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If you’re looking for the right destination for a multigenerational family group, you’ve found it. One of the great joys of Half Moon Bay is the myriad of outdoor activities that are easily accessible for everyone from kids to grandparents.

Come for a few days to fully explore the easy trails, enticing beaches, educational farms and exciting downtown experiences that are sure to please.

Tidepool Exploring

Starting on the coast, Lauren Jackowitz-Fogarty, Event Manager at the Oceano Hotel & Spa says “Kids especially enjoy discovering the abundance of coastal wildlife from watching sea anemones swaying in the tidepools to spotting a seal lion swimming in the waves.” A terrific place to explore the tidepools is the intertidal zone of James V. Fitzgerald Marine Preserve in Moss Beach. Head online first to download maps and guides to the area. You can also watch a video (below) in preparation for your visit, that will give you a peek at the kinds of starfish, sea urchins, anemones, limpets, hermit crabs, harbor seals, eels, birds and maybe even an octopus you’re likely to see.

Nature Walk

Local insiders Melissa Rey of Inn at Mavericks and Shelly Auyeung the communications manager of The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay both recommend Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve as a favorite spot for a hike. Some of the oldest trees in the world, redwoods were the dominant trees in the Northern hemisphere when dinosaurs roamed thousands of years ago. A great pick for the whole family, the quarter mile nature walk is a flat and easy stroll through a shady second-growth redwood forest with trees that are over 100 years old. It’s just off Skyline Blvd, and has wheelchair-accessible picnic tables and a restroom.

Hiking in the Purisima Redwoods
Hiking in the Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve. Photo by Noah Boyer.

Farm Visit

Dana Dahl, general manager of the Beach House says her favorite family activity is “Hands down Harley Farms in the spring, seeing all the baby goats. It does not matter what age you are it will put a huge smile on your face!” It’s hard to resist the charm of the goats and their babies at Harley Farms and no matter when you visit, you’re likely to get up close and personal with the inquisitive and friendly herd, along with the guardian llamas, Anatolian shepherds, barn kitties, British White cattle, Iz the pig, and Rosie the donkey. While formal ticketed tours are not recommended for the youngest children, unscheduled visits for exploring on your own are highly encouraged. Picnic tables around the pond are a great spot for enjoying the outdoors or just taking a snack break and do make a stop at the farm store to pick up some farm fresh cheese. The farm is open daily to visitors from 11- 4pm.

Another good option for getting up close and personal with animals is the petting zoo at Lemos Farm. For a dollar you can purchase a cup of food and hand feed the animals including baby goats, pigs, sheep, and bunnies. It’s fun for the kids and a truly great picture taking opportunity for the rest of the family.

Entertainment in Town

Back in town, add Make It Main Street to your calendar. It runs from July 1 - November 4, the first Thursdays of the month from 3-7 p.m. It’s a brand new monthly event that takes place on five blocks of Main Street. Your whole family will be entertained by a rotating array of musicians, artists, storytellers, and poets plus a woodworker, a letterpress artist, sculptor, a guitar-builder, and a glassblower. Head to Mac Dutra Park for performances from local writers, poets, essayists and storytellers and check out locally produced short films at the Oddfellows Hall throughout the evening. 

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.