Day Trip to Half Moon Bay
Come for the pumpkins, stay for the seaside charm.
By Dominic Moresi
Play: Half Moon Bay Kayak Co.
Start the day on the water with a kayak or stand-up paddleboard rental. Stick around the calm waters of the marina, or venture out into the cove to test your newfound skills and spot a few seals. $25/hour for stand-up paddleboard or single kayak, hmbkayak.com.
Celebrate: Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival
For the 45th annual iteration on Main Street, expect everything from “the Picasso of pumpkin carvers” sculpting a 1,000-plus-pound behemoth, to the world’s largest mosaic pumpkin sculpture, to a battle of the Smashing Pumpkins bands. You’ll also have the opportunity to taste an array of pumpkin-based goods (especially if you join the pie-eating contest) and peruse harvest-inspired crafts. Expect crowds and the traffic to match. October 17–18, free admission, miramarevents.com.
Abode and Oddyssea
There’s plenty to catch your eye on Main Street, where you’ll find rustic home wares at Abode and a trove of curiosities at Oddyssea. On weekends in October, visit Oddyssea to create a “steampunkin,” a weird gourd decorated with various hardware. abodehalfmoonbay.com, oddyssea.com.
Taste: The Half Moon Bay Wine and Cheese Company
The selection of cheeses and bottles is impressive, but the real gem is the tasting area, where you can sample 60 wines on tap: Each bottle has its own argon-filled dispenser to keep it fresh. The indecisive have their choice of four flights. If you opt for the whites, be sure to pair them with a hunk of creamy Brie Fermier. hmbwineandcheese.com.
Eat: Sam’s Chowder House
The views from the patio can’t be beat. Order a cocktail from the outdoor bar; split the captain’s platter of oysters, clams, and other seafood; and kick back in a bright Adirondack chair to watch waves crash on the jetty. samschowderhouse.com.
Drink: Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
This bustling brewpub, located near the world-famous Mavericks surf spot, capitalizes on the pumpkin hullabaloo every fall. Stop by the beer garden to try the Pumpkin Harvest and Imperial Pumpkin ales (made with real pumpkin), or pick up a ticket to the second annual Coastside Brewfest (October 24), where you can taste from more than 15 Bay Area breweries. hmbbrewingco.com.