Blufftop Beach, Half Moon Bay. Photo Credit: Janet Fullwood
DogTrekkers who live inland know they’re never far from Sweatshirt Land. So when the mercury climbs, those in the know leash up their pups and head for the coast, making base camp in unhurried towns like Benicia, Pacifica, Point Reyes Station (gateway to the national seashore) or Half Moon Bay, all of which are well appointed with hiking trails. Our most recent weekend away was to Half Moon Bay, where early-morning fog gave way to blue-sky days and the shooshing sea was a soothing backdrop for long walks along the gorgeous Coastside Trail.
Six miles long and paved, the trail follows the route of an old railroad line, hugging the bluffs that front the shore but also offering access to dog-friendly watering holes like Moss Beach Distillery and Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, along with dog-friendly hotels including the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay and the Inn at Mavericks. (Insider’s tip: Blufftop Beach near the Ritz-Carlton is small but dog-friendly).
The coastal trail isn’t the only way to engage with the scenery on this scenic slice of the coast. If your primary desire is to get some sand between Fido’s toes, pay a visit to Montara State Beach, eight miles north of town, or Bean Hollow State Beach, 18 miles south. The former is long, soft and sandy, while the latter includes two sheltered coves separated by a rocky point, plus a mile-long nature trail leading to Pebble Beach, where the shoreline is composed of colorful, water-tossed pebbles.
McNee Ranch State Park, part of the Montara beach complex, is another great fresh-air destination. It’s laced with wide-open fire roads shared by hikers, cyclists and equestrians. Visit on a day without fog to hike to the 1,898-foot summit of North Peak and fill your eyes with stunning views.
Half Moon Bay. Photo: Janet Fullwood
Samoyeds at Half Moon Bay. Photo: Steve Jurvetson (CC)