Half Moon Bay Travel Guide


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Half Moon Bay Top Family Activities

From exploring local tide pools, to horseback riding, to building sandcastles on the local beaches, Half Moon Bay has many family-friendly activities that can cater to just about any age. 

To review our top picks for family activities, please scroll down the page or click on year round or seasonal activities.

Half Moon Bay beaches is our #1 pick#1 Half Moon Bay Beaches

Picnicking, swimming, building sandcastles, and kite flying are just a few of the activities that the whole family can participate in at any of the Half Moon Bay beaches.  Please note that along Half Moon Bay's coastline the waves tend to break close to the beach, so the surf can get pretty rough – especially for young children.  For milder surf and sand, you my want to try a beach between Miramar and Half Moon Bay Harbor. They tend to be the least hazardous with a gradual incline into the water and usually smaller waves.  Although they tend to be the most gental, always use extreme caution because all of the California beaches can have sleeper wavesrip currents, and BIG waves.

The Coastside Trail is our #2 pick.#2 The Coastside Trail 

The Coastside Trail offers over 3 miles of paved trail that is perfect for walking, strolling, biking and skating.  You can also just sit, relax and and take in the sweeping ocean views from the bluff top benches.

Exploring Tide Pools is our #3 pick#3 Exploring Tide Pools

The tide pools at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is a fascinating activity for all ages.  As the name applies, the tide plays a crucial role in this activity so, for best exploration, be sure to visit the reserve during LOW tide.

Bird watching is our #4 pick#4 Bird Watching

You may think of bird watching as an adult only activity, but my 16 month old toddler loves watching the birds. Half Moon Bay offers a number of great locations to spy on our feathered friends!

Petting pen at Lemos Family Farm is our #5 pick.#5 Lemos Family Farm

Although the farm can be a little over done with seasonal decorations and a carnival like atmosphere, kids seem to just love it. 

Hidden Villa#6 Hidden Villa 

Located in the Los Altos Hills, it's worth the drive to visit this real working farm.  Its mission is to educate, and that it does with its organic gardens and animals.  Children love to get up close and personal with chickens, cows, pigs and much more…  

Horseback riding#7 Horseback riding 

Although this activity isn't a good choice for younger children or those that are intimidated by extremely large animals, I have observed a number of families having a wonderful time.  Rental horses with guides are available just north of Half Moon Bay around Roosevelt Beach.



Family Favorite Seasonal Activities

Half Moon Bay Pumpkin PatchesHalf Moon Bay Pumpkin Patches

Half Moon Bay is world famous for its pumpkins and a great Fall activity is to take the whole family out to a Half Moon Bay pumpkin patch and select the perfect pumpkin.  Most of the larger farms/patches have activities that range from hay mazes to petting pens to pony rides and haunted houses.

Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival 

The Pumpkin Festival has plenty of activities designed specifically for younger attendees.  From face painting to pie eating and pumpkin carving contests, there is something for just about everyone!

Christmas Tree Cutting

Christmas Tree Cutting

During the Holidays, you can create a cherished family memory by cutting your own tree at one of the Christmas tree farms located in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Berry PickingBerry Picking

During the Spring and Summer, many local farms between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay open their fields to the public for berry picking.  This can be fun, educational, and yummy activity for the whole family!


What’s on Tap


Half Moon Bay Fall Festivals & Events:

The Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off—Oct. 8, 2018  7am to 11am

The gathering of titanic pumpkins try to capture the coveted title and share of $30,000 in prize money.

Welcome Back Monarchs Day – Sunday Oct. 14, 2018 from 11am to 4pm.

Natural Bridges SB in Santa Cruz welcomes the monarchs back.

Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival—Oct. 13–14, 2018   9am to 5pm

Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA

Half Moon Bay heralds in All Hallows Eve with rustic pumpkin patches, harvest-inspired arts and crafts, entertainment, contests, and activities. Admission is free.

Pumpkin Patches Along the California Coast  – Sept. and Oct. 2018

Half Moon Bay, CA – The coast transforms into a spooky, magical land of orange gourds. Create some great family memories by visiting a local pumpkin farm…

MORE Half Moon Bay Halloween Celebrations  – October 2018

Half Moon Bay heralds in All Hallows Eve with Halloween inspired festivals and events….


For more event information, click on our Festivals & Events page for Half Moon Bay.



Top Fall Attractions:

Pumpkin Patches Along the California Coast  – October

The coast transforms to a spooky, magical land of orange gourds. Create some great family memories by visiting a local pumpkin farm…

Fall is a Great Time to Visit the Coast!

Monterey, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay and Mendocino – Early Fall is generally some of the best weather on the coast. Plan a visit with your family or an escape for a romantic weekend.

Whale Watching – Whale Watching December through May

Half Moon Bay 415 474-3385

Oceanic Society provides boat tours to view the gray whales as they swim north along the California coast on their way to summer feeding grounds.


For more information on local attractions, click on the Half Moon Bay Attractions or Recreational Activities.




The Region’s Fall Advisories:

Traffic Conditions. During the pumpkin season, traffic in to and out of Half Moon Bay can be extremely challenging – especially during the Art & Pumpkin Festival weekend. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and arrive early and leave late. Go to www.caltrans.com to learn about road conditions.

Yes, it’s still water, water, water! California is undergoing an extreme drought. If you are planning a lake vacation be sure to check about water levels. That rafting trip, fishing, or skiing can be impacted.

EXTREME fire danger. The drought has created a very dangerous combination of dry vegetation and no moisture in the air to help contain any fire. Please use extreme caution during your trip.