My friend Leslie has been my inspiration for RV travel and first tipped me off to the sunny beaches of Half Moon Bay just over two years ago. With tens of thousands of miles behind them, she and her hubby John have enticed me with campsite meals, park-hosting gigs, and endless adventures, they’ve also become my models for adventuring far and wide in our new travel trailer.

We first stayed at Half Moon Bay in the spring of 2023, and knew it’d make the list of must-visit spots again in ’24. With a little more travel-savvy powering my trip planning, I easily honed in on a private campsite with epic views … and availability! Half Moon Bay’s Francis Beach is part of the State of California’s park system just west of the charming downtown core. The coastal trail offers folks like me who’ve put in more than a few miles of driving the opportunity to stretch legs whether biking or walking — with the added bonus of gorgeous views and birdwatching.

The town of Half Moon Bay itself sits just a few blocks off the Pacific Coast Highway, is both walkable and bikeable, and is sprinkled with boutiques, restaurants, pocket parks and shops. People seemed especially friendly to me, but perhaps that’s just the side effect of living in paradise. The Garden Deli Cafe had ample space in their tree-covered outdoor patio to enjoy a sandwich jam-packed with tuna on their homemade olive bread and made for a lovely respite on a bike ride into town. Equally delicious, Sacrilege Brewery + Kitchen wowed me with their version of fish tacos and a cold pint of Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing.

As much as I love a great local restaurants, having the ability to cook at our campsite led me (as usual) to more than a few tasty meals with ocean views, too. Last year’s cioppino debacle just down the beach at New Brighton State Beach (I’ll spare you the details, but it involved a toppling picnic table, a pot of cioppino, and a very unhappy dog). I knew I’d want to up my game this year with an elevated version of this traditional seafood stew – with all local ingredients – and have to toot my own horn in reflecting back on this delicious meal. Scallops with mushroom risotto (with mushrooms foraged locally near home) and homemade spaghetti topped off the menu for remaining days at Francis Beach.

With easy proximity to Santa Cruz and San Francisco, it’ll undoubtedly pop up on future itineraries. I’ll forever keep Francis Beach near the top of my list of California destinations and will forever be thanking Leslie and John for turning me onto this gem!

Written by

Seattle Maven

Former concierge, frequent bruncher, forever pug-lover, animated talker, wandering hiker, enthusiastic traveler, authentic writer and hollandaise fan.
Join me in my travels locally (Seattle & PNW) and throughout the world!