We love zapping virtual zombies on our phone too, but nothing beats the thrill of real-life play and wonder. With a dazzling landscape of farms and beaches, the Half Moon Bay Coastside is a nature-filled playground that will inspire adventure in all ages. Below, we’ve rounded up nine kid-friendly activities that will delight little ones and the young-at-heart.
Pet Goats at Harley Farms
Even adults will feel like a kid at this magical goat farm set in the serene pastures of Pescadero. While the formal two-hour tour may not be suited for little ones, everyone will enjoy wandering the scenic grounds, admiring the goats and llamas, and sampling savory and sweet goodies in the farm-chic cheese shop housed in a converted hay barn.
Enjoy Rootin’ Tootin’ Fun at Lemos Farm
Western-themed fun rules the land at this wondrous farm geared for play. Little ones will enjoy numerous ticketed activities including pony rides, a train ride through a mini ghost town, and a petting zoo filled with adorable goats. Come October, the farm is transformed into a Halloween wonderworld with pumpkins, richly detailed decor, and a spook house that’s best enjoyed by older kids.
See the Coast by Horseback with Sea Horse Ranch
If pony rides are no longer cutting it with your older ones, kids aged seven and older can saddle up on a gentle horse ride that takes them clip-clopping along the region’s coastal bluffs and sandy shores. Sea Horse Ranch welcomes both first-time and seasoned riders, and will match guests with a horse to suit their experience and comfort. Note: reservations are required.
Say Ahoy to the Crafts at Oddyssea
If the kids from The Goonies opened a store, it would look a lot like Oddyssea. Inside, you’ll discover a museum-worthy assortment of seafaring trinkets and adventure kits. In a nautical-themed outdoor garden, numerous craft stations feature hands-on activities. For a handful of gold doubloons, budding swashbucklers can design their own sand art, crack open crystal-filled geodes, and race the world’s largest “marble” down a 20-foot cannonball run.
Bike the California Coastal Trail
Don’t pass up an opportunity to cruise this exhilarating path as it winds over rivers, through fields of colorful wildflowers, and along the magnificent Pacific Ocean. Nearly completely removed from traffic, the level dedicated trail provides a fun and safe way for families to experience the beauty of the coast.
Explore Francis Beach
Picking a beach in Half Moon Bay is a game of eeny-meeny-miney-moe: you can’t go wrong. Yet Francis Beach is an especially good option for families thanks to its easy accessibility. A parking lot with immediate beach access relieves the need to scramble down a steep cliff to reach the sand. Oceanfront tables are perfect for family picnics, and a nearby visitor center invites little hands to fidget with a range of interactive nature exhibits.
Marvel at Carnivorous Plants
Half Moon Bay is world-renowned for its bounty of locally-grown plants and flowers, but we wouldn’t expect rhododendrons to entertain the kids. Instead, take them to Worlds Rare Plants where they can marvel at hundreds of fly-chomping venus fly traps and fairy tale gardens.
Swirl Gelato at Cafe Mezzaluna
The promise of ice cream is the perfect, let’s say “encouragement,” to urge your young ones through the day. In addition to a dazzling display of homemade confections, Cafe Mezzaluna dishes up scoops of creamy gelato. Grab a cone and stroll the lively docks of Pillar Point Harbor across the street.
Chow down at Dad’s Luncheonette
What’s more fun than dining from a 100-year-old train caboose? At Dad’s Luncheonette, kiddos get simplified burgers and kid-approved mac-and-cheese, while adults savor fried egg-topped burgers and mushroom sandwiches (trust us: they’re delicious). Don’t let the humble setting fool you. Before opening this fun roadside eatery, talented co-owner Scott Clark (aka Dad) cooked at San Francisco’s three-Michelin-star restaurant, Saison.