Gay and Lesbian Travel
Moss Beach and the Moss Beach Distillery
By Dave Paisley and Heli Luoma, TAG Approved
Moss Beach is less than an hour’s drive from much of the San Francisco Bay Area, and a perfect destination for a day trip along the coast, or a weekend or mid-week getaway. For the LGBT community, you will find plenty of gay-friendly businesses and a surprisingly large number of gay and lesbian residents and travelers. On a recent trip we found gay couples at almost every place we visited.
What to do:
The first stop should be a visit to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve to explore tide pools. Try to time your arrival to low tide, and explore the tide pools and the otherwise hidden underwater world. It is easy to loose track of time when exploring the colorful shells, rocks and sea animals. This is a fascinating experience for everyone, including kids, so it is a great place for LGBT families.
The town of Moss Beach is a nice place for a stroll. Once you get off Highway One, there are limited businesses in Moss Beach, but the town transforms into a picturesque seaside village with super-cute bungalows. And you can overnight right in town at the beautiful Seal Cove Inn, with charming backyard gardens.
Of course, the main attraction of Moss Beach is… the beach. This small strip of sand nestled up to sea cliffs is wildly popular on sunny days, and equally romantic on foggy days. Park at the end of the road in the lot right next to the Moss Beach Distillery, and a trail takes you down to the beach (watch for the giant Moss Beach Distillery sign along Highway One and follow the directions).
On your way to the beach, check out the Cypress Flower Farm just as you turn off Highway One. The nursery is a great place to walk around and purchase a plant or two to take home. Besides beautiful flowers you can purchase all kinds of cute and curious decorations for the house. This store is definitely worth visiting, and even reserving a bit more time than usual for a nursery. On a beautiful day it is a luxury to enjoy a cup of citrus juice offered free by the store, and sit outside in the sun among the scenery and scents of the flowers.
Lunch at the Moss Beach Distillery is a must. The restaurant is perfect for lunch and an easy walk from the beach or a few minutes’ drive from the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. The back patio offers a casual fish and chip and more menu with amazing views off the cliffs above Moss Beach.
About a five minute drive away is Princeton-by-the-Sea. The fishing town is fun to explore and offers a selection of restaurants, nightlife, surf shops and stores, but the big attraction here is the world famous surfing destination - the Mavericks. The BIG waves are seasonal, but even in summer it’s fun to see a place with so much surfer history. You’ll find an easy walking trail to the beach starting at the Pillar Point Marsh parking area. When we were there we spotted a few gay couples on the beach, enjoying an afternoon snooze or just having fun in the sun.
Also as far as beaches go, we should mention that San Gregorio Beach (a very famous gay beach for Bay Area residents), is only a 20 minute drive south of Moss Beach. So for a weekend stay, you could spend one day on Moss Beach and one day at San Gregorio.
Dinner at the TAG Approved Moss Beach Distillery is a great place to end your adventure. And even if you are here for only a day trip, it can be a good idea to stop off for dinner, and let all that beach traffic clear.
For dinner, the Moss Beach Distillery offers two options. First is a more formal experience in the romantic restaurant, with picture windows overlooking the ocean. We especially love the lighting in the restaurant at sunset. The fog and/or sunsets taking over outside the window, the fire pits on the terrace, the ocean in the distance and the candle light in the interior creates a magical atmosphere. Another option is to grab a casual bite on the back patio, complete with fire pits and snuggle blankets—and if you time it right—a picture perfect sunset. But even after sunset, the fire pits keep couples warm and cozy while enjoying food and drink. We found the food fantastic, and the entrees generous.
Check out the menu at Moss Beach Distillery here:
While at the Distillery, watch for the ghost of “the blue lady.” Legend has is that the Moss Beach Distillery is haunted and the ghost appears to lucky customers. If you do not see her or experience anything out of ordinary, perhaps “blue lady” had a day off. She deserves a vacation… and so do you! Moss Beach is a great short getaway for everyone in the LGBT community.
Dave Paisley and Heli Luoma