Half Moon Bay Activities

Mavericks: Everest of the Seas Art Exhibit

January 14 – February 29, 2012

Champagne & Wine Reception at the Coastal Arts League in Half Moon Bay: Saturday, January 21st, 5 – 8 pm

Coastal Arts League – 300 Main St., Half Moon Bay – 650-726-6335

Año Nuevo State Park

Through March 31, 2012, guided Elephant Seal walks at Año Nuevo State Park may be purchased through ReserveAmerica at http://anonuevo.reserveamerica.com or 1-800-444-4445. Please read the Año Nuevo Guided Walks brochure for more information before making reservations. The Reserve is home to a large colony of Northern Elephant Seals which come ashore to give birth and mate from mid-December through March. A guided Public Seal Walk lasts approximately 2.5 hours and operates daily for individuals, families or groups at $7.00 per person. Equal Access guided walks are available for visitors needing mobility assistance along a wooden boardwalk. Equal Access Walks are offered on Saturdays and Sundays from January–March; walk times are at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Reservations may be made by calling the Park at 650-879-2033 on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays between 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. otherwise nocturnal animals.


Harley Farms

2012 Farm Dinners

Harley Farms’ Dinners are always local, seasonal farm cooking served with aplomb. Tour the farm with hors d’oeuvre in hand, and join Dee Harley for an introduction to your menu and the history of her farmstead dairy. Then enjoy five courses of delectable farm cooking served at the grand table made from a fir tree saved from the winter floods, with folk art chairs, pottery and pewter handmade by local friends. Monthly dinners sell out very fast; click here to book yours. 205 North Street, Pescadero ~ 650-879-0480 ~ www.harleyfarms.com

Irene Harbor Tours

The fully-restored Irene offers four tours on Saturdays and Sundays, starting at 10:00 a.m. with the last tour around 4:00 p.m. Tours leave from the far end of D-Dock off Johnson Pier, Half Moon Bay. No reservation needed; purchase your tickets right on the boat with cash or credit card. Adults $17, children ages 6-13 $7, children five and under are free. The boat fits 18 passengers. 650-533-4385 ~ Irene Harbor Tours

Half Moon Bay Night of Lights

by Charise Hale McHugh

November 2011— Come walk amongst the promenade of trees all aglitter with beautiful lights on Main Street in downtown Half Moon Bay on Friday, Dec. 2, 2011. Night of Lights promises to be extra special this year because you can enjoy shopping in the stores, which will be open until 9 p.m., as well as watching the parade, listening to live entertainment, visiting the children’s area, and enjoying light shows.

Night of Lights will begin with a tree-lighting ceremony at Mac Dutra Park on the corner of Main Street and Kelly Avenue at 6 p.m, featuring a magnificent 12-foot Douglas fir donated by Santa’s Tree Farm & Village. After the tree lighting, the prince and princess of the parade will be crowned. The royal children are nominated by teachers and community leaders and chosen by a committee based on their acts of kindness throughout the year.

Hundreds of children twinkling in lights led by the Half Moon Bay High School Marching Band will march down Main Street in the Parade of Lights at 7 p.m. Floats and an old-fashioned fire truck will guide Santa to his special seat for photos and wish lists. Other events include roasted chestnuts on an open fire, strolling carolers, harpists and lots of old-fashioned charm. There will be music in several locations; performers include the Half Moon Bay Sit Down Band, Santa Claus, the Scottish Fiddlers at La Piazza, Pamela Bowen (harp) and Mary Corcoran (vocals) with traditional Christmas carols and Celtic songs at Barterra Winery, and the Sol Belly Dancers — with guest dancers, too.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside is sponsoring the children’s area with the assistance of local schools and non-profits. Get ready for some fun with the Boys & Girls Club selling holiday items, Coastside Children’s Programs offering crafts & candles, Sea Crest School selling popcorn, and Millie Golder and her Interact Club selling hot cocoa to warm your tummies!

And of course, the dependable American Legion will have a hot dog and Polish dog booth along with waters, coffee and soft drinks.

The shops and restaurants will be open late for browsers wishing to see and taste the unique holiday treasures Half Moon Bay has to offer.

Night of Lights is brought to you by the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce & Visitors’ Bureau and the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside. Many local businesses serve as sponsors for the event:

Winery tours

Passport to the Wineries
November 19, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Passport to the Wineries is back again, including over 50 Santa Cruz Mountain wineries. Enjoy the scenery filled with mountain top vistas, or catch a glimpse at llamas while passing along the winding drive through the Santa Cruz Mountains, where the trail is half the experience! Take advantage of the Passport Program, which offers a unique opportunity for guests to visit wineries not typically open to the public at other times. Guests will tour the facilities, meet the winemakers and sample their product, including special wines poured only for participants in the Passport Program. Passports never expire and are valid until all the wineries have been visited. $40 per person. For more information or to order a passport, call (831) 685-VINE (8463), visit the website at www.scmwa.com.

