Half Moon Bay State Beach

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About Half Moon Bay State Beach

Half Moon Bay State Beach is a pristine 4-mile stretch of protected sandy beaches. This is the location to witness the great Pacific Ocean’s power firsthand - the biggest wave in California, Mavericks, is a stones skip away. This setting is picturesque and offers a great variety of activities for ocean lovers. Whether you’re a surfer or picknicker, Half Moon Bay State Beach does not disappoint.

Campgrounds in Half Moon Bay

Francis Beach Campground
Kathy
Kathy: Great family tent camping: hike/bike campsites are off the parking loop, as are 36-37-38; sites...

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Half Moon Bay
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December 31st, 2015
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March 30th, 2015
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Hipcamper Kathy

Great family tent camping: hike/bike campsites are off the parking loop, as are 36-37-38; sites 13-14-15 are more isolated with trees + grassy field for tents; 17-19-22-24-26-28-30-32-34 are on the dune above the beach - nothing but sand btw you and the waves

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Hipcamper Travis

Great site. Literally on the beach. Hot coin operated showers. The one downside is all of the valley is there on the weekends. You might try weekdays its an entirely different experience. Try the three amigos restaurant on the way out A++!

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Hipcamper Hipcamper
Hipcamper

If you have a group, we suggest you get sites #36, 37, & 38, they are all together.

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Hipcamper Hipcamper
Hipcamper

Campsite #38 is ON the beach!

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Hipcamper Hipcamper
Hipcamper

This is a good spot for picnics/bbqs, just make sure you stop by one of the nearby markets to grab supplies.

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Hipcamper Julian

Great place to camp if you're going to be spending A LOT of time on the beach. Not so great for hanging out / doing any activities in the camp itself as it's essentially just a huge parking lot for RVs...

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Hipcamper Sully

Not a ton of privacy and you're unlikely to feel like you're out in the wilderness! But there are a few sites that face away from the road and towards the beach that can be nice.

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History of Half Moon Bay State Beach

By the time Europeans arrived here, this area had been occupied for thousands of years by as many as 50 separate and politically autono- mous native groups known as the Ohlone. Each group had its own leader, customs and territory, though some smaller groups were connected by shared boundaries, intertribal marriage and similarities of language.

Spanish, meaning coast people), the Ohlones’ ecologically rich territory extended from the marine environment of today’s San Francisco inland to the oak/grasslands of the western edge of the San Joaquin Valley and south to present-day Carmel. Today’s coast Highway One and Highway 92 over the mountains faithfully follow trails created by the Ohlone.

Housing was simple and food was plentiful. Alongside trout- and salmon-rich freshwaters, the Ohlone used willow branches as frames for their dome-shaped dwellings, thatching them with dried tule, cattails or light brush. The ocean provided an abundance of fish, shellfish and sea
mammals, and the inland areas were rich in acorns, berries, roots, barks and nuts. The people—skilled agriculturists—practiced cultivation, controlled burning, pruning and re- seeding in order to encour- age the growth of herbs, medicinal plants and desir- able food sources. These methods of land manage- ment also produced natural forage that would lure local game animals. The Ohlone hunted large (deer, bears, elk and sea mammals) and small (rab- bits, squirrels, skunks and various birds) game for food.

Some Ohlone artifacts found at the park have included tools of obsidian and other sharp stones, artfully woven baskets, jewelry, clothing and weaponry. What the native people could not make or gather they obtained in trade with other native groups.

In the mid-1700s, Spanish missionaries arrived and drew the native people into the mission system. The decline in the Ohlone way of life began with the loss of their lands and grew rapidly with the introduction of European diseases. By 1810 nearly 70 percent of the Ohlone had per- ished from disease or had fled to other areas. Former Ohlone lands—the nucleus of today’s San Mateo County—were granted to Spanish settlers in the 1840s.

The native people had managed the land productively without overexploiting it, but those who took it over changed its natural ecology. In spite of these challenges, today’s Ohlone descendents continue the use of native plants and are reviving their lan- guages and passing on their honored traditions.

When the gold rush brought immigrants from Mexico and Chile to the area, San Benito earned the nickname “Spanishtown.” Its remarkable diversity began during the late 1800s, when groups arrived from Canada, Italy, Germany, Ireland, China, England, Portugal, Scotland and the Pacific Islands. The first official mention of Half Moon Bay is on an 1854 Coast Survey sketch of Spanishtown.

Before Highway One was built, Prohibition (1920 to 1933) had caused a proliferation of speakeasies along the coast. This area’s hidden coves and thick fog made it perfect for the eagerly awaited ships of Canadian rumrunners to unload their illegal whiskey onto smaller boats headed north to San Francisco.