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Half Moon Bay, California, United States

Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail

Experience scenic views of the Pacific coast by bike or foot

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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 11.5 miles / 18.5 km
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
Overview: Enjoy a walk or ride on a 6-mile paved trail from Pillar Point Harbor to Poplar Avenue in Half Moon Bay. All along the trail, paths lead to some of the best sandy State Beaches. Go as far as you'd like along the trail, and stop along the way when you feel like it. This area is great for running, walking, biking, beach lounging, horseback riding, camping, fishing, shopping, restaurants and more. For a true escape, stay in nearby bed & breakfasts that are right near the trail.


The trail is free to use, but it can get crowded at times. Best times to visit are spring, fall and winter, as it's less crowded, and you're more likely to get sunny days. In summer, try visiting on a less-crowded weekday afternoon, as the fog often burns off by then. Be sure to wear sunscreen (even if it's foggy) and layered clothing, as the temperature can change often with fog and wind. Bring binoculars and your camera, and plan to stop for lunch at one of the restaurants along the way.  Note that the route shown continues further north than the trail does, which is optional, and includes a few additional points of interest.

Points of Interest


Half Moon Bay Harbor

You can start out in the harbor, where it's easy to park.  You can also stroll around here and see a wide variety of boats. Depending upon the season, you can usually buy fresh fish or crab (Nov-March) that was caught that morning right from the fishing boats in the harbor. You can also rent a kayak from here and explore the bay more closely.  When you're done on the trail, you can grab lunch nearby or browse around the nearby shops.

The Coastal Trail

This point is where the trail officially starts and ends at the north, but you can continue further north to and from the harbor on the sidewalk. 

Sweetwater Campsite

A great campsite that is walking distance to the beach.  A great place to spend the night with friends - but be sure you make your reservations far in advance.  If you're just passing by on the trail, note that there are porta-potties here for public use.

Dunes Beach

A beautiful beach with public bathroom facilities that are easily accessible from the coastal trail.  Parking is available here for a fee.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

A great place for casual meals that's popular with locals and tourists. Eat and drink inside or outside on the patio by the firepits whether it's sunny or foggy. Enjoy live music and dancing on the weekends.

Half Moon Bay Airport

On a clear day, watch small planes take off and land here.  Sometimes you'll even see brave pilots praciticing tricks in the air.  In late April, come here to see the Dream Machines show, which includes classic cars, old planes and more.

Moss Beach Park

A free community-built park that kids of all ages will enjoy.  Includes sandboxes, swings, slides and much more.  If you've driven here from a distance, take kids here before you drive home and you'll be sure to have a quiet ride.
Pictures in this guide taken by: hippster, katehandel

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About the Author

1 guide
view katehandel's profile
I love running on trails near my house, but have been recently recovering from a knee injury. Hopefully...

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