Monterey General Background

Monterey General Background

Half Moon Bay, CA is a coastal gem that seems to be untouched by time.  A walk through the center of town is like going back to yesteryear, but don’t let the vintage facade fool you, it’s home to many delightful restaurants and shops that can cater to just about any interest.

Although Half Moon Bay gets far fewer visitors than its touristy counterparts Santa Cruz and Monterey, its streets swell with people every October when the Art & Pumpkin Festival hits town.  If you plan to attend this highly publicized and populated event, you may want to make hotel reservations early.

|| Area Snapshot

Location – Located 30 miles south of San Francisco and 45 miles north of Santa Cruz.

Population – Around 13,050 residents

Established   –  The town has been thriving since the early 1900’s

Weather   –  Generally speaking, Half Moon Bay 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 overcast, rainy and cold.

Primary Industries   –  farming, ranching, fishing, and tourism.

|| Area Attractions:

Eco-friendly Activities  –  Surrounded by the natural beauty of the ocean and green spaces, Half Moon Bay is home to many eco-friendly activities that can cater to just about any outdoor enthusiast.

Fishing & Whale-Watching Tours  –  Charter a boat and enjoy a day of deep-sea fishing or a join in on a whale-watching excursion

Pillar Point Marsh  –  A great location for beach-combers and bird-watchers.

Half Moon Bay State Beach  Made up of several great beaches with long sandy shorelines that are perfect for swimming, surfing, surf fishing, beach-combing, etc.

Agriculture Tourism   Half Moon Bay is surrounded by area gardens, organic farms, demonstration farms, greenhouses and much more.

Half Moon Bay Coastside & Bluff Top Trails  The 3+ mile Bluff Top Trail offers sweeping ocean views for walkers, joggers, strollers and bike riders. It also has easy beach access for sunbathing, kite flying, and picnicking ..

Pillar Point Harbor  –  Full of outdoor activities including boating, kayaking, walking, biking, bird-watching, surf fishing, and much more.

|| Tourist Destinations

City Center   –   Downtown Half Moon Bay offers many unique boutiques, restaurants and book shops.

Harbor Village  –  Located in the Pillar Point Harbor, the recently complete Harbor Village is home to the area’s only indoor mall, Oceano Hotel & Spa, and several restaurants

Pasta Moon Restaurant  –  315 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA (650) 726-5126 Review: A nice cozy ambiance, great food and service make this a wonderful choice for a special occasion or romantic dinner. Prices range from moderate to expensive.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company  –   390 Capistrano Ave., Pillar Point Harbor, CA  (650) 728-2739

Cetrella Bistro & Café  –   845 Main St., Half Moon Bay, CA (650) 726-4090 Review ─ Great desserts, good food, and an inviting ambiance make this an excellent choice for a special occasion or romantic dinner. Please note, though, that the menu items can be a little unusual, so it’s not the best place for those that aren’t adventurous eaters and children. Also, during brunch, I found that their service can be a little below par, and their cocktails can be a little overpowering — especially their bloody Mary. Dinner and brunch prices are expensive.


||  Festivals/Annual Events:

Art & Pumpkin Festival   –  If you plan to attend this highly publicized and populated  event in October, you may want to make hotel reservations early!

Mavericks Annual Surf Contest   –  Just north of Half Moon Bay in Princeton, CA, the famous Mavericks can be found a ½ mile off of the Pillar Point Marsh shoreline.

During the winter months, the perfect set of environmental conditions can come together to create some of the biggest waves on the planet!  Although spectacular to look at, the waves at Mavericks should only be negotiated by professionals.  Less experienced surfers can find more appropriate waves along the local beach beaks.

December Harbor Lights Ceremony  –  Pillar Point Harbor Info.  (650) 726-5723

For more event listings, please click here >>


What’s on Tap


Monterey Festivals & Events:

Pacific Grove Butterfly Days – Oct. 6, 7 & 8 2017

Parade, bazaar, special events at the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary

Annual Monte Foundation Fireworks Extravaganza! – Oct. 8, 2017

Capitola Wharf, Capitola, CA

Monterey Pumpkin Patches—Oct. 2017

Whale Watching – Dec. through May


For more event information, click on our Festivals & Events page for Monterey.



Top Attractions:

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Aquarium is your window to marine life in the Monterey Bay!

Cannery Row

Historic Cannery Row is great destination for hotels, shopping, dining, and, oh, yes, the Aquarium!

Monterey Fishing

Fall is fishing and crabbing season!

Kayaking and SCUBA Diving

The rocky bottom around Monterey make it perfect for ocean adventures!

Whale Watching – Whale Watching December through May


Pebble Beach…need I say more.


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




Monterey’s Summer Advisories:

Traffic Conditions. Rush hour traffic can be extremely challenging – especially on Highway 1 between Seaside and Monterey. Also, 68 between Highway 1 and 101 can be extremely slow. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and arrive early and leave late. Go to 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.

Carmel Valley and Big Sur have major wildfires. Authorities expect them to burn through the end of August! Google for the latest news.