Half Moon Bay, California

Half Moon Bay, California
City of Half Moon Bay
—  City  —
Beach in Half Moon Bay

Location in San Mateo County and the state of California
Coordinates: 37°27′32″N 122°26′13″W / 37.45889°N 122.43694°W / 37.45889; -122.43694Coordinates: 37°27′32″N 122°26′13″W / 37.45889°N 122.43694°W / 37.45889; -122.43694
Country  United States
State  California
County San Mateo
Incorporated July 15, 1959
 – Mayor Marina Fraser[citation needed]
 – City Manager Michael Dolder[citation needed]
 – Total 6.444 sq mi (16.692 km2)
 – Land 6.424 sq mi (16.639 km2)
 – Water 0.020 sq mi (0.053 km2)  0.32%
Elevation 72 ft (22 m)
Population (2010)
 – Total 11,324
 – Density 1,757.3/sq mi (678.4/km2)
  United States Census Bureau
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 – Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 94019
Area code(s) 650
FIPS code 06-31708
GNIS feature ID 0277528
Website http://www.half-moon-bay.ca.us

Half Moon Bay is a coastal city in San Mateo County, California, USA. Its population was 11,324 as of the 2010 census. Immediately at the north of Half Moon Bay is the Pillar Point Harbor and the unincorporated community of Princeton-by-the-Sea.



Half Moon Bay is located at 37°27′32″N 122°26′13″W / 37.458840°N 122.436848°W / 37.458840; -122.436848,[2] approximately 25 miles (40 km) south of San Francisco, 10 miles (16 km) west of San Mateo, and 45 miles (72 km) north of Santa Cruz. Neighboring towns include Montara, Moss Beach, and El Granada to the north and Purissima, San Gregorio, and Pescadero to the south. Primary access is via State Route 1 (the Cabrillo Highway) from the north and south and State Route 92 from the east.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.4 square miles (17 km2), of which, 6.4 square miles (17 km2) of it is land and 0.02 square miles (0.052 km2) of it (0.32%) is water.

It is situated on a bay of the same name. Major local industries include agriculture (houseplants, floriculture, Christmas trees, pