We're not sure what the answer is but the fact that Half Moon Bay exists is a marvel, and its a place to be cherished and preserved at all costs. If you live in the bigger beach cities & towns like so many Californians do, living in such places involves crowds, parking fees that price locals out of their own beaches and crime that is ever increasing.
Half Moon Bay has the mainland U.S.'s most challenging surfing, features tourism, world class hotels, golf, horseback riding, art galleries, great dining, a harbor, and even a brewery and a winery in town. The hotels such as The Beach House and Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay do attract a wealthy clientele that can spoil things for the locals if not kept in check. But the Ritz is on the outskirts of town and as a full service resort, tends to provide everything its discerning guests require.
Too bad of they miss out on the Half Moon Bay scene, because it comes as close as you can get to "classic California."
The famed Mavericks Surf contest, though facing challenges in its very existence, is like no other. The planners wait till the wavers are huge (sometimes up to 50 feet) and they call in the top 24 invited surfers to compete. Some surfers don't go because they're on the other side of the globe and can't arrive in time, but the challenges and waves are dream material for skilled surfers with the strength and intelligence to outfox and ride these monster waves that generally occur at least once a year offshore in a place called Mavericks.
Farming is an integral part of the local scene, too, and the culmination of the agricultural focus comes once a year at a huge Art and Pumpkin Festival. In addition to monster pumpkins being grown and competing for cash, the crowds for this pre-Halloween event are monstrous, too.
Dining is varied and focused on the green movement. Organic and locally grown produce are used by some local chefs, making for superb tastes and fresh ingredients.
For the non-surfing tourist visiting and staying in Half Moon Bay, some options include horseback riding, beach hikes, shopping downtown, sportfishing, pub hopping at night, and taking drives around the countryside and coast. To the south is Pigeon Point Lighthouse and to the north, Pacifica and Moss Beach, several places similar to Half Moon Bay. Located in San Mateo County, the San Mateo County beaches feature some of the last remaining public nude sunbathing places in California.
To the east is a must-see estate and
botanic garden in Woodside -- Filoli. Be
sure to check it out on a visit during
its open season in the spring, summer
Half Moon Bay Ritz Carlton features a must see Golf Experience with two course offerings allowing public play.
Pastorino Farm in Half Moon Bay is open to the public, featuring plants and flowers all year long, and a season Pumpkin Patch throughout the month of October.
In conjunction with the local farms selling their biggest and brightest pumpkins, Half Moon Bay celebrates with an annual Art and Pumpkin Festival. The event includes a giant World Pumpkin Weigh Off, attracting growers from all over for cash prizes.