Half Moon Bay is just a few minutes outside of San Francisco, but it may as well be in a completely different state. It opens out into the Pacific Ocean and is flanked by the Santa Cruz Mountains, so you know it’s just a beautiful place to spend a day or two. But apart from its majestic beauty, the city is historic and filled with residents who are simply proud to call the city their home. Ask them where the best bike trail is or which fishing spot is particularly productive during your visit. Dare we say that a trip to San Francisco will be incomplete without a quick side trip to nearby Half Moon Bay, where you can experience a beautiful seaside break away from the hustle and bustle, commune with nature, and get friendly with the locals.
Drift mooching or trolling for Chinook Salmon is your entry point to fishing in Half Moon Bay. However, since we’re talking about a city that opens out into the Pacific Ocean, anglers can’t miss out on its other fishing opportunities. The city offers plenty of productive offshore fishing, pier fishing, jetty fishing, and surfcasting, particularly from spring to fall. If you can only fish one spot, head straight to Pillar Point, where you can both hop on a fishing charter to venture out into the sea or simply catch a few on the pier or the jetty. Top fish species to target include:
Chinook salmon: start catching them earlier in the summer when the weather is less harsh, but you will find bigger (but rarer) catch later in the season
Halibut: available all year round, but they bite more actively from June to October
Flounder: catch these bottom-feeders during the colder months
Striped bass: another year-round species that is more prevalent in the salt waters during spring and summer when the waters are warm
Lingcod: open season for this species, which you can catch along with Chinook Salmon offshore, is from March to December
Half Moon Bay is known for its massive surf over at Mavericks. For a more family-friendly surfing destination, you still have Surfer’s Beach. However, if you just want to see it from afar, consider going on Half Moon Bay’s many excellent bike trails on the California Coastal Trail which will afford you a view of the city and the ocean.
Put on a classic road trip playlist and enjoy a drive out into the famous Skyline Boulevard where you can enjoy the views of the redwood forests, farmlands and the ocean. If you need a break from driving, you can stop over at certain points peppering the highways, such as Highway 35’s Purisima Creek Redwoods Reserve and then Alice’s Restaurant at the Highway 84 intersection.