, and handcrafted items that make great gifts.

Farms, Festivals, and Nurseries

HMB is famous for its pumpkin farms, which display and sell pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors every fall. The annual Pumpkin Festival, held the weekend following Columbus Day, is a highlight. There are also flower nurseries and markets, Christmas tree farms, and a family farm where kids can enjoy pony rides, train rides and a petting zoo. Once a year (in mid-July), the popular Tour des Fleurs opens a large number of local farms, nurseries and wineries to the public. The farmers' market is held every Saturday from May to mid-December.

Local Interest

Points of educational and historical interest include the Fitzgerald marine reserve in nearby Moss Beach and Pigeon Point lighthouse, 20 miles south of HMB near the fishing town of Pescadero.


HMB has many beautiful beaches. Ano Nuevo State Reserve, 27 miles south of HMB, is home to northern elephant seals during the winter breeding season (December 15 to March 31). Daily docent-led tours of the reserve are quite popular and fill up early.

Food and Drink

Though small, HMB offers a number of restaurants, bakeries and cafes. Three nearby wineries offer tastings.


Coastal Repertory Theatre produces musicals, dramas and a community talent show each season. There's also a children's theater. Productions are popular and commonly sell out.


Tiny Pescadero, about 15 miles south of HMB, has unique shops, a bakery, goat dairy and country store. There are hiking trails, rural roads for great cycling, and a marsh for bird-watching. Butano State Park, about 5 miles east, is home to tall, ancient redwoods.

Article Written By Peggy Hansen

Peggy Hansen holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from UC San Diego, Doctor of Medicine from UCLA, and completed postgraduate training at Stanford, Duke and Harvard. An award-winning writer and photographer, her work has been featured in Catnip, Herbalgram, Porter Gulch Review, and many online pieces. She's also a commentator for KQED-FM

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