Half Moon Bay Travel Guide


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Coastside Trail

Half Moon Bay
Coastside Trail &
Bluff Top Trail

Half Moon Bay State Beach

95 Kelly Avenue, Half Moon Bay, CA  (650) 726-8819

The Half Moon Bay Coastside Trail stretches from Half Moon Bay State Park to Miramar/Surfer's Beach — totaling nearly 3 miles.  With its well paved path, the bluff top trail is a great multiuse course for walkers, joggers, strollers and bike riders that offers sweeping ocean and beach views. 

All along the trail is easy beach access for sunbathing, kite flying, and picnicking. Francis and Dune beaches have flush toilets, Venice and Roosevelt have vault type.

A horse trail parallels the Coastside Trail from Roosevelt Beach to Francis Beach and connects with the Bluff Top Trail that parallels Poplar Beach. The State Parks restrict horses to the designated horse trail. They are not permitted on state beaches.  Horses are allowed on the Poplar Beach.

Bird Watching at Poplar Beach The Half Moon Bay Bluff Top Trail runs between Poplar Beach and Francis State Beach — totaling about .75 mile.

The green space along the trail is ideal for bird watching.  Large hawks often sit on the split rail fence and park benches — sometimes allowing visitors to come within 6 feet of them.

The parking lot at Poplar Beach has portable toilets. 

Coastside and Bluff Top Trail Mileage

According to my GPS, I have measured the following approximate distances on the two trails:

1) Bluff Top Trail — from Poplar Beach's Bluff Top trailhead to Francis State Beach's Coastside  trailhead is .75 mile

2) Coastside Trail — from the Francis State Beach's Coastside  trailhead to the Venice State Beach Ranger Station is 1.04 miles

3)  CoastsideTrail — from the Venice State Beach Ranger Station to the Dune/Roosevelt State Beach Ranger Station is .65 mile (Note: from the ranger station to the north end of the Roosevelt parking lot is another .3 of a mile.)

4) Coastside Trail — from the Dune & Roosevelt State Beach Ranger Station to Miramar Beach is 1.00 mile

5) Coastside Trail — from Miramar Beach to Surfer's Beach (just south of the harbor) is .5 mile

6) Coastside Trail — from Surfer's Beach to north of Half Moon Bay harbor is TBD

Please note that these are approximate distances and may not be completely accurate.

What's on Tap
this Fall


Half Moon Bay Fall Festivals & Events:

Half Moon Bay Christmas Tree Farm Locations – Late Nov & Dec.  Multiple locations for choose and cut Christmas trees are listed.

Christmas and Winter Holiday Inspired Events and Activities.  Explore a list of holiday inspired events in and around Half Moon Bay 

Whale Watching – Dec. through May. Half Moon Bay (415) 474-3385.

Elephant Seal Watching – December is breeding season. Año Nuevo State Reserve has a large colony of northern elephant seals that assemble there each winter.


For more event information, click on our Festivals & Events page for Half Moon Bay.


Top Fall Attractions in Half Moon Bay:

Fall is a Great Time to Visit the Coast!

Early Fall is generally some of the best weather on the coast. Plan a visit with your family or an escape for a romantic weekend.

Half Moon Bay Fishing 

Fishing is a big draw. Check out our fishing page for more info.

Open Spaces

Open space, and beaches are Half Moon Bay's true claim to fame. 

Whale Watching – Whale Watching December through May

Half Moon Bay 415 474-3385


For more information on local attractions, click on the Half Moon Bay Attractions or Recreational Activities.



The Region's Fall Advisories:

Traffic Conditions. During the pumpkin season, traffic in to and out of Half Moon Bay can be extremely challenging – especially during the Art & Pumpkin Festival weekend. It's a good idea to plan ahead and arrive early and leave late. Go to www.caltrans.com to learn about road conditions. 

Yes, it's still water, water, water! California is undergoing an extreme drought. If you are planning a lake vacation be sure to check about water levels. That rafting trip, fishing, or skiing can be impacted.

EXTREME fire danger. The drought has created a very dangerous combination of dry vegetation and no moisture in the air to help contain any fire. Please use extreme caution during your trip.