A great family getaway awaits in Half Moon Bay. With beautiful beaches, horseback riding, unique shopping and family farms, there’s plenty of fun for both kids and adults. Here are some top picks for a long weekend getaway. 

Friday

Go for a ride

Ease into the weekend with a horseback ride. Sea Horse Ranch offers guided trail and beach rides to horseback riders of all levels and kids as young as 7 years old. Spectacular scenery, friendly guides and sweet horses ensure a memorable experience.

Horseback Riding in Half Moon Bay

Check in

Half Moon Bay Lodge is rated one of the top hotels for families and is located just a mile from the beach. Rooms and suites are spacious with cozy fireplaces. There’s a heated pool and Jacuzzi and complimentary breakfast where kids can choose from a selection of cereals or make their own waffles.

Half Moon Bay Lodge
Half Moon Bay Lodge is rated one of the top hotels for families.
Dinner

A popular spot with locals and visitors for over 20 years, It’s Italia features crowd-pleasing wood fired pizzas, luscious pastas and tempting desserts. The staff is particularly accommodating and there’s a pretty patio in back. Be sure to book ahead.

It's Italia
It's Italia has been a popular spot with locals and visitors for over 20 years.

Saturday

Fun on the Farm

Lemos Farm offers pony rides, train rides, bounce houses and a petting zoo. And now anyone age 10 or above can enjoy goat yoga on Saturday mornings from April through August! At Halloween you won’t want to miss their pumpkin patch and haunted house.

Farmers market

The award-winning Coastside Farmers Market takes place on Saturdays, from 9 am until 1 pm and runs from May through December. Meet the local farmers, ranchers, fishers, food-makers, and artisans at this small yet friendly market. It’s the perfect spot to play a game of “I spy” and challenge smaller kids to find specific fruits, vegetables or colors.

Coastside Farmers Market
Coastside Farmers Market (photo courtesy of PaulettePhlipot.com)
Lunch

Located in a converted home, Café Capistrano is a Yucatecan restaurant serving wonderful Mayan specialties as well as Mexican food and sandwiches. For kids, there’s a special menu with quesadillas, bean and cheese burrito, chicken and rice and more. The colorfully decorated restaurant and friendly staff make this a great spot for families.

Cafe Capistrano
Café Capistrano is a Yucatecan restaurant serving wonderful Mayan specialties as well as Mexican food and sandwiches.
Beach time

The San Mateo county coast around Half Moon Bay offers a tremendous number of beaches to explore. Check out this guide to pick a spot for beachcombing, watching surfers or exploring tide pools.

Pescadero State Beach
Pescadero State Beach, south of Half Moon Bay.
Dinner

Family friendly Sam’s Chowder House is a scenic spot offering fresh local seafood. The kid’s menu offers the standards like spaghetti and hot dogs but also fish and chips and salmon.

Waterfront Dining at Sam's Chowder House
Waterfront Dining at Sam's Chowder House

Sunday

Breakfast

3-Zero Café is the restaurant at the tiny regional Half Moon Bay airport. The food is terrific and the view of planes taking off and landing as well as the airplane photos, posters and model airplanes will delight kids and aviation fanatics.

Eat at the harbor

A visit to Pillar Point Harbor is a must for watching the boats and fishers bringing in their bounty. HMB Brewing Co offers up classic seafood favorites and plenty of kid pleasing snacks like hummus, soft pretzels and wings. The patio is dog friendly and offers views of the harbor.

Fog Town Toys
Fog Town Toys  encourages kids of all ages to play.
Shop

Main Street in Half Moon Bay isn’t your typical downtown. The shops are unique and varied including several that will enchant kids. Fog Town Toys focuses on both fun and educational toys, games and puzzles and encourages kids of all ages to play. Oddysea is a shop filled with interactive kits, toys and artifacts with a focus on science, nature, and art. Oddysea Outside is like a drop in camp, with activities and rotating events such as rubber-stamping, terrarium making and jewelry crafts each weekend.

Oddysea
Oddysea Outside is like a drop in camp, with activities and rotating events such as rubber-stamping, terrarium making and jewelry crafts each weekend.

Start planning your next family trip to Half Moon Bay in our lodging section, where you'll find details on all of the Coastside's family friendly hotels, motels, and B&Bs.

Amy Sherman is a local food and travel writer. She’s the author of Williams Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers and Wine Passport Portugal and has written for food, travel and lifestyle publications including Afar, Food Network, Marin magazine, Fodor's and 7x7. After years of driving past Half Moon Bay on her way to and from UC Santa Cruz, she’s now happy to stop and fully enjoy its charms.