Poplar Beach is a city-run beach in Half Moon Bay, CA. Poplar is a popular beach with families, dog owners, and even horseback riders which sometimes adds a horse poop smell to the beach access. From the parking lot you’ll have to hike the steep trail down to the beach. Bring sturdy shoes for the hike down the bluff. Once on the sand you can ditch the shoes and walk quite a ways in either direction.
To get to Poplar Beach turn off Highway 1 onto Poplar Street toward the ocean. At the end near the edge of the bluff you’ll find the large paved parking lot. The paved Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail runs north and south from this lot. It’s great for walking, running, and riding bikes.