Half Moon Bay Travel Guide


Montara Travel Information

Montara Travel Information

Visitors to Montara can experience beautiful, sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean such as those found at Point Montara Lighthouse (shown above). The more active visitor can find many outdoor adventures at Montara State Beach and Montara Mountain.

Although hazardous for swimming, the mile long Montara State Beach is a popular destination for its tide pools and surf fishing.  And for the experienced surfer, waves can reach 10 to 15 feet during winter storms.

Montara Mountain McNee Ranch – The 625-acre State Park has panoramic views of the Pacific Coast, San Francisco Bay, and the rugged coastal hills. It features great hiking, nature walks, and one of the few remaining undisturbed Coastal Mountain Habitats.

Area Snapshot

||   Location – Located 8 miles north of Half Moon Bay and 50 miles north of Santa Cruz.

||   Population – Around 2,950 residents

||   First Settled – Late 19th Century

||  Weather   –  Generally speaking, Montara has the warmest daytime temperatures during the spring and fall months.   During the summer months, the days can be overcast, foggy, and very chilly  –  especially in June and July .  Winter months are often rainy and cold.

||  Primary Industries –  farming and some tourism.

||  Area Attractions:

Point Montara Lighthouse  –  The original fog signal station was established in 1875.  The current cast-iron lighthouse that now occupies the site was brought  in 1925 from Wellfleet Harbor, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  The historic lighthouse and turn-of-the-century buildings have been preserved and restored by Hostelling International, and California State Parks, in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve  –  North Boundary.  The Reserve is set aside to protect this complex but fragile community for us and future generations. Within the reserve, most marine life is protected. The Reserve is popular with school and community groups for its educational value.

Montara Mountain – McNee Ranch State Park

Hwy 1, across from Montara State Beach.

Located on the west face of Montara Mountain, the McNee Ranch is a 625-acre State Park with sweeping vistas of the Pacific Coast, San Francisco Bay, and the rugged coastal hills. Montara State Beach and Gray Whale Cove beach are within walking distance of the State Park   More >> 

Montara State Beach  –  Half Moon Bay State Beach Headquarters — 650-726-8819

 This beach is a popular location for visitors who want to explore the beach tide pools or go surf fishing. The beach is bordered by low hills both to the north and south. Restaurants and grocery stores are nearby.  More >> 

|| Tourist Destinations:

Point Montara Lighthouse hostel offers overnight accommodations.

Gherkin's Sandwich Shop  –  171 7th Street Montara, CA  (650) 728-7966.  Serves burgers and seafood. 

Cafe Lucca  –  8455 Cabrillo Hwy Montara, CA  (650) 728 5229

||  Festivals/Annual Events:

Point Montara Lighthouse Haunted Halloween Festival – Now in its nineth year, this community festival has plenty of activities for children and adults a like. 

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.