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Planning Your Trip

This exclusive spot on the California coastline is a true gem among luxury resorts. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay is a launching point for outdoor adventures and a prime golf getaway. Here is what to bring to make the most of it all.

Two surfers ride a wave at sunset

Outdoor Adventure

Though it’s just 20 miles from the San Francisco airport, this resort feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of city streets. Make the most of it by packing outdoor gear that is prepared for the varying weather of this coastal spot.


  • Although temperatures are mild throughout the year in Half Moon Bay, lightweight layers are a must as the weather can change throughout the day Pack light down jackets that are rainproof and warm if the wind kicks up or the clouds roll in.
  • In summer, bring sturdy sandals to manage the steep (but gorgeous) trail down to the beach or to bicycle along the California Coastal Trail, which passes right through the resort.
  • A fashionable scarf is the go-to accessory for Bay Area residents. Pack a versatile one that matches the rest of your packing list.   
A flag indicates the 18th hole on a golf course, which sits next to the ocean 26. HalfMoonBay_00169

Golf Getaway

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay offers access to two courses with unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean and challenging play along rugged terrain. Here is what to put on your packing checklist to make sure you are ready for all 18 holes.


  • A lightweight rain jacket and rain pants are essential as Half Moon Bay sits right on the ocean and the weather can change in minutes. Slip your rain gear into the side pocket of your golf bag so you have it if you need it.
  • Half Moon Bay Golf Links require a polo shirt or turtleneck for male golfers. While women can wear outfits without collars, T-shirts and tank tops are discouraged, so women should try to also pack polo shirts or turtlenecks.
  • Spikeless golf shoes are also a must-do at Half Moon Bay Golf Links. You can also wear sneakers or sandals in a pinch, but the rugged terrain of this course definitely deserves solid golf footwear that honors its long green legacy.    
People riding horses in a field

Day Trips

Just miles from San Francisco and a quick chauffeured drive to Santa Cruz wine country, this resort offers myriad opportunities for exciting day trips and unforgettable adventures. Don’t forget these essentials as you plan your trip.


  • Whether you are a birder or a nature fan in general, the Bay Area offers unbelievable wildlife sightings from majestic gray whales to adorable sea lions and great blue herons. Bring your binoculars for up-close views.
  • There is no better way to experience this breathtaking locale than on horseback, so bring your cowboy boots (or sneakers). You can gallop along mountain trails or just trot along the coast to take in sweeping Pacific views.
  • Bring sturdy wet shoes for ocean adventures such as surfing the Mavericks or sea kayaking in Pillar Point Harbor. There are rocky coastlines to be wary of, and though they are spectacular, they harbor sharp rocks and angles.  

Half Moon Bay is a mecca for relaxation, whether your brand of leisure is a five-course meal or a long, languid day at the spa. Here’s what to get on your itinerary before you even check in.

Dining Reservations

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The resort’s signature restaurant Navio serves exceptional ocean cuisine crafted with seasonal produce from local farms, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You can select from an á la carte menu featuring the day’s freshest shellfish, diver scallops, salmon, gulf prawns and more, or experience Chef de Cuisine Jason Pringle’s special multi-course tasting menu, which includes his favorite dishes and current market inspirations.  On weekends, Pringle also presents the Farmer’s Market Brunch at Navio, a tour de force that is filled with seasonal ingredients currently found at the Coastside Farmers Market. The presentation features fresh local vegetables, eggs and a fresh-pressed-juice bar.

Spa Appointments

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There is so much to take in at Half Moon Bay that you will likely need some time to unwind. The first stop should be the spa, where locally based treatments will help you recharge. Reserve the Coastal Lavender Indulgence, which lets you relax in a warm, fragrant cocoon followed by a light massage, or the Redwood Forest Ritual, which uses earthy herbs and wood blends in a variety of treatments that include a hot poultice massage and a scalp massage. Or choose from the resort’s “secret” spa menu, an ever-changing and highly limited selection of extraordinary seasonal spa experiences.

Tee Times

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California’s coastline offers the best of what golf should have: scenic bluffs, unique terrain and holes that are challenging enough to keep you coming back. Reserve your tee time at the par-72 Ocean Course before you arrive — ranked among the best courses in California, it has a Scottish vibe and amazing ocean views. Just as worthy of your attention is the resort’s Old Course. Redesigned by Arthur Hills in 1999, it has fairways lined by cypress trees and a home hole that plays next to the ocean.

Outdoor Excursions

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Pillar Point Harbor is a protected harbor along the San Mateo coast. It is a refuge to brown pelicans and, in certain seasons, a place to spot majestic gray whales. You can sea kayak right out into its gorgeous waters with a guided tour or all on your own. Contact the concierge to set up your experience. You’ll also want to experience all the Coastal Equestrian Trail has to offer. Local guides at Sea Horse Ranch offer daily trail rides that skirt the fabulous shores of Northern California, giving you panoramic views to snap from your phone and the chance to gallop through fields of wildflowers.

Quintessential Northern California, Half Moon Bay is one long stretch of gorgeous, wild coastline. Developed as a beach resort in the early 1900s, this tiny coastal community that lies between San Francisco and Santa Cruz now attracts die-hard surfers and city dwellers looking for a laid-back weekend beach escape. While you can catch glimpses of Silicon Valley success here (multimillion-dollar digs along the beach), Main Street is very much trapped in time with knickknack shops and beloved eateries housed in historic buildings. Nature is the big draw, so pack a sweater (the ocean fog has a biting chill) and your hiking boots. Enjoy days spent exploring the coast’s rugged beauty, then retreat back to the secluded setting of The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay to watch as the sun dips behind the Pacific Ocean.

Two surfers ride a wave at sunset

Eco Adventures

The wild coast that hugs Half Moon Bay is home to otters, whales and countless species of birds. Hike or bike the area’s trails, and you’re sure to spot loons and kingbirds. Take to the sea by kayak, stand-up paddle board or surfboard, and you’ll likely meet a resident seal. Quiet evenings revolve around watching sunsets, sipping locally made beer and wine and enjoying fresh-caught seafood at both quaint eateries and fine-dining restaurants.



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A lighthouse on a cliff overlooking the ocean

The Perfect Weekend

The journey is part of the appeal of visiting Half Moon Bay. The drive along Highway 1 allows you to take in breathtaking coastal vistas that beckon multiple photo stops. Time slows down when you arrive in the sleepy seaside community of Half Moon Bay. You’ll spend days soaking up the fresh ocean air on coastal trails, kayak excursions and the golf greens. In the evenings, enjoy drinks by the fire pits at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay and let the ocean’s waves wash away your worries.


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