We love to visit Half Moon Bay when it heats up in the South Bay. You can’t beat the cool ocean breeze and the coastline is just gorgeous. The fresh seafood is also a big plus. With many classic seafood and chowder stops that draw a big crowd, this time we tried out some new spots (for us) that we are excited to share with you. We also crossed a big one off of our bucket list…a stay at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay! Below is an overview of our weekend getaway. Feel free to share your own favorite Half Moon Bay spots in the comments below.
The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay
You can’t get much more luxurious than a stay at The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. The views from here are unmatched! With beautiful sunsets, a rugged coastline, sweeping green golf courses, and a cool coastal breeze, you’ll definitely feel like you are getting away from it all. The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay has many room and suite options, but to make the most of your stay try to get an ocean front room. We called the Ocean Front Terrace Fire Pit Room home for the weekend. This room was not located in the main building, but off to the side, so it was much more quiet and peaceful. We got our own outdoor fire pit to enjoy, along with a million dollar view!
The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay has enough to keep you busy all day. Spend the afternoon golfing, swimming, biking, hiking, or just lounging on their back patio with a glass of wine, or hit up their hot chocolate bar. They also have great dining options, so you never have to leave!
Navio at Ritz Carlton
Reserve a window table at Navio and you are in for a treat. Navio specializes in seafood dishes that are both artfully designed and delicious. Some of the platings were so pretty that we didn’t want to eat them, but of course we still did…and loved it! Favorite dishes of ours were the NAVIO Seafood Platter, Black Cod, Diver Scallops, and Dover Sole. If you love seafood, you can’t go wrong here. This is the perfect restaurant to celebrate a special occasion and pop a bottle to go along with those raw oysters!
The Conservatory at Ritz Carlton
The Conservatory at the Ritz is a more casual dining option. It is still a great place to sit back and enjoy some wonderfully crafted drinks, food, and picturesque views. The Conservatory menu differs from Navio and they also have a separate bar area if you are just stopping by for drinks. The room has large windows, comfy couches, different plants, and a living wall- giving the whole place a fresh and welcoming feel. We enjoyed a full dinner complete with cocktails, steak, pasta, and dessert. It was a perfect meal after a long day!
Elegant Cheese Cakes
Who knew there was a cheesecake bakery in the middle of Half Moon Bay? Elegant Cheese Cakes makes more than cheesecake, they specialize in unique “over the top” cake masterpieces for any occasion. Customers can customize the taste and look of any cake they can dream up. Their works of art have been featured on television programs as Good Morning America, the Food Network, Oprah’s Wedding Day Show, and Evening Magazine. Seeing some of their cakes really makes your imagination run wild! See some of the cakes they’ve made below or contact them HERE to place your own order.
The Barn is an adorable burger stop right on the Cabrillo Highway. On a nice day grab an outdoor seat and try out some tasty farm to barn cuisine! Our favorite dishes were the Barn Burger, the Pork Witch, and mac and cheese lovers will have to try out the Mac Attack (fried macaroni and cheese). They source the best local meats and veggies for their dishes and the quality shows. This is a great casual dog and family friendly local restaurant.
The Wine Room
This newly opened Wine Room is a terrific stop along the highway. The owners are very knowledgeable and offer great tasting options. Stop in and spend some time sipping, or grab a bottle to go and enjoy it by the ocean.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
Beer lovers have to make a stop at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. Seats on the outdoor patio are first come first served, or you can call ahead and reserve a seat indoors. If you are a first timer, try out their beer tasting flight to get a sample of everything before deciding on a pint.
The beer here tastes even better when accompanied by some great food! The Seafood Duo (cevice and tuna poke), fried calamari, and Fisherman’s Stew were our favorites along with a glass of their seasonal Blackberry Belgian Blonde. Where else can you find purple beer?!
In addition to the brewery and restaurant, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company also offers cooking classes, beer making classes, an Inn, and more! They have spaces to host private parties and weddings, or rent their Traveling Tap Room for your next event.
Half Moon Bay Taffy
Who doesn’t love Taffy? After checking out the Half Moon Bay Harbor, head inside the Harbor Village Shopping Center. Half Moon Bay Taffy carries the coastside’s largest selection of Taffy with flavors like: Blue Cotton Candy, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Roll, and Buttered Popcorn. There are so many flavors to choose from, it may take some time to make important decisions! If you can’t make it in store, they also have an online store on their website: www.halfmoonbaytaffy.com
If you venture into downtown Half Moon Bay, you’ll find Garden Apothecary. This darling shop creates amazing botanical remedies and beauty products. Everything is all-natural so you don’t have to worry about any unknown chemicals tainting your body. They also carry quality gardening products and household items. You’ll be sure to find some unique local treasures to take home with you if you stop in. We loved the face masks and locally harvested teas.
World’s Rarest Plants
We’ve never been to a plant store quite like this before. Located off Highway 92, you can’t miss the giant sign that reads “Carnivorous Plants”. The World’s Rarest Plants building is filled with all sorts of interesting things like: Fairy Gardens, Fly Traps, and Pitcher Plants. They specialize in “insect eating” plants which are a great “green” answer to any insect problems you may have at home. Head in to learn more about these unique plants and take a look at their awesome Fairy Gardens or learn how to start your own!
Pillar Point Harbor
Pillar Point Harbor is a great place to wander around and check out the docked ships. Sometimes you can even purchase fresh fish from right off the boats once they have just returned from the open sea. You’ll get great prices and the freshness can’t be beat. There are also many small shops and restaurants lining the harbor, so grab a cup of clam chowder or some fried calamari. Pro tip: if you want fresh fish, go in the late morning when the fishermen are just coming back in with their catch. Too early and they won’t be back yet, too late, the fish will be gone!
Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is a great place to explore with the family. There are tide pools, beaches, and beautiful trails along the coast and through a cypress forest. Make sure to check the tide schedule since the tide pools can only be seen when the tide is low. If you have children, there are many educational and summer camp programs available through the Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. Parking here is free and there are bathrooms. Some of the trails are dog friendly, so bring the furry one along for the fun!
Half Moon Bay Coastside Trail
This trail runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean and is a great way to see some amazing views. It is also bike and dog friendly, so take the whole family out to get some exercise! We started on the trail behind The Ritz and meandered along the coastline.
We frequent Half Moon Bay but there’s still so much more to see. Love having access to our beautiful California Coast so easily. Nothing like hearing the waves crashing and feeling the salty air on your face!
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Great post! We are planning on spending a weekend in Half Moon Bay soon and will be using this guide. Thanks for sharing!