Half Moon Bay Day Trip from San Francisco

If you are staying in San Francisco and would like a chance to see gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and California Coast, please consider a day trip to Half Moon Bay. Half Moon Bay is a picturesque area with stunning coastal views, majestic redwood forests, and a charming town. Best of all, it’s less than an hour from San Francisco so you can easily make the trip in a day!

How To Get There
To get to Half Moon Bay and really explore the area you will need a car. We rented a car for the day from one of the multiple car rental agencies across the street from Hilton San Francisco Union Square where we stayed. Half Moon Bay is only 25 miles from the city, and you can take a leisurely drive on Route 1 which offers amazing views of the ocean.

What to Do

Town of Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay is a quaint town with a variety of historic buildings and local stores and restaurants. Be sure to spend some time walking down the historic main street and exploring the locally-owned stores and art galleries.  It’s a perfect town for a stroll, a little shopping, and stopping for lunch or dinner.

Half Moon Bay Area Drive
To get a true overview of the region, I recommend driving through the area including the town of Half Moon Bay, the coast, and through the nearby redwood forest. The scenery is varied and interesting and you can get out and explore the areas that appeal to you the most.

Check out the redwood forest on your day trip to Half Moon Bay.
Driving around the area gave us a chance to see redwood trees and gorgeous views like this.

For surfing fans or anyone who has seen the movie Chasing Mavericks, it’s fun to check out this world-famous surfing spot located about 2 miles off the coast near Pillar Point Harbor. The breaks here can be as high as 50 feet and it is only for the most experienced surfers. Even if you are not a surfer or the waves aren’t good, this is a great spot for a family hike that even younger children will enjoy. From the edge of the harbor to the beach area and back is a 1.2 mile flat trail that most ages can handle.

This is a great view of Mavericks which we visited on a day trip to Half Moon Bay
Mavericks is a well-known surfing spot in Half Moon Bay outside of San Francisco.

Where to Eat
During our trip we ate at Pasta Moon in the town of Half Moon Bay. The italian food was fresh and the restaurant was upscale but also relaxed enough for well-behaved children. We had thin crust pizza and other hand made italian specialities. For a more casual local experience we also considered Sam’s Chowder House close to Pillar Point Harbor. This is a well known local spot and I would suggest making reservations.

Half Moon Bay offers stunning ocean views and a quaint small town only one hour from San Francisco and makes a great day trip for families.

Know Before You Go

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Susan K. Are you interested in traveling to San Francisco? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

More posts from Susan K.