Next time you fly into SFO (San Francisco International Airport) instead of heading north into the city, head south only 23 miles to the rugged coastal beauty of Half Moon Bay. The area is a great getaway from San Francisco or Los Angeles and is also a perfect place from which to explore the Northern and Central California coastline.
Getting there Closer to the airport than the city of San Francisco is, Half Moon Bay is about a 30 minute drive from SFO. It’s also an easy drive from Oakland or San Jose airports as well. It’s about a six-hour drive up the coast from Los Angeles.
What to do Blue Sky Ranch offers scenic (and gentle) trail rides on horseback that expose riders to the beautiful coastline, natural meadows and open space.
Filoli (86 Canada Road, Woodside, CA) is a vast country estate, built in the early 1900s for a wealthy San Francisco mine owner. The house, now a museum and nature center, is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and can be visited.
For wine lovers, the Santa Cruz Mountain area is home to more than 70 wineries.The local Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association has more information on visiting them.
Mount Hermon, in the local Santa Cruz Mountains has a coastal redwood forest. There are hiking trails and for a close-up and high-up tour, they offer a guided zip-line tour of the redwood canopy.
The area is known for great fruit and produce and there are many roadside stands. Pumpkins are a big crop here and there’s a big pumpkin festival each October. Half Moon Bay has a Historic Main Street district filled with quaint shops and places to eat and drink.
Where to stay The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay (1 Miramontes Point Road, Half Moon Bay, CA) is a luxury hotel on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There are a wide range of rooms and suites, some with ocean views, others with private firepits and terraces. There is a full-service spa and the usual RItz-Carlton amenities and personal service.
Where to eat For a good oceanfront seafood experience, most locals will recommend Sam’s Chowder House (4210 North Cabrillo Highway, Half Moon Bay, CA). They have a full seafood menu but serious lobster lovers can arrange a private lobster clambake, steamed in a large box, and served outside.
Follow senior travel expert Ted Sherman on Twitter – @travel4seniors and on his blog, travel4seniors.
More from this contributor:
Visiting Filming Locations of Favorite Old Movies
Enjoying the Historic Palace Hotel in San Francisco
Fun in St. Augustine, Florida