Half Moon Bay State Beach
Half Moon Bay, the oldest town in San Mateo County, lies along a gently curving, sandy shore that is protected as parkland. Stretching for nearly four miles north to south is Half Moon Bay State Beach, a wide expanse of beach and bluff that includes four beaches: Venice, Roosevelt, Dunes, and Francis, the most accessible and most developed....
Half Moon Bay, the oldest town in San Mateo County, lies along a gently curving, sandy shore that is protected as parkland. Stretching for nearly four miles north to south is Half Moon Bay State Beach, a wide expanse of beach and bluff that includes four beaches: Venice, Roosevelt, Dunes, and Francis, the most accessible and most developed. Amenities at Francis Beach include blufftop camping, blufftop picnic tables overlooking the beach, and a small visitor center with displays about local wildflowers, birds, and animals, as well as local history. Beach access for a beach wheelchair is at Roosevelt and Francis Beaches (at the northwest corner of each).
The paved Coastside Trail runs for nearly 3.5 miles behind the beaches, from Mirada Road, one mile south of Pillar Point Harbor
, to Poplar Street, .5 miles south of Francis Beach. Numerous benches along the trail offer unobstructed ocean views.
Trailhead: Accessible from any of the Half Moon Bay State Beaches and from Poplar Beach
Length: Over 4 total miles
Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
Typical Grade: Level
Terrain: HardThe bridges are quite bumpy
This heavily used multi-use trail runs along the eastern boundary of Half Moon Bay State Beach and provides good pedestrian access to all four beaches in the system, as well as the city-owned Poplar Beach, south of Francis Beach. The ocean is not always visible, but when it is you can see the crescent shape of the coastline...
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The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Available at the Francis Beach entry kiosk on a first-come, first-served basis. Chairs can be taken to the other beaches using your own vehicle.
Plentiful accessible parking in all beach lots: Francis Beach at the end of Kelly Ave., Venice Beach at the end of Venice Blvd., Dunes Beach at the end of Young Ave., and Roosevelt Beach, accessed beyond the entry kiosk at Dunes Beach. Parking is also available at municipal Poplar Beach.
At Venice, Roosevelt, Dunes, and Francis Beaches; a porta-potty is in the Poplar Beach parking lot. Along the trail, the restroom at the picnic area just past the second bridge was locked during my visit.
At Francis and Roosevelt Beaches, and along the Coastside Trail just north of Venice Beach
Other Things of Interest
Lodging in Half Moon Bay tends to be quite expensive, but 8 miles north of town is a great and less expensive option, the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel––ranked one of the top 10 customer-rated hostels in the world for 2010. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it is well-maintained, clean, and unbeatable in price for its stunning ocean views. Access is pretty good throughout despite the fact that it's an older facility.