San Mateo County Beaches
Pacifica State Beach: Surfing and Beach Play
Pacifica State Beach is one of the most popular surfing spots in San Mateo County. Its location in the middle of town provides easy access to places to eat and relax when you're tired of the sun.
Mavericks: Over-the-Top Surf
It's not really a beach, but a stretch of ocean where the monster waves break. If they get big enough, world-class surfers have 24 hours to get there for the surfing competition. The rest of the year, there's not much to see.
Half Moon Bay Beaches: Camping and Trails
Half Moon Bay State Beach encompasses several beaches in and around Half Moon Bay.
Cowell Ranch Beach: Prettiest 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.
San Gregorio State Beach: Scenic Location
A scenic beach formed at the intersection of San Gregorio Creek and the Pacific Ocean. The sand is often strewn with driftwood.
Pomponio State Beach: Scenic Location
A nice beach with wide sand lots of gently-sloping sand at the base of high sandstone bluffs. The small lagoon faces onto roaring surf.
Pebble Beach: Most Photogenic
We're not talking about the Pebble Beach down by Carmel with the famous golf course. This one is much smaller and less-known. Instead of the usual sand found along this stretch of coast, Pebble Beach is covered with small stones, making it a bit of a different place to experience the ocean.
Bean Hollow State Beach: Dog Friendly
Dogs are allowed here, as long as they stay on a leash.
James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve: Tide Pools
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.
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.