Summers in San Mateo County bring higher temperatures and luckily for you, our destination is surrounded by water, which means we are home to many beautiful beaches. So, to make things easier for you, we’ve listed some of the top beaches in San Mateo County, along with some of the best restaurants to grab a bite to eat either before or after going to the beach.
Linda Mar Beach
Starting out in northern coastal San Mateo County, you’ll find the most well-loved and well-used beach in Pacifica. This beach of course is Linda Mar Beach, also known as Pacifica State Beach, is a popular beginner surfing spot and offers a recreation trail along the ocean, surfing and surf camps, restrooms, and showers. Not only that but it is also very popular with dogs. The beach is open from 5:00 am to 10:30 pm during the summer months, making it the perfect place to hang out with the entire family.
Montara State Beach
Continue driving south on Highway 1, passing Devil’s Slide Trail, and you will find Montara State Beach. This is a popular location for visitors to explore beach tide pools, fish, or just relax. It offers convenient access to several beaches for swimming, surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, and horseback riding. In addition, the historic Point Montara Lighthouse is located here, offering dramatic and breathtaking scenery of the California coast.
Where to Eat: Moss Beach Distillery
Check out some of the best hotels in/near Montara.
Half Moon Bay State Beach
Half Moon Bay State Beach is a stretch of sandy beaches located just off Highway 1 in the City of Half Moon Bay. These picturesque beaches are popular among local residents and are ideal for sunbathing, fishing, and picnicking. The breakwaters of Pillar Point have a buffering effect on the surf, and the waters at this end of Half Moon Bay State Beach form calm surf. Pillar Point Harbor is located here and offers visitors the opportunity to purchase fresh seafood right off the fishermen’s boats. The beaches are open from 8:00 am to sunset, but a campground provides accommodations for those who wish to visit longer.
Where to Eat: Cameron's Pub, Flying Fish Grill, Sam’s Chowder House, and Half Moon Brewing Co.
Check out some of the best hotels in Half Moon Bay.
Pescadero State Beach
Continue driving south to Pescadero and pass artichoke, bean, and lettuce farms before reaching your destination. Pescadero State Beach is great for watching tide pools, fishing, strolling, and sunbathing. Furthermore, just east of Highway 1, you will find the Pescadero Marsh Natural Preserve, which is a sanctuary to migratory birds, waterfowl, and numerous types of resident birds, making it one of the top spots for bird watching in San Mateo County.
Parkside Aquatic Park
Don’t have enough time to drive over the hill towards the coast? Parkside Aquatic Park offers a nice beach alternative on the bayside. The park is bordered by the Marina Lagoon and is the site of San Mateo’s only boating launch ramp. Open year-round from sunrise to sundown, this park is a perfect spot for a hot summer day!
Where to Eat: The Fish Market, Pausa Bar & Cookery, Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria, Pacific Catch, Jack's Prime, Joy Sushi, Porterhouse, or The Swingin' Door.
Check out some of the best hotels near San Mateo.