{short description of image} 1st Traveler's Choice

Half Moon Bay,


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Half Moon Bay


Año Nuevo

Purisima Creek Redwoods

Sam McDonald



Half Moon Bay State Beach
Offers day-use parking lots and restroom facilities at Francis, Venice, Dunes, Roosevelt, and Cowell Beaches. Fees are collected for each vehicle at all beach parking lots. Popular activities along these 3 miles of state beach include fishing, sunbathing, kite flying, surfing, and walking. The Coastside Trail runs along the eastern boundary of the four beaches, providing close to a 3-mile stretch to walk, jog, or ride bikes. A horse trail parallels the Coastside Trail from Dunes Beach to Francis Beach.
Montara State Beach
A wide, clean, sandy beach from which one may spot harbor seals or gray whales during migration. Good surf casting.
Año Nuevo State Reserve
Only visible mainland breeding grounds for elephant seals. Reservations necessary Dec. through March (800) 444-4445; walk in remainder of year, which also offers wildflower and shorebird observation. Popular surfing spot.
James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
This rocky seashore hosts a living community of marine life that is of great interest to visitor and naturalist alike. A variety of seaweed, crabs, sponges, sea anemones, molluscs, starfish, and fish make their homes in the intertidal, that area between low and high tide. Excellent tidepooling, reefs exposed at low tides, earthquake fault visible, and birding. Open sunrise to sunset. Docent walks on weekends; call (650) 728-3588 for schedule.
Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve
Restored wetlands are home to nesting great blue herons and great white egrets. Excellent birding throughout the year, especially during fall-winter migration.
Pillar Point Marsh and Shoreline & Mavericks Wave
Although tiny, Pillar Point Marsh is a paradise for lucky bird watchers. Follow the trail around the point to the breakwater and tidepools. California sea lions bask on the jagged rocks. Surfers catch the famous Mavericks Wave just west of the point.
Cowell Ranch State Beach
A pocket beach brings to mind secluded privacy, which you will discover at this beach. Over 100 steps lead from the trail's end to a delightful 1/4 mile long sandy cove, walled by precipitous sandstone ridges.
Also: Gray Whale Cove, Pescadero State Beach, Pescadero Park State Reserve, Bean Hollow State Beach, San Gregorio State Beach, Gazos Creek Coastal Access, Pomponio State Beach, and Midcoast County Beaches.

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