Overnight: The Beach House at Half Moon Bay, CA
If you ever travel to the San Francisco Bay Area and need a place to stay for the night, I highly recommend skipping the airport hotel and splurging on a room at The Beach House in Half Moon Bay, CA. This quaint coastal town is located less than 30 miles south of San Francisco and it's nestled between the Pacific Ocean and plenty of plush forested hills. Yes, Karl the Fog is likely to creep up (HMB is definitely not like most SoCal beaches) but that's what makes it such a special spot.
warning: The Beach House does not have a restaurant or room service.
But don't fret! Sam's Chowder House is located directly next door (literally you can walk there in two minutes). This seafood hotspot is a bit pricey but you get what you pay for. Take in the amazing views of the ocean, watch the surfers, and admire the sunset from the outdoor fire pit or a window seat inside. As big as their menu is, I always get the same thing when I eat here: The Shrimp Scampi. This buttery bowl of goodness (must love garlic!) isn't the healthiest option but it sure is the tastiest. If you're like Dave Petrone (my Dad), you'll opt for Sam's Blue Crab and Shrimp Louie Salad. Yes, it's $21.95 but it comes with heaps of seafood, Fuji apples, butter lettuce, cucumber, hard cooked egg, and Louis dressing. Their Clam Chowders and Gumbo's are great options in the winter time while their Captains' Platter is filled to the brim with Ahi Tuna Poke, Seafood Ceviche, Cherrystone Clams, and Oysters.
Oh, and one more thing...
their soft serve with sea salt & olive oil is damn good.
it tastes like caramel.
If you happen to stay at The Beach House over the weekend, you're in luck! There is complimentary wine & cheese available in the lobby on Fridays and Saturdays evenings. Enjoy the rest of your night on your balcony or snuggle up on the couch while a fire flickers in the fireplace. Of course if you'd rather throw on one of their cozy robes and head down to the pool for a dip or relax in the hot tub you can do that until around 10 p.m. You're also just steps away from the beach if a night walk is on the agenda.
The absolute best part? The bed. I don't know what kind of mattresses they use but it's one of the most comfortable beds I've ever slept in. However, if you're a light sleeper, you may want to take advantage of the earplugs tucked away in the bathroom. There's a fog horn that blares every few seconds - some people find it soothing but I'm not one of those people.
When you wake up in the morning, head down to the lobby for a free continental breakfast until 9:30 a.m. They have everything from bagels & cream cheese and danishes to fresh fruit and muffins. Coffee, hot chocolate, and tea is also available. But make sure you make room for lunch because my favorite downtown deli opens up at 10 a.m. (yes, I have been known to show up that early for the freshest loaf of bread).
The San Benito Deli is located within the 100-year old San Benito House along Main Street. To be honest, they aren't doing anything special (turkey & cheese, tuna salad, roast beef) but their homemade bread is PHENOMENAL. They've won Best Bread and Best Sandwich awards for years. Choose between Whole Wheat, French, or Olive Walnut. They're strict on ordering - you must only state what you do want on your sandwich. A half is plenty if you get a side of chips or a cookie but I've been known to eat an entire sandwich by myself. Egg Salad with Avocado is my go-to. It's fun to go around the corner and sit at the bar to eat alongside the locals.
Main Street is slow-paced and lined with cute little stores and bakeries. Shop for kitchen supplies at Cunha's Country Store, keep your eyes peeled for the perfect antique, or grab a cute home accessory at my favorite little place called Abode. Another fun thing to do is check out what's inside Half Moon Bay Feed & Fuel. You'll find everything from Muck Boots to Specialty Salsas (and animal feed, of course) at this country store. If you're looking for a place to grab dinner, Pasta Moon is the place to dine. Their lasagna is a stand out thanks to fresh ingredients like house made Sicilian sausage, ricotta, parmesan, chili flake, & tomato sauce.
Explorers can venture out on hikes, hit the beach, or go horseback riding. Wine lovers can even go wine tasting at La Nebbia Winery on your way in or out of town. Half Moon Bay is also known for its annual Titans of Mavericks surfing competition (it happens on one day between November - March). 24 surfers from all over the world take on dangerous swells during winter's biggest surf day of the year. You never know when it's going to happen so make sure to check their social media pages for updates.
So, the next time you head to Half Moon Bay give me a shout out @petronerocks! I'd love to hear your thoughts!