They say that Saturdays are for adventures and Sundays are for brunch, but I'd have to disagree. I say when the adventure itch hits you, go for it, no matter what day the calendar states. A cloudy Sunday may not seem ideal to the normal traveler looking for blue skies and beach hopping along Highway One, but for our girls trip it was just the kind of low-key Sunday we were looking for. To escape the madness of last month's Bay To Breakers, we ventured on the 1 with no exact plan but good eats, interesting discoveries and a glass of wine overlooking the pacific ocean at one of our favorite spots.
As soon as we got left San Francisco, we knew we wanted to stop for coffee to warm our frigid bones from the outside 55 degree chill (our heat waves in the city are clearly long gone, and the summer fog seemingly rolled in almost overnight). We pulled over in Pacifica at P-Town Cafe, a down to earth coffee shop transformed from an old train car that had always caught my eye every time I embarked on a coastal day trip. Once we got our coffees, we were quick to get back in the car and continue on the highway in search for serenity and beauty. Although we quickly passed through Pacifica, if you are looking to explore more of the town, visit Mori Point for stunning views and a hike, wine taste downtown at A Grape in The Fog or simply chill out at Linda Del Mar Beach.
Once we traveled through the tunnel and passed Gray Whale Cove State Beach, we made a quick stop at Montara Lighthouse. When you spot Montara Beach to your right and McNee Ranch to your left, the driveway to the lighthouse is just a mile or two south, so be sure you are paying attention or you may miss it! Look out for a sign that says "Hostel" then be prepared to turn right. Once you park, you can observe the lighthouse up close and personal. Although it is much smaller than Pescadero's Pigeon Point Lighthouse (about 45 minutes south), it is still a nice opportunity to stretch your legs and take a few good photographs. If you're feeling adventurous, look into staying at the hostel, which is located on the same grounds as the lighthouse to wake up to the sounds of crashing waves.
Just a block away from the bakery is an outdoor garden, DIY center and shop comprised of ocean treasures, interesting kites and other oddities. Somewhat new to Half Moon Bay, this space known as Oddyssea breeds creatively for all ages. Create your own terrarium, write a message in a bottle using a vintage typewriter, stamp your own dog tag necklace, and browse all things sea in the shop next door. Created and run by husband and wife duo Mike and Ellen Harding, this place is a wonderland for both creative adults and adventurous kids.
As we continued on, we stopped in at Miramar Beach Restaurant for Clam Chowder with a side of misty ocean views. This small community along the coast is home to beautiful houses and people casually walking and riding their bikes in the streets along the water's edge. We were joking along the way about how much charm a space can have with string lights, so I think that's one of the reasons while I enjoyed the atmosphere at the restaurant (and the heat lamps and fire pits didn't hurt either!) Although the restaurant is technically located in the town of Half Moon Bay, the vibe is much different then HMB's Main Street. Another great opportunity to seize on your trip along Highway One is to stop at the many roadside stands selling local and fresh produce. Be sure to bring cash!
After a bite to eat at Miramar, we headed the 4 miles south to explore Main Street. The last time I was on in this part of town was for the annual Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, so believe me when I say this day was much simpler and more peaceful. A few must stops are HMB Wine and Cheese Company, where you can get all your supplies for a beach picnic or simply stop in and sip wine- A win-win in my book! Across the street you'll spot Half Moon Bay Bakery, where the sweet scents of sugar cookies, donuts and breads will lure you inside.
After our time spend strolling Main Street, we headed back North to casually stop in at Moss Beach Distillery in time for an adult beverage at the fire pits overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There is something majestic about the distillery when the fog shines bright white and covers the tips of the surrounding cypress trees. It's usually crowded and seating can be limited, so be ready to cuddle up around the fire and perhaps make some new friends. The vibe is super cool here, reminding you of how stunning and one of a kind the Northern California coast line really is.
Are you looking for even more hidden gems and small towns worth stopping for? Check out my complete Highway One Guide for even more to do along the coast! Have you ever been to Moss Beach Distillery? Where do you stop along Highway One for photo opportunities? Do you want more road trip inspiration? Be sure to follow my daily adventures on Instagram!