With grand-scale splendor and small-town charm, the Half Moon Bay Coastside is a beloved destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Yet, it’s not just visitors flocking to its shores.

As jobs—and housing prices—heat up in nearby San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the Coastside is becoming an attractive residential option for those seeking a richer quality of life. With convenient access to neighboring tech and financial hubs, the peaceful coastal community offers a compelling alternative to the bustle and expense of nearby cities.

Who’s Moving to the Coastside?

The Coastside attracts those seeking a relaxed coastal experience including professionals from across the Bay Area. In recent years, many of the region’s newest residents are relocating from Peninsula cities such as San Mateo, Menlo Park, and Foster City. “They’re noticing that prices are better, and there’s less competition,” notes Coastside native and realtor Jackson Robertson. “Plus, they also get immediate access to the ocean and an enviable laidback lifestyle!”

What New Residents Discover When They Arrive

While situated in close proximity to metros such as San Francisco, the Peninsula, and Silicon Valley, the Coastside offers a more relaxed pace and a deeper connection to nature than its busy, urban neighbors. Coastside neighborhoods are set between the ocean and forest, engulfed by wide swaths of farmland and protected open space. Outdoor recreation abounds, from hiking and biking scenic trails to kayaking and stand up paddle boarding calm harbor waters. Its quaint main streets host old-fashioned Fourth of July parades, fall pumpkin fests, and traditional Portuguese festivals, a reminder of the early 20th century immigrants who helped establish the region’s agricultural and fishing legacy.

Pillar Point Harbor
Outdoor recreation abounds, from hiking and biking scenic trails to kayaking and stand up paddle boarding calm harbor waters.

Today, you’re still likely to know your local farmer and fisherman by name, often catching up at Half Moon Bay’s vibrant weekend farmers market. Another popular gathering spot is the new, architecturally striking library in downtown Half Moon Bay which has become a sleek, amenity-filled hub for the local community. The Coastside is home to a civic-minded populace with more than 40 nonprofits that support the community in various ways such as the Cabrillo Education Foundation which funds public school system activities.

On the Coastside, you’ll also find significantly more affordable real estate prices compared to neighboring towns. “Peninsula neighborhoods, for example, are two or three times more expensive,” comments Robertson. “Coastside pricing is relatively insulated thanks to a wealth of surrounding employment opportunities,” he says referring to well-known finance and tech sectors in San Francisco, biotech in South San Francisco, and tech in Peninsula and Silicon Valley.

But what about the commute? “It takes my wife 35 minutes to drive to Redwood Shores each morning,” shares Robertson. “San Mateo County has so much to offer, with great job security all around, but real estate prices in the Half Moon Bay area are a fraction of the cost, and a relatively painless commute away.”

Coastl Trail
Westside neighborhoods such as Alsace Lorraine and Arleta Park offer walkability to downtown shops and restaurants and the ability to zip around town via the oceanfront Coastal Trail.

Choosing a Neighborhood for Your Lifestyle

While Coastside neighborhoods provide easy access to miles of beaches and coastal trails, each community offers a unique experience. Here’s a quick overview of neighborhoods from Montara to Pescadero:

  • Montara: Work in San Francisco, and return home to lush coastal surroundings. Walk to the turquoise waters of Montara beach, hike the vista-filled trails of Montara mountain, and rest easy in this calm, coastal community.

  • Westside: Situated at the middle point of Half Moon Bay’s namesake crescent-shaped cove, Westside neighborhoods such as Alsace Lorraine and Arleta Park offer walkability to downtown shops and restaurants, the ability to zip around town via the oceanfront Coastal Trail, and easy access to beaches such as the spectacular Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.

  • Pillar Point Harbor: Experience the charm of an authentic fishing village in the communities of El Granada and Princeton-by-the-Sea. You’ll never be far from fresh seafood—sold directly from the docks—and treasured food and drink destinations such as Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., Sam’s Chowder House, and the Moss Beach Distillery. Plus, you can learn to go toes-to-the-nose with gear from Mavericks Surf Shop, owned by surf legend Jeff Clark.

  • Higgins Canyon, Tunitas Creek, and San Gregorio: Those seeking solitude and wide-open space will feel at home among these idyllic, rural communities filled with working farms, horse ranches, and large parcels of land.

  • South Coast: Soak up the Coastside’s history, nature, and agricultural legacy in towns such as Pescadero, La Honda, and Loma Mar. Become a regular at the 124-year-old Duarte’s Tavern, delight in baby goats and fresh cheeses at Harley Farms, and explore the redwood forests of Butano State Park.

  • Ocean Colony: Enjoy golf and resort living amidst roughly 600 homes situated near The Ritz-Carlton and world-class, championship courses of Half Moon Bay Golf Links. Residents can enjoy membership at the Colony Club which offers sauna-equipped spas, lighted tennis courts, a heated indoor pool, and fitness center with group classes.

Half Moon Bay neighborhood
Enjoy golf and resort living amidst roughly 600 homes situated near The Ritz-Carlton and world-class, championship courses of Half Moon Bay Golf Links.

If you’d like to learn more about Coastside neighborhoods and the local real estate market, Robertson is an excellent resource who’s happy to chat. The Coastside native has represented local buyers and sellers for 15 years, and enjoys a reputation for being a well informed and connected local resource. Over the years, he’s assembled a vetted team of local contractors, inspectors, and service people, from handymen to home financing folks. “My roots are in the Coastside,” he says. “It’s important to know that the people who come into your new home are trusted by a local.” And, with a background in financial planning and construction, he can offer assistance with home prep before and after a sale. Plus, the lifetime Coastsider donates $500 of every sale to the Cabrillo Education Foundation to help support local schools.

“Purchasing a home along the Coastside is a great investment in real estate,” says Robertson “But, more importantly, it’s an investment in how you spend time with your family.”


 

Garrick Ramirez is a freelance writer and photographer who loves sharing compelling destinations within California. As a native, he has yet to tire of exploring the many cities, small towns, and natural splendor found throughout the state. His travel guides have appeared in the SF Chronicle, Via Magazine, and The Mercury News among others. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.