Pumpkin Festival

41st Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival
October 15 & 16, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The World Pumpkin Capital of Half Moon Bay celebrates its bountiful fall harvest with a fantastic lineup of  pumpkin patches, harvest-inspired crafts, home-style foods, expert pumpkin carvers, the Great Pumpkin Parade, a bone-chilling haunted house, a weigh-off of champion pumpkins, a pie-eating contest, pumpkin carving, costume contests, a pancake breakfast, a five & 10K run/walk and three stages of  entertainment. Admission is free. Main Street, (650) 726-9652, www.miramarevents.com.


Ecotourism in Half Moon Bay

Eco Exploration




Sunset on beach






Summer is an ideal time to explore Half Moon Bay’s abundance of natural, historical and cultural wonders including rich marine reserves and wetlands, small farms, a working harbor and many parks, hiking trails and bird refuges. Visitors can pick up a four-color, two-sided Ecotourism Map that features hands-on Half Moon Bay adventures at spots such as Harley Farms, La Nebbia Winery, Pillar Point Harbor, and Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. The list of unique activities to choose from is endless, from dinner on a working farm, touring a wholesale flower farm, catching fresh fish and picking farm-fresh organics and flowers and learning how to make goat cheese. For more information, contact the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Bureau (650) 726-8380 or visit www.hmbchamber.com. To order a map, visitors may call the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Bureau (650) 726-8380 or pick one up at 235 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA.

Activities in Half Moon Bay Whale Watching, Theater, Car Show

Whale Watching


The annual migration of the gray whale is currently underway, and Half Moon Bay is the perfect spot for witnessing the journey of these spectacular creatures. Beginning in early December through the end of March, approximately 15,000 gray whales swim south from the icy waters of the Arctic to mate and nurse their young in the warm, shallow lagoons along Magdalena Bay in Baja, California. The full round-trip migration from the Bering Sea to the Baja calving lagoons is approximately 10,000 miles, the longest known migration for any mammal. Gray whales move at a steady speed of about five miles per hour, and most can be spotted in an area that extends from the kelp beds (about 3/4 miles from the shoreline) out to the horizon. For those who like to plan ahead, March through early April is a great time to spot humpback whales as they begin moving closer to shore.

Several local companies offer whale watching excursions:

Coastal Repertory Theatre

Noises Off

Opening February 11

By Michael Frayn

Directed by Mark Drumm

February 11 – March 5, 2011

Michael Frayn’s frantically funny farce Noises Off, follows the on- and off-stage antics of an inept acting company as they stumble from dress rehearsal to disastrous final night of a third-rate bedroom comedy called Nothing On. Everything that can go wrong does, resulting in absolute hilarity. Considered by many to be the funniest play of the 20th Century, in this play-within-a-play, everyone gets caught in the act. Noises Off has had audiences laughing for over 25 years, including two Tony-nominated Broadway runs.

21st Annual Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show
May 1, 2011 at Half Moon Bay Airport

For a remarkable and singular experience, there’s nothing that matches up to the

Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show, Half Moon Bay’s massive celebration of mechanical ingenuity, power and style. It’s a whimsical, fascinating, amusing, curious and absolutely unique show and tell spectacle featuring 2,000 magnificent driving, flying and working machines from the 20th and 21st centuries. The world’s coolest cars of every era and style, model-T fire engines, vintage busses, custom motorcycles, tricked out trucks, sleek streamliners, one-of-a-kind antique engines and tractors and historic military aircraft will be among the mesmerizing displays. The spectacular 21st annual show takes place on Sunday, May 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Half Moon Bay Airport, located in the picturesque seaside town of Half Moon Bay about 20 miles south of San Francisco. The show benefits the Coastside Adult Day Health Center.

Beaches near our Inn

Half Moon Bay Beach

There are several beaches  in the Half Moon Bay coastside area including:

Francis State Beach at the end of Kelly Avenue. This beach also has picnic and camping areas. Venice Beach at the end of Venice Boulevard, Dunes Beach at the end of Young Avenue, Roosevelt Beach has access from Young Avenue, Poplar Beach, Miramar Beach has access at the end of Magellan Avenue, Surfer’s Beach, Bean Hollow State Beach south of Half Moon Bay, Pescadero State Beach, San Gregorio State Beach, Redondo Beach, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve with tide pools in Moss Beach and Montara State Beach.

