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Things to do in

Half Moon Bay

Our most recommended things to do in Half Moon Bay

San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Tour

1. San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Tour

Begin your tour by traveling south on the famous Pacific Coast Highway, California Highway 1. Head to Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea. At your first rest stop in Davenport, you will have a chance to take a selfie with the whole Pacific as your backdrop.  At Monterey, you will have 2 hours on your own to explore. You can visit the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, rent a kayak or paddleboard, hike along the coast, or take a bike to roam. You can also stroll among the quaint boutiques and art shops along the historic Cannery Row. Grab a seafood lunch at Old Fisherman’s Wharf.  Enjoy another eyeful of Pacific beauty along the scenic 17-Mile Drive through Del Monte Forest and take photographs of the hardy Lone Cyprus Tree. This famous road winds its way by magnificent homes and the spectacular coastline, between the greens and tees of world famous golf courses, and among the last remaining forest of a rare species of the Monterey Cypress.  Your scenic drive finishes at Pebble Beach Village. Upon arrival in the enchanted town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, you can explore the boutique shops on Ocean Avenue and be dazzled by the white sandy beach. If there is time, you can visit the historic Carmel Mission. Then, it will be time to head back to San Francisco. 

Pacific Coast Highway: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour

2. Pacific Coast Highway: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour

Drive along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway and experience the beauty of the California coast. Take advantage of the flexibility to set your own pace between stops during the self-guided app-based audio tour. See Monterey, the famous beach town known for its prestigious aquarium, and the popular golf courses of Pebble Beach. Stop off at picturesque Carmel-by-the-Sea, an artsy enclave where Clint Eastwood was once mayor. Hear the sound of barking sea lions at Point Lobos State Park, whose rocky headlands are interspersed with jewel-like coves. Big Sur is one of the not-to-be-missed highlights along the scenic road, where you can enjoy gorgeous views, waterfalls, and bridges. Near San Simeon, the home of Hearst Castle, pull off at Piedras Blancas Beach, where enormous elephant seals can be spotted in the winter months. Before cutting inland to San Luis Obispo, stop to admire Morro Bay Rock and hunt for anemones in the tidal pools. Explore Santa Barbara’s quintessential downtown and then continue down to Ventura and Malibu. If you started the drive in San Francisco, end your tour in Los Angeles at the famous Santa Monica Pier. The audio tour is curated by local guides and creative writers and is narrated by professional voice artists.

San Francisco: 2-Day Guided Tour of Monterey and Big Sur

3. San Francisco: 2-Day Guided Tour of Monterey and Big Sur

Revel in the laid-back beach towns just a few hours south of San Francisco on a 2-day tour along the Pacific Coast Highway. Take a day in Monterey Bay, the crown jewel of the Californian Coast. Then, a day to walk through the biggest trees in the world in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Meet at a central San Francisco hotel and begin the journey south along the beautiful and rugged Pacific Coast Highway. On the way, you’ll pass through the ‘salad bowl of the nation’ so make sure to keep an eye out for produce stands filled with everything from fresh artichokes to juicy strawberries. Depending on the time of year, you may even catch the famous super blooms, an explosion of wildflowers that yields a vibrant scene of poppies, primroses, and lilies. Reach Monterey County, and stop for your first chance at spotting marine wildlife at Elkhorn Slough, an estuary known for being critical habitat for sea otters, harbor seals, cormorants and brown pelicans. Here, you have the option to take a guided kayak tour of the slough to learn even more about the water dwelling residents up close. Around lunchtime, take in expansive ocean views as you arrive to the beautiful, Monterey Bay. A crown jewel of the Central Californian coast, Monterey has a range of activities to pick from. Choose to explore the coastline and 17-mile drive on an e-bike tour or, if you’d rather, get a closer look at what's beneath the water (like the world’s largest octopus), by heading over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Check out historic Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf where adventure, history, and clam chowder await. Once you’ve enjoyed the best of what this picturesque city has to offer, stay overnight in Monterey County at a nearby hotel. The next morning, get ready to explore. Lace up your walking shoes and pack your camera, as you trade in the small-town charm for the brilliant beauty of the rural Big Sur coastline. As you ride south on the Pacific Coast Highway, stop for photos of the dramatic scenery and famous landmarks such as the iconic Bixby Bridge. Don’t forget to watch for whales too, depending on the time of year you can sometimes spot Gray and Humpback whales breaching from the highway. Venture through the lush greenery in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, where you’ll see one of the most photographed waterfalls on the Pacific Coast, McWay Falls, nestled in a beach enclave of emerald water. Enter next, the tallest trees in the world, the Coastal Redwoods of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and enjoy an afternoon of hitting the trails. After a full day exploring this memorable stretch of coastline, make your way back to San Francisco. Depending on the time of year, you’ll make a stop at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk for classic Americana culture or in the quaint town of Half Moon Bay to grab a bite to eat. With hints of saltwater still on your skin, arrive back to the twinkling lights of San Francisco at night.

Frequently asked questions about Half Moon Bay

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What people are saying about Half Moon Bay

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 39 reviews

Excellent tour, covered all the major spots along California coast from Santa Cruz to Monterey to Carmel by the sea with important stops along the coast with appropriate time to take photos. Our your guide Doug and river Jason were pretty amazing and Doug has a thorough knowledge and passion and he was did an excellent job explaining all the important history on the tour. 17 Mile drive and pebble Beach were pretty amazing and beautiful. In Carmel, if you do not plan to shop, consider walking to the beach, it's a 0.5 mile walk slightly tedious walk (considering all the elevations) from the bus stop but it's worth it. In Monterey, aquarium will always be sold out when you arrive unless you dont book it prior, so 2 he is a little long, but considering it in life's lunch stop too, it totally makes sense. Apart from cannery row, consider taking a walk across lovers point trail in Pacific Grove which is just next to cannery row, it's pretty scenic.

We were pleasantly surprised with how nice everything was for the price. Quality coach bus, well planned tour, knowledgeable driver, beautiful sites. It was absolutely the highlight of our visit to the Bay area. Patrick the driver was amazing!

Loved this tour! We learned so much about the area from Alex. He’s a charismatic guide with a sense of humor. We had beautiful views along the coast. Highly recommend!

Excellent tour. Great photo opportunities during the ride. Plenty of time at each stop. The tour guide was very nice and a lot of fun

I have learned a lot about San fransisco and the other towns around. Very interesting.