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San Mateo County Beaches

San Mateo County has more nice beaches than most places along the California coast, and many are lightly visited. They're listed in order from north to south.

Ano Nuevo State Beach: Elephant Seals and Sex on the Beach
The big attraction here happens in the winter, when the female elephant seals come ashore to have their pups, followed by the males who bellow and fight, causing quite an uproar. The rest of the year, the beach is pretty but unremarkable.

Clothing Optional Beaches in San Mateo County
You'll find two highly-rated beaches in San Mateo where clothing is optional and you can bare it all.

Cowell Ranch Beach
Cowell Ranch Beach is one of the prettiest on the San Mateo Coast, a small, curving stretch of golden sand protected by sheltering cliffs in the middle of an area that's been a ranch since the late 1800s.

Half Moon Bay Beaches
All the beaches in an around the town of Half Moon Bay are here.

James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
If you're looking for some of the best tide pooling on the California coast, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is the place to find it. With lots of craggy rocks just below the surface, it's almost like a giant aquarium at low tide.

Pacifica State Beach
Pacifica State Beach is one of the most popular surfing spots in San Mateo County, located in the middle of the town of Pacifica.

Pebble Beach
It's not the one down in Carmel with all the fancy golf courses. This one is a nice little beach, but covered with small stones instead of sand.

San Gregorio State Beach
A scenic beach, formed San Gregorio Creek flows into the Pacific Ocean. The sand is often strewn with driftwood.

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