Honeymooning in Half Moon Bay – California Coastal Trail

Hi friends, welcome back! Jon and I are officially back from our honeymoon and I have SO MUCH to share from all our festivities and travels. I’m still waiting the rest of our wedding pictures, so I will start with our honeymoon and then circle back to the rehearsal day and wedding. If you haven’t already, you can see our sneak peek of wedding pictures here. (P.S. Thank you all for the kind well wishes and congratulations on my last post, it meant a lot to us! 🙂 )

Originally Jon and I planned to go to the Amalfi Coast for our honeymoon, but life had other plans for us. In March 2021 we were still trying to decide where to go… We didn’t know if we’d be vaccinated or how the world would look, so we wanted to plan something we felt comfortable with. Jon and I floated the idea of the Smoky Mountains, Asheville, NC, Glacier National Park, a Colorado Road trip, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Park City, UT and Jackson Hole, WY. California was our ultimate decision so we didn’t have to worry about snow or mud season on our honeymoon. I chose Half Moon Bay so we could relax on the beach a few days, Lake Tahoe for beautiful hikes along the lake, and Yosemite for its majestic mountains. I also planned a mix of adventure and relaxing because we aren’t the type of people that can just sit at the beach all day. So now that you have a little backstory, let’s get this party started!

Jon and I flew out of Detroit late Sunday afternoon and had a pleasantly uneventful flight to San Francisco. We picked up our rental car and headed about thirty minutes south to our Airbnb in Half Moon Bay. Our cozy room was located right across the street from the ocean with unobstructed views! We fell asleep to the sound of the ocean hitting the shore each night, a real-life sound machine. This was incredibly peaceful after all the excitement from the wedding! We loved this room and would highly recommend staying here if you’re in HMB!

We were quite famished from our travel day, so for dinner we drove to Taqueria La Mordida and ordered some delicious tacos and quesadillas. Jon and I passed by a few times later and this place always had a line! I’d highly recommend checking it out.

After having a slow morning, we set off walking along part of the California Coastal Trail from our Airbnb to Pillar Point (it is the far peninsula with the white bubble in the second picture below – about three miles away) . The coast was a little chilly with the wind, but the fresh sea air and sunshine felt amazing! There’s something about being near the water that is so peaceful.

People surfed in the bay, but we dipped our toes in the water and it was freezing!

We stopped by the pier to check out all the boats and stumbled upon some seals snoozing on the dock! I’ve never seen wild seals before, so this was exciting. They were incredibly loud; we could hear them way before we could see them.

  Jon and I made it to the peninsula and checked out Maverick’s Beach where an annual surfing tournament is held.

Afterwards we headed back to Sam’s Chowder House for lunch. All the walking made us extremely hungry! We got a great seat overlooking the ocean and our massive bowl of clam chowder came almost seconds after we ordered. The hot soup with the chilly breeze was the perfect combination!


Jon and I both ordered The Naked lobster rolls and they were delicious! I even liked it better than the ones we had in Maine. This restaurant constantly wins awards such as OpenTable Diner’s Choice Award 2020, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and it was on the list in Food & Wines – 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America. I can confirm that it lived up to the hype. Jon and I were both glad we ate this at the end of our walk or we wouldn’t have made it very far… we were stuffed!!

We continued our adventures and drove to JV Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in search of seals and tide pools. The tide pools are home to algae, crabs, sponges, sea stars, mollusks, and some fish. People can’t get too close because there were baby seals, but luckily my camera can see a little better than me 🙂 In the second picture below, the white blobs on the second harbor are seals,in  the third picture you can see them best.

The JV Fitzgerald Marine Reserve also has walking trails that we explored for a closer look at the seals from above. The fog rolled back in so the scenery seems very moody!

All smiles all day! I only look slightly ghostly because of all my sunscreen. Funnily enough, my hands were the only part of me exposed all day and got severely burned! You’d think I’d be safe in long sleeves and pants, but they were so swollen for a few days after…

Next, we headed to Pillar Point Bluff for our final stop of the day. We strolled a 1.7 mile trail that goes along the cliffs above where we walked along the beach earlier. The cliffs are slowly eroding so you have to be extremely careful on parts of the trail. I cautiously peered over the edge a few times and it was a long way down…

We ended our first day honeymooning with over 22k steps, HGTV, and seafood paella from Evangeline Cuisine. The dish contained shrimp, calamari, clams, mussels, and scallops on a large bed of rice. I am a picky eater, but I was brave and tried everything in the paella and it was yummy! Paella is not my favorite dish, but if you like it, you’d love this!

Jon and I had an incredible first day of our honeymoon! I hope these posts radiate joy and put a smile on your face! Stay tuned for part two of Honeymooning in Half Moon Bay 

28 thoughts on “Honeymooning in Half Moon Bay – California Coastal Trail

  1. Wow! Great photos!! I love those small sandy bays and how cool was the situation of that BnB!! It is funny to hear you from NY saying California is chilly and I’d be careful about your return trip to Maine now that you’ve said that the CA chowder is better! 😉

    1. Thank you!! That is funny – maybe because the wedding/ny was so hot before we left 😂 when I think of the beach I think of a hot Florida day! Very true haha that was a bold statement 😅

      1. You are so welcome! I am glad that you both had an excellent time and I hope married life suits you both! Wishing you many years of joy and happiness!! 🙂 Just remember, it’s ok to park the ego sometimes and life really is too short to sweat the small stuff! 😉

      2. Thank you so much!!! 🥰 that is great advice, I appreciate it!

      3. Haha, you are most welcome 🙂 And I know you probably have a mountain of well-intentioned advice but I would offer those two bits as the ones that will keep you happy as you are now 😉

  2. Your honeymoon looks spectacular, and congratulations on the wedding! HMB, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite are fantastic choices. How long is your honeymoon because there’s a ton of wonderful stuff to do in each place. Your photos and descriptions brightened up the day.

    1. Thank you!! We are back in NYC now, but we spent about two days in HMB and 5 in both Lake Tahoe and Yosemite with some drive time in there. We did a lot in the two weeks, was great to get away and be on a plane again!

  3. You are in a mood where everything seems perfect but actually everything is perfect, the ocean view, the beach, the sun, the boats, the hikes, the food, all great moments to remember. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Congrats again!! Love your first part now I can’t wait for the second part haha 🍿 Thanks for sharing! I’ve never heard of Half Moon Bay, now I’ll know when I’ll swing by Cali! 🙂

    1. Thank you!! 🥰 yay! You won’t have to wait long for past two 🙌🏻 I had never heard of it before our trip either but it’s a cool place!

  5. “…a real-life sound machine (the ocean)…” Love that descriptor! We lived in the little town of San Carlos, on the S.F. Peninsula just south of the airport, for the first five years of our marriage. I wish we’d visited Half Moon Bay more often. Your pictures make the area look spectacular.

    1. Thank you, Dave! That is a cool place to live for a bit! As people have told me with Italy, Half Moon Bay will always be there for you to visit 😃

  6. Congratulations once again and this seems like quite a trip, glad you guys took some time out. The photographs are stunning and the places you visited are a kind. Stay gorgeous!

    1. Thank you so much!! 🥰 i am so glad we were able to take our honeymoon!

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