Beach Camping in Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay at Sunset

We love spending long weekends at Half Moon Bay State Beach. There are very few places near the San Francisco – Santa Cruz coast where you can camp right next to the beach and this is one of the most beautiful.
This was our fourth time staying here in the past three years. We know this place can be cold and windy in the summe,r but the location is great for relaxing on the beach or taking a bike ride into the town of Half Moon Bay or up the coast on the great paved trails.

Pigeon Point Light Station

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

On our trip along the beautiful and mostly uninhabited coastline north of Santa Cruz, we stopped at the Pigeon Point Light Station which is 25 miles north of Santa Cruz. The lighthouse was built in 1872 after the ship Carrier Pigeon wrecked on the point in 1853. The lighthouse is now closed due to disrepair, but the lighthouse grounds are open and original first-order Fresnel lens is on display in the Fog Signal building (it was closed when we visited).

Francis Beach Campground at Half Moon Bay State Beach

Although we’ve stayed at Francis Beach Campground before, this is the first time we were able to stay in THE BEST SPOT in the campground, Site #16! We arrived an hour before sunset and set up the chairs on the sand dune right behind our house.

Gianna and Brian Holle at Half Moon Bay during Sunset

Later that evening I took Katie on a long walk on the beach and had some fun taking some long exposure shots.

Brian Holle Sitting on the beach after Sunset at Half Moon Bay

Working From Home

While Gi was outside enjoying the beach, I was working from home, attending virtual meetings via the Wi-Fi hotspot on my iPhone.

Brian Holle Working from HomeThe Town of Half Moon Bay

It’s just a short 10 minute bike ride from Francis Beach Campground to the town of Half Moon Bay. On Saturday, Gi and I headed into town for breakfast.

Gianna Holle on a bike ride to the town of Half Moon BayThe route takes us past the Andreotti Family Farm.  We’ve stopped there many times to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables.

Andreotti Family FarmWe were in the mood for pastries so there’s no better place in town than the Moonside Bakery & Café.

After breakfast, we took a short bike ride up to the Half Moon Bay Spring Antique Show

Later in the afternoon, we stopped by the San Benito Ale House for a nice cold refreshing beverage. They have a great selection of beers on tap and the atmosphere is super casual.

Brian Holle Relaxing in Downtown Half Moon Bay

Relaxing in Downtown Half Moon Bay

Rich and Marion

Our friends Rich and Marion are interested in getting an RV so they stopped by to check out our RV. We sat outside and talked about RVs for several hours.

A week later we found out they purchased a Winnebago View (just like ours but brand new). I guess they were really serious about purchasing an RV!

Pescadero, California

On Sunday on our back to Santa Cruz we stopped by the tiny coastal town of Pescadero for lunch.  We bought some goodies and a couple of beers at the Pescadero Country Store and sat outside for a wonderful picnic lunch.

Highway 1 south of Half Moon Bay

Highway 1 south of Half Moon Bay

What we learned

  • You need to bring your bikes when you stay here. There is so much to see within an hour bike ride of the campground.
  • We always forget that some days can be very cold and windy at Half Moon Bay in the summer. Bring lots of warm clothes just in case.
  • All RV sites have electrical hook ups so also bring a small electrical heater to stay warm at night.

When we visited

April 21-24, 2016

GPS Coordinates

37.46945, -122.44646


  1. NeighborJ

    Looks like an awesome little gem close to home! I like the picture of the ice cold beer and the bourbon shot!… Made me jealous!

    1. Brian Holle (Post author)

      J, Yes, the proximity to the beach and also the town of HMB make this a great place to enjoy the weekend.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.