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Top 8 Dog Friendly Beaches in Half Moon Bay: Off & On-Leash Places to Go

Written by: Greg Iacono

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

happy dog running at the beach

Top 8 Dog Friendly Beaches in Half Moon Bay: Off & On-Leash Places to Go

A little more than 28 miles south of San Francisco, CA, is the gorgeous town of Half Moon Bay. Known for its charm, beauty, and magnificent location between the Pacific Ocean and Santa Cruz Mountains, Half Moon Bay is a traveler’s delight. Surfers from around the globe make their way to the area for the spectacular conditions, and the beaches are truly stunning. The town is well known for its delicious cuisine, locally made wine, quaint shops, and laid-back southern California vibe.

If you’re planning a visit to Half Moon Bay with your dog in tow, you might wonder which beaches are dog-friendly in and around the town. Lucky for you, we’ve listed eight of the best dog-friendly beaches in and near Half Moon Bay. Three are in Half Moon bay, while the other five are close by.


Top 8 Dog-Friendly Beaches in Half Moon Bay, California

1. Montara State Beach

️ Address: Montara, CA 94019
Open Times: 8:00 am until sunset
Cost: Parking fee $2.00 per hour
Off-Leash Allowed?: No
  • Your dog must be on a leash at all times
  • Leashes can’t be more than 6 feet in length
  • The water is freezing most of the year
  • Collecting shells is not allowed
  • This beach is popular with surfers
  • Trails from Montara State beach lead to McNee Ranch
  • There’s no water available anywhere on the beach

2. Pillar Point Harbor

️ Address: 4000 Cabrillo Hwy N, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Open Times: 8:00 am until sunset
Cost: Parking fee $2.00 per hour
Off-Leash Allowed?: No
  • Leash laws here are strictly enforced.
  • There’s an excellent fishing pier nearby
  • The beach is enclosed in a sea wall and very safe for dogs of all sizes
  • Lots of places to see, things to do, and restaurants nearby
  • Many people come to this beach with their dogs
  • There’s a boat launch nearby if you come with your boat

3. Poplar Beach

️ Address: Poplar St, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Open Times: 8:00 am until sunset
Cost: Parking fee $2.00 per hour
Off-Leash Allowed?: No
  • Both dogs and horses are allowed on the beach
  • There are several restaurants within walking distance
  • Many people let their dogs off-leash, but there’s a fine if you get caught
  • It’s a steep walk down to the beach and up to the parking lot
  • Porta-potties available for humans, but no water for dogs
  • You can park without paying, but the local police do check and give tickets if you don’t

4. Bean Hollow State Beach

️ Address: 12119 Cabrillo Hwy, Pescadero, CA
Open Times: 8:00 am until sunset
Cost: N/A
Off-Leash Allowed?: No
  • There are two parking lots to use this beach, but only one is dog-friendly
  • Swimming can be risky because of rip currents and cold water
  • There’s no collecting of anything allowed, including shells and driftwood
  • No water for dogs is available, but there are porta-potties
  • The views from the beach are spectacular, and it’s very clean
  • Lots of tide pools make walks with your dog interesting

5. Esplanade Beach

️ Address: 360 Esplanade Ave, Pacifica, CA
Open Times: 5:00 am until sunset
Cost: None
Off-Leash Allowed?: Yes
  • One of the biggest beaches in the area with lots of room to run around
  • The beach is closed on Sundays and Tuesdays
  • The trails down to the beach provide great exercise and beautiful views
  • The only off-leash beach near Half Moon Bay
  • Off-leash area is at the north end of the beach
  • The water is cold and runs fast, so be careful with smaller dogs

6. Fort Funston Beach

️ Address: 206 Fort Funston Rd, San Francisco, CA
Open Times: 7:00 am until 9:00 pm
Cost: N/A
Off-Leash Allowed?: Yes
  • Reviews call this the best beach in the area for dogs and fun
  • The hike down and back up from the beach is a bit much for some dogs
  • Very popular dog beach with lots of dogs on most days
  • Off-leash is allowed if your dog is well-trained with voice commands
  • It can get cold quickly, so bring a jacket with you
  • Bring lots of water because they don’t offer any on the beach
  • Views from the trails are spectacular

7. Ocean Beach

️ Address: 1095 Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA
Open Times: 7:00 am until 9:00 pm
Cost: None
Off-Leash Allowed?: Yes
  • Times and rules for off-leash are confusing, so be careful
  • The sunsets here are some of the best in California
  • Parking, like anywhere in the area, gets full quickly
  • There’s no water on the beach for dogs to drink
  • Lots of stuff washes up, so be careful your pup doesn’t eat anything harmful
  • It’s a very popular dog beach, especially on the weekend

8. Pacifica State Beach (Linda Mar)

️ Address: 1416 9th St, Pacifica, CA
Open Times: 5:00 am until 10:30 pm
Cost: $7.00 for 4 hours
Off-Leash Allowed?: Yes
  • The most popular beach in the entire area
  • Most locals say that if you have a leash in your hand, you’re OK
  • There are some spots for food and water very close by
  • Very popular beach for surfing and boogie boarding
  • The rip currents are strong, so be careful swimming
  • There are many rocks on parts of the beach


Final Thoughts

Only three beaches on our list are actually in Half Moon Bay while the other five are all close enough to visit. Every beach except one has strict leash rules, but from the online reviews, it seems that well-behaved dogs (and their humans) don’t have too many problems. Whichever beach you choose, have a fantastic time in Half Moon Bay! When the sun’s out and the sky’s blue, there is no better place to be with your favorite canine in all of Central California!

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Featured Image Credit: LyAn Voyages, Unsplash

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