News and Reviews: This Is My Happiness
How to Spend a Weekend in Half Moon Bay
For years I’ve been looking for the perfect Northern California coastal getaway. Some places are too far away, others are too remote or too cold, and still others are often too crowded. Then last year on the way to Año Nuevo State Park, we passed by the quaint seaside town of Half Moon Bay and knew we’d have to come back and explore. Fortunately we had the chance to spend two nights there this summer and found it to be the perfect coastal getaway for families in Northern California. As you’ll see below, there were many reasons we loved Half Moon Bay, but one thing especially struck me.
Half Moon Bay is a town of under 15,000 people on Highway 1, just south of San Francisco. Its location makes it an easy destination for families and couples from Sacramento (like us), or San Francisco, Napa Valley, and the Central Valley. We noticed that weekends can be busy, so if possible, book a visit on weekdays or expect lots of day trippers at the restaurants and beaches.
Where to eat in Half Moon Bay:
Sam’s Chowder House: 4210 N. Cabrillo Hwy
On our first day in Half Moon Bay, after the goat farm tour, we drove back up to Half Moon Bay to have lunch at the iconic Sam’s Chowder House. You can’t miss it because of all the cars and people outside; this is one of the most popular seaside restaurants in the region.
Sam’s Chowder House serves fresh, sustainably sourced seafood following the Monterey Bay Aquarium guidelines. They’re especially known for their lobster rolls, oysters and, of course, their clam chowder, which I tried and loved. We also had calamari (my kids’ fave) and the seafood special, which always includes vegetables that are grown locally. This time the dish included early summer artichokes sourced from nearby farms. I appreciated the variety on the kids’ menu, so instead of chicken fingers or burgers, my kids were able to choose a small cut of salmon with fresh veggies. And bonus points for not using plastic: the straws and to-go packaging are 100% biodegradable and made of plants.
The restaurant is also known for the view of the water from the huge deck. It was a little cold for us to sit outside but the deck was bustling — there was even a live band playing!
Tip: Make a reservation and ask for a table with a view, especially if you plan to eat here on the weekends.