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Half Moon Bay Revisited

by Whitney Wilde, Coastal Canine Magazine

"This trip feeds my soul," my friend Marilyn commented as we drove up Highway 1 to Half Moon Bay. Time zips by on the 50-mile drive north from Santa Cruz. On our right are rolling hills, redwood groves, marshlands, brussel sprouts, berries and farm stands (delicious pie at Swanton Berry farm!). To the left are beautiful beaches, rocky cliffs, windsurfers, and if we are lucky, whales.

dog-friendly outdoor dining patio with firepits overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Half Moon Bay

Today, 18 dogs and 14 humans from Woofers & Walkers are taking a day trip to Half Moon Bay. Come along with us on our one-day vacation.

World famous surf spot, Mavericks, is my favorite place to walk. One winter, the roar of 40-foot waves vibrated my whole body. Starting in a small parking lot, walk along the Pillar Point Marsh (keep your eye out for the fallen tree carved with whales, dolphins, and fish), past the mouth of the harbor (and the memorial to surfers who have died here), to the beach. There are soooo many seashells here! Opalescent turban snails, cowries and rare sea urchin shells! This is an on-leash beach, but don't be surprised to see dogs running free.

You might also want to check out the Half Moon Bay Dog Park at the end of Wavecrest Avenue adjacent to Smith Field. It is a local's favorite. This is a 16,000 square foot fenced-in, off-leash park run by volunteers. It is a great place to bring lunch then watch your dog romp across the well maintained bark surface.

After a day at the beach, there is no better place than Moss Beach Distillery to watch the sunset and get some good grub. Originally a speakeasy during Prohibition, the dog-friendly patio has fabulous fireplaces overlooking the ocean (but be sure to go inside and check out the beautiful stained glass windows). The Distillery has a dog menu, priced in bones, and the burger patties (5 bones) were a huge hit with all our pups. The crab & avocado quesadilla was heavenly and made me want to go back again and again. No complaints from any humans or dogs. As the sun set over the ocean, we sat around the many fireplaces, wrapped in warm wool blankets provided by the restaurant. The dogs settled all around us, tired from a day of running the beach. A perfect end to a perfect day - our bellies and our souls were full.

This was just a day trip and a small sample of what Half Moon Bay offers dogs and their people. Spend the weekend at one of the dog-friendly hotels and take advantage of all the many restaurants with your pooch in Half Moon Bay.

There are many places to eat and sleep with your pooch in Half Moon Bay. Check out the Dog-Friendly Traveling Canine link at

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Moss Beach Distillery
140 Beach Way
Moss Beach, CA 94038