Kayaking in Half Moon Bay

Sea kayaking

Sea kayaking is very popular in Half Moon Bay. There’s no better place to experience it first hand than along the gorgeous Half Moon Bay coastline. In this dynamic and diverse environment, explorers can choose from many kayaking adventures including paddling among the harbor seals, seabirds and other marine sanctuary wildlife in protected Pillar Point Harbor or along the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve with kelp beds and secluded beaches. Two companies offer tours and rentals: (more…)

Current events for June/July 2010

The Coastside Farmer’s Market is in full swing with approximately 30 booths overflowing with an abundance of locally grown vegetables, fruits, flowers, gourmet cheese, herbs and farm fresh eggs available for purchase. Local artisans, dancers, and musicians appear at the market each week, as well as a number of community groups. The market is held outdoors annually from May 1 through December on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Shoreline Station parking lot (Kelly Avenue & Cabrillo Hwy/Hwy 1). For more information visit www.coastsidefarmersmarket.org.

Wine Exploration

The Santa Cruz Mountains has been recognized as a wine producing region since the late 1800s when local winegrowers began to win in national and international competitions. Now home to more than 70 wineries, this wine region has two  summer events coming up, offering an opportunity to taste and explore the wines of the area.

• During the first two weekends in June (June 5 & 6 and June 12 & 13), wine lovers will have the opportunity to taste and purchase many of the region’s wines at the Vintner’s Festival. This event features more than 50 wineries from both sides of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Many new releases will be poured, as well as barrel tastings, regional delicacies, live music, local chef demos, art displays and much more. Held each day from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance / $35 at the door (includes a commemorative glass for tastings). For more information and to purchase tickets, call the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association at (831) 685-8463 or visit www.scmwa.com.

• July 17th is Passport Day! This quarterly event features special wine and barrel tastings at numerous wineries, some of which aren’t open to the public except on Passport Days. Participating restaurants also offer specials such as waived corkage on Santa Cruz Mountains Wines, 10% off on dinner and more. At each winery visited, a page of the Passport will be given a unique commemorative stamp. During Passport Day guests will also enjoy discounts at local participating restaurants. Passports are $40 per person and can be purchased at any of the participating wineries on the day of the event or in advance by calling (831) 685-8463.

Hiking Trails Near Our Inn

Hiking on trail

Burleigh-Murray Ranch State Park

“Rolling grassland, eucalyptus grove windbreaks, an old barn and a bunkhouse—this is ranch country, not the redwood country more typically associated with the Santa Cruz Mountains. For the hiker, Burleigh-Murray State Park offers a distinct change of pace from the trail systems of other nearby parks, most of which travel to, or within, stands of first- and second-generation redwoods.”


McNee Ranch State Park

“McNee Ranch State Park is a beautiful, scenic, and surprising park. Comprised almost entirely of wide, multi-use fire roads, McNee Ranch lacks the facilities we expect from most state parks. No visitor center, signposts, or restrooms (although there is one portable toilet). It’s even tough to park here! Instead of these niceties you will find steep, tough fire roads winding through a spectacular assortment of bay area plants, leading to a nearly 1900 foot peak with wonderful views.”


Coastside Trail

“Three miles of shoreline and four beaches—Roosevelt, Dunes, Venice and Francis—comprise Half Moon Bay State Park. Extending north of the park is more accessible—and walkable—shoreline.
Coastside Trail, extending along the park’s eastern boundary, is a multiuse pathway open to cyclists and walkers. Depending on the tide, you can return via the beach. Coastside Trail is a better bike ride than walk; its function is to link the various state beaches and it does that quite well but it isn’t all that interesting of a saunter. It does, however, bring some marvelous beaches within reach, and for that reason is worth the walk.”


Purisima Creek Trails

“The centerpiece of this 3,360-acre preserve is Purisima Creek Canyon, with its towering redwoods, rushing creek, and understory of ferns, berries, and wildflowers. Coastal scrub and hardwood forests of tanoak, madrone, and Douglas fir border the cool moist canyon. Magnificent views of the coast and Half Moon Bay are visible from the northern part of the preserve. Twenty-one miles of developed trails and historical logging roads provide opportunities for easy walks or long, strenuous hikes or rides. Remember to carry water on your hike, since the trails out of the canyon climb up to 1,600 feet and can be quite strenuous! The specially surfaced Redwood Trail, which is suitable for visitors of all physical abilities, winds through tall redwoods just off Skyline Boulevard. Visitors will find wheelchair-accessible picnic tables and a restroom along this flat easy route. The Redwood Trail was built through a grant from Peninsula Open Space Trust.”


Quarry Park

“Quarry Park is a 40 acre community park in beautiful El Granada.  The park features a large family picnic meadow with tables and barbecue pits, next to a play area for toddlers (the “Tot Lot”). The Treehouse, built in 2008, functions as a play structure, conversation area, or stage. Beyond the Meadow, a dirt road leads to the quarry floor and up to a view site overlooking Princeton Harbor. A network of trails winds through Quarry Park and the adjoining Wicklow open space area. Quarry Park is open from sunrise to sunset.  There is no charge for parking or for park entrance. Park maintenance activities are performed by volunteers and by the County. Special projects at the Park are supported by private donations and by grants from organizations such as the Half Moon Bay Lions Club.”