Many people are asking, "Are San Mateo County beaches open?" Well, the short answer is YES! On June 1, the San Mateo County Health Department issued an updated “Shelter in Place” order where beach access limitations have been removed in our region. According to the new order, “beaches may now operate normally, as long as beachgoers adhere to social distancing and face-covering guidelines.” Additionally, swimming is also allowed now, as long as you keep a six-feet distance from folks, not in your household.

This is exciting news, as we know everyone is looking to go outside and enjoy the iconic sunshine in our destination. So, with that in mind, we decided to list some of our favorite beaches in San Mateo County for you to visit this summer. Oh! We also included some restaurant recommendations nearby, just in case you get hungry!


Let’s kick things off with Linda Mar State Beach in Pacifica, the most well-known and used beach in this quaint coastal town. Offering a recreation trail along the ocean with gorgeous views of the rocky coast and surfers, Linda Mar is definitely one of the best places to safely enjoy the gorgeous Pacific coast. Dogs are also allowed so you’re free to bring your furry friend out to the beach with you.

Seagulls at Linda Mar State Beach in Pacifica, California

Linda Mar State Beach by Bradley Wittke

Now, if you’re looking for a smaller, less populated beach in Pacifica, check out Rockaway Beach! Located just south of the Pacifica Pier, its narrow strand, rocky shore, and crashing surf make this beach an enjoyable destination.

While you’re in the area, we so recommend that you stop by Mazzetti’s Bakery and get an Éclair or cupcake, they’re so yummy! Or, if you’re craving fresh and delicious seafood, Moonraker Restaurant is offering takeout and delivery through DoorDash. Their Coconut Prawns are some of the best around.


Located right off of Highway 1, Poplar Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Half Moon Bay for families, dog owners, and even horseback riders. If you are planning a visit, be prepared to hike a steep trail down to the beachfront. Nonetheless, Poplar is a spacious beach allowing you to safely enjoy the waves and views.

Sunset at Poplar State Beach in San Mateo County

Sunset at Poplar State Beach by Kristin Friis

Also, right off of HWY 1 you’ll find Half Moon Bay State Beach! This area is made up of four small beaches that form the two-mile curve of fine, white sand and relaxing coves. The waters and waves at this end of Half Moon Bay make for the perfect surfing spot or a tranquil and calm view. Although summer days in Half Moon Bay are usually sunny and warm, we recommend you bring layers just in case it gets breezy.

Hungry after hiking and sightseeing? Luckily for you, many Half Moon Bay restaurants are open for takeout! Located in downtown Half Moon Bay, Pasta Moon Ristorante offers contemporary Italian inspired cuisine including home-made pasta, gelato, fresh seafood, and more. Or head down Main Street and check out Flying Fish & Grill. The restaurant is now offering outdoor dining out on their patio and they have some of the BEST Fish & Chips in town!


Montara State Beach is a popular location for visitors to explore the beach tide pools or go fishing. Surrounded by low hills, this beachfront is wide and a mile long, giving you the space you need to safely enjoy the scenery. Be advised, picnic tables and gathering spots remain closed. Local tip: the sunsets at this beach are perfect for pictures!

If you’re looking to grab a bite while continuing to enjoy the view? La Costanera in Montara offers delicious and modern Peruvian fusion food for dinner Tuesday-Sunday. As the weather has gotten better, they have recently reopened their outdoor patio so you may enjoy your meal while overlooking the Pacific Ocean!

Sunset at Montara State Beach in San Mateo County

Sunset at Montara State Beach by Bradley Wittke


Pescadero State Beach has a mile-long shoreline with rocky cliffs, sandy coves, and spots for fishing. Although trails have reopened for access, there is very limited parking available in the central lot, and restrooms are only partially reopened, so make sure to plan ahead before heading out.

Another great option in Pescadero is Pomponio Beach. This beach provides access to miles of sandy beaches right at the base of sandstone bluffs. Again, please keep in mind that vehicular access and parking is very limited.

While visiting the Pescadero area, be sure to visit this cute town and its local shops. Local winery, Sante Arcangeli Family Wines offers some of the best wines in our destination. You must also make sure to stop by Arcangeli Grocery Company/Norm’s Market. Located just down the street from the winery, this popular Pescadero staple sells the best garlic-herb and artichoke bread!

Now, if you continue to drive south on HWY 1, you will find Pie Ranch. This local favorite cultivates a healthy food system from seed to table, providing the local community with the best quality food around. Visit the ranch for some fresh produce and freshly-baked pies!


Pigeon Point Lighthouse


As previously mentioned, please keep in mind that these are all just some suggestions. If you do not feel comfortable venturing out to these beaches at this time, do not feel pressured! We all have our own comfort level when it comes to leaving the house during this pandemic. We assure you that all these locations will welcome you with open arms when YOU are ready!

Nonetheless, if you DO feel comfortable heading out to these trails, please share your outdoor experiences with us by tagging us in your photos @visit_smc_sv, and using the hashtag #playbythebay. Have fun and stay safe!


See all that San Mateo County/Silicon Valley has to offer! Download our visitor guide today and start planning your trip!