• sunset at tunitas

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible".  -Dalai Lama

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San Mateo County Coastal Beaches

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Whether you wish to surf the waves or walk the beach, coastal Northern California is renowned for the beauty and majesty of the Pacific Ocean. Nowhere is that more evident than on the coast around Pescadero California. High bluffs, long, deserted sand beaches and tide pools bounding with life are everywhere. A keen eye will see dolphin, otter and seals frolicing and feeding right along the shoreline. During the migrating season (Oct- Dec, Feb- April,) humpback and gray whales also venture into local kelp beds close below the bluffs.

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Above the waves and along the bluffs you will see a plethora of flying creatures, from prehistoric looking pelicans to eagles; hawks, cormorants, ducks, egrets, kites, falcon, and heron.

  • California State Beach Warning
  • Bean Hollow California State Beach

The State of California, through the power vested in the Coastal Commission, has declared for all the right to access the beaches. Therefore, a careful look will reveal many paths available to the public (you!) for access to the sand and surf. We have only listed the major beaches in the area, but many of the paths lead to secluded beaches not listed here. The whole coast is a beach, EXPLORE IT!

However, a warning; many of the beaches around Pescadero have strong currents and swimming should be done with the utmost caution. Always beware of the surf. Many an unsuspecting tide pool adventurer has been swept off the rocks by a rogue wave.

Finally, tide pools are a very fragile environment, so please tread lightly ..

Please don't hesitate to ask your Inn Keepers for information and advice.

Pescadero State Beach

The nearest beach to the Inn is Pescadero State Beach. Located directly at the end of Pescadero Creek Road, there are three parking lots to choose from. Two miles of sandy beach ends in a rocky outcropping that offers a variety of tide pools. During the week you will often have the beach to yourself.

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The area where Pescadero Creek empties into the Pacific Ocean is a great palce to fish for salmon in-season.  It is catch and release all along the coast but that doesn't deter the many fly fisherman from testing their skills against the tastiest fish in the ocean.

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Beaches Near Pescadero

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Beaches to the South of Pescadero

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  • Path to one of many nearby unnamed beaches-great for dog walking

Many wonderful beaches await those willing to explore all along the San Mateo coast. Just one mile south of Pescadero Creek Road on Highway One, located off a turnout, is an unmarked beach that offers privacy and wonderful tidepools.  In addition dogs are permitted on leash.

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Pebble Beach

  • Bean Hollow California State Beach

The first beach on the coast south of Pescadero State Beach is Pebble Beach. Named after the many semi-precious stones -agates, opals and carnelians- this beach offers both tide pools and a sand beach.

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  • Bridge on trail from Pebble beach to Bean Hollow


A trail about one mile long connects Pebble Beach to Bean Hollow State Beach, my personal favorite.  The many coves offer great protection from the ocean breezes that abound on the coast.

An interesting hike south of Bean Hollow State Beach on the rocks leads to the many secluded coves along the coast.

Bean Hollow State Beach

  • Bean Hollow State Beach

Last year a large Blue Whale washed up in one of the coves at Bean Hollow State Beach. It was pregnant at the time and it's fetus was also floating nearby.

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Pigeon Point Lighthouse Beach


Next up heading south along the coast on Highway One is Pigeon Point Lighthouse Beach, just north of Pigeon Point Lighthouse.  There is a small sand beach with lots of private nooks and crannies to escape the ocean breeze. Also a very good tide pool area on the northern end of the beach.

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Lighthouse tours are offered on weekends and there are two decks overlooking the ocean that are an excellent whale watching spot. Many have said their wedding vows there.

  • Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero, California

Gazos Creek Beach

  • Gazos creek at beach


About two miles south of Pigeon Point Lighthouse Beach on Highway One is Gazos Creek Beach . This is one of the larger sand beaches that stretch south to Año Nuevo State Reserve , where elephant seals abound.

Be sure to stop for a bite to eat and tasty beer brewed on site at the Highway 1 Brewery.

Ano Nuevo State Beach

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A must see stop that draws folks from around the globe, Ano Nuevo State Beach is the laRgest elephant seal rookery in Northern California. Watch the males fight for the ladies during the mating season which runs from November until March. During that time more than 2000 seals inhabit the beaCH.

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Waddell Beach at Big Basin State Park

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  • Waddell Creek east from bridge


Finally, on the Santa Cruz - San Mateo County line is Waddell Beach and Creek. This is a favorite spot for wind surfers and hang gliders who soar on the Pacific Ocean breezes.

In addition, across Highway 1 from the beach is a wonderful hike or bike ride to Berry Creek Falls in Big Basin State Park. Plan ahead if you will be hiking as it is about a 3-hour hike.

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Beaches North of Pescadero

Tunitas Creek Beach

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  • tunitas beach GREAT SHOT

Coming south on Highway One from Half Moon Bay located just south of the Tunitas Creek Bridge is Tunitas Creek Beach.  Getting to it requires a bit of a hike down to the beach but it is well worth the effort.  High bluffs surround the beach creating a wonderful 'middle of nowhere' feeling.

San Gregorio State Beach

  • san gregorio beach San Gregorio, CA

South of Tunitas Creek Beach on the San Mateo coast is San Gregorio Beach, at the intersection of Highway One and Highway 84.  One of the larger beaches on the San Mateo coast, it tends to attract the largest crowds on weekends.  For those a little more adventurous there is a "Clothing Optional" beach just north of San Gregorio Beach.  Take the frist driveway north of San Gregorio Beach and be prepared to pay five dollars per vehicle for parking.

  • san gregorio crk at beach look east
  • San Gregorio beach pic nic table

Pomponio State Beach

The last beach before reaching Pescadero State Beach going south on Highway One is Pomponio State Beach.  This is one of the smaller beaches in the coastal San Mateo area. However it none the less offers a fine spot to relax and picnic while you look for whales going by, as well as seals and porpoises.

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  • Pomponio looking north

So no matter whether you go north or south, beautiful beaches of coastal Northern California await you!

"Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile"   - J. Garcia