If you find yourself in Northern California, Half Moon Bay is a destination you will not want to miss. With a variety of options to enjoy nature and its bounty, and some concerted effort from the Half Moon Bay Area Coastside Ecotourism Program, this coastal location is an ecophile’s delight.

Whale-watching and fishing on a boat

If ocean adventure is your thing, head for the harbor north of Half Moon Bay and pick an excursion tour that involves watching whales, dolphins, sea lions, porpoises and offshore bird species. During fishing season, feel the excitement of landing a catch on tours that allow salmon, rockfish, lingcod and albacore fishing.

Pillar Point Harbor. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Pillar Point Harbor. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Paddle at the the cove

For those craving calmer seas, kayaking or paddle boarding trips are available at the harbor to explore the cove over calm blue waters. Quality gear can be booked, along with single and tandem kayaks, and paddle boards. So gear up and head to Half Moon Bay for a memorable splash in the sea.

Photo: dailylifeofmojo – CC by 2.0 via Flickr

Photo: dailylifeofmojo – CC by 2.0 via Flickr

Farm-to-table delicacies

If words like fresh organic produce and fine dining make you smack your lips, Half Moon Bay is the place for you. Visit its family friendly pick-your-own farms or orchards and pick fresh certified organic fruits and vegetables. Or try any of the farm-to-table dining options widely available in the local restaurants.

Half moon bay strawberry picking. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Half moon bay strawberry picking. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Learn to make cheese

For cheese lovers, there are tours at local dairy farms where you can view cheese-making up close, enjoy a tasting session on the hayloft and nibble on fresh goat milk cheese. You can also have a picnic or dine on the farm with reservations.

Half moon bay gourmet. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Half moon bay gourmet. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Wine tasting

After your trip to the gorgeous beaches, head for some wine tasting at the award-winning local wineries in and around Half Moon Bay. With quaint settings, premium Californian wines and gourmet meals on offer, this excursion is as charming as it is delicious.

Half moon bay. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Half moon bay. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Birdwatching at Pescadero

Pescadero Marsh Natural Reserve adjacent to the State beach is a popular spot for birdwatchers. Its low wetland is a nesting ground and refuge for the long-legged blue herons and egrets. If bird watching is your thing, with several easy trails and a variety of birds and other wildlife to spot, this preserve is a delightful stop on your trip to Half Moon Bay.

Half moon bay tide pools. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Half moon bay tide pools. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Hiking the Montara Mountain

Calling all hikers, the 7.5 mile climb on the Montara Mountain trail off the Montara State Beach promises breathtaking views of the coastline below. The trail can be found off the Gray Whale cove and the climb is as gorgeous as it is invigorating.

Montarra beach. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Montarra beach. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Behold the Great Elephant Seal

One of the largest breeding colonies in the world for the elephant seal, the Ano Neuvo State Reserve is a draw for tourists from the world over. A treasure trove of wildlife — from the rare and endangered garter-snake and California red-legged frog to otters, harbor seals, and Steller sea lions taking up residence here. But the star attraction is the inimitable elephant seal, thousands of which return to breed and molt their skin on this beach. With the wildlife observable all year long, this destination is a must-see in Northern California.

Ano Nuevo State park. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Ano Nuevo State park. Photo: Visithalfmoonbay.org

Visit Halfmoonbaychamber.org/visiting-coast/ecotourism for tour suggestions and information on their Ecotourism Program participants.