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Category Archives: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

10 Fun Things to Do Near Half Moon Bay

July 24, 2015 by Mill Rose Inn

things to do near half moon bay

Photo Credit: Ed Schipul / Flickr

Every inch of the Northern California coast is worth exploring, and if you have the time we certainly recommend you spend some of it driving up and down the coast and checking out all the great little towns and dramatic coastlines. If you happen to stop through this corner of the region, you will be quick to notice that there are many fun things to do near Half Moon Bay that will not only keep you entertained but will surely entice you back to explore yet more of the great activities. This quaint California town is full of a variety of pastimes from hiking and fishing, as well as more artsy and foodie fun to have.

6 Things to Do in Half Moon Bay

  1. Hiking in Half Moon Bay – While not the part of Northern California that is covered with the famed redwoods, there are plenty of places around Half Moon Bay where you can find groves of these gorgeous trees. Check out Big Basin State Park and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, both of which have numerous trails to explore.
  2. Fishing – There are many opportunities to get out on the water in the area, especially if you love fishing. Whether you’re a seasoned sport fisherman, or want to get out and learn some tricks of the trade, one of the area’s expert captains will be happy to take you out on a charter or fishing trip. To get a feel for the local fisherman scene head to Pillar Point Harbor where you can see all the fishing boats and even buy some catch right off the boat.
  3. Coastside Farmer’s Market – With locations in both Half Moon Bay and the town just north, Pacifica, the Coastside Farmer’s Market is a great place to get a feel for the area’s rich agricultural community, and commitment to eating locally and organically. You can also find lots of great local gifts to take home with you!
  4. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve – If the underwater world is of any interest to you, the tidal pools at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve will blow you away! Check their website for information on the tide schedules so you know when to visit to get the best view of the thousands of rare species living in this unique and protected habitat.
  5. Half Moon Bay Brewing – One of the best things to do in Half Moon Bay is simply to eat. For such a small town, it has an impressive culinary scene, and Half Moon Bay Brewing fits right into that mix. Serving delicious American comfort food and, of course, their house brews which range from classic staples to seasonal treats.
  6. Hit the Beach! – Being right on the coast, one of the most natural things to do in Half Moon Bay is to head to the beach. While the temperatures here are never scorchingly hot, and the water never quite warms up, the beaches are a fantastic place to spend some time outside. You may even catch one of those warm days where laying on the beach in a suit is certainly called for.
  7. Go Horseback Riding – During the summer months (and much of the rest of the year), the weather in Northern California is perfect for horseback riding! Experience Half Moon Bay’s beautiful scenery galloping on horseback along the endless coastline or riding among grassy meadows on cliffs overlooking the ocean.
  8. Visit Half Moon Bay Downtown – Just because you’re looking to be near Half Moon Bay doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be in it! Stroll through the historic downtown to find the hidden gems of local antiques and scrumptious Californian food. Shop the latest fashions, grab something to eat at a local hot spot, and stop by all the visitors’ must-see sites.
  9. Go Kayaking – A Pacific coast bay known for its giant surf, massive whale migrations and plethora of seaside restaurants serving up some of the best fresh seafood, it’s hard to avoid ocean-centered activities like kayaking when you visit. There are many ways to enjoy the water, and kayaking in Half Moon Bay is a favorite among visitors and locals alike.
  10. Visit Pigeon Point Lighthouse – Whether you’re looking for a nice place for a morning walk, a great beach to hang out on for a day, or to learn something about the area’s history, a visit the Pigeon Point Lighthouse will fulfill your desires.

For more ideas of things to do in Half Moon Bay, download this free vacation guide!

Take Advantage of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Tides

June 11, 2015 by Mill Rose Inn

fitzgerald marine reserve tides

Nancy Nehring / iStock / Thinkstock

In Moss Beach, California, about 15 minutes north of Half Moon Bay, visitors flock to witness the world shift caused by the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Tides. Thought to be one of the most biodiverse areas in the entire state, the pools are home to thousands of species that are best witnessed during low tides. This is a spectacular place to explore whether you’re a marine biology hobbyist or just enjoy beautiful ocean views and a stroll on the beach. This spot is definitely worth seeing if you’re in the area.

Explore the Tidal Pools

People have been coming to investigate this phenomenon since the early 1900s, and it is no less wonderful now than it was then. Be sure to check the tide pool chart when you are planning to visit the reserve to make sure that there will, in fact, be a low tide during daylight. While it often happens, it isn’t every day of the month. You can visit when it isn’t low tide, but you will see significantly more crawling and swimming creatures when the waters are shallower.

The tide pools are full of a variety of crab, anemone, starfish and octopus species, just to name a few. There are usually seals sunning on the beach, and the springtime is high time to see their adorable pups out alongside them. There are tours available throughout the day if you are hoping for some proper education on the natural wonders of the tide pools. There are numerous resources on the website that will prepare you in this way for your trip to the reserve, as well as educational videos. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is another good resource to learn about the wonders you will see while here.

Take Care

While there are many reasons to witness the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve tides change, there are a few things to keep in mind while here. The rarity of the ecosystem demands that guests take special care when heading out to witness the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve tides and what they leave behind when they head back out to sea. The reserve opens at 8 am each morning, and the closing times vary and are posted at the park. Dogs are not permitted at the park because of the of the area’s fragility, and for the same reason people are not allowed to take anything from the property. This is a place to be observed with eyes, and guests are even advised not to touch anything while here, and to tread tenderly. If you’re coming with a group of more than ten you are required to make a reservation.


If exploring the outdoors is a passion of yours, this area of Northern California is definitely for you. While the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve tides are just the beginning of the glorious wonders you can see in the San Francisco Bay Area, it also one of the most unique outdoor experiences you’ll find. From cypress and redwood forests to the great coastal mountains, there are many great things to do in Half Moon Bay. For more ideas, check out this free vacation guide.



Mingle with Nature at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

July 21, 2014 by Mill Rose Inn

Fitzgerald Marine ReserveThe Pacific coast of the US is full of beautiful places to visit and explore. During your stay at the Mill Rose Inn in Half Moon Bay, you can choose from an array of fabulous beaches and forests to view. One place you must check out if you want to get in touch with nature is Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in nearby Moss Beach. This intertidal area is home to a huge variety of aquatic organisms and full of opportunities to learn about the environment of this special place. Read on to find out what awaits you at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.


Tide Pools and Habitats

The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is famous for its tide pools as they are some of the best examples of such habitats in the state of California. It’s one of 34 California coastal habitats being designated as having “Special Biological Significance.” The species that inhabit the tide pools include: sea urchins, anemone, hermit crabs, various mollusks, and more. There are also beaches and coastal marsh habitats located on the reserve that are home to species such as sea lions, seals, terns, gulls, heron, and egret.



Two types of tours are offered at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. Tours led by the reserve staff, docents and volunteers offer and expert look at the environments of the different habitats. There is also a self-guided tour, a guide for which is available to help you navigate the reserve. To get the most out of your tour, you should arrive around low tide, as that is the best time to explore the tide pools. You can check the tour schedule and tide chart to determine the best time to plan your tour.



Fitzgerald Marine Reserve includes hiking trails, so you can explore the land on foot and discover all the flora and fauna in a natural display. There are three hiking trails in Fitzgerald Marine Reserve: the Bluff Trail, the Costal Trail, and the Cypress Trail. Each trail features amazing views of a cypress grove, sea bluffs, and the Pacific Ocean. There is a short segment of the California Coastal Trail which is accessible to the disabled, bicycles, and horses.


Classes, Seminars, and Workshops

The staff and docents of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve sometimes lead workshops, classes, and seminars focused on nature study. These activities are in keeping with the mission of the reserve to protect and preserve the tide pools, beaches and coastal marshes within its boundaries. They also help educate the public on the importance of these environments.



As you plan your visit to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, be sure to book your stay at our Half Moon Bay bed and breakfast. Located less than 15 minutes away from the reserve, the Mill Rose Inn offers elegant accommodations and luxurious amenities. Plus, our gardens are beautifully kept and full of color all year, so you can continue to enjoy the outdoors when you’re relaxing at the inn after a day at the reserve. When you choose Mill Rose Inn, you can be sure your getaway will be one to remember!

Photo courtesy angela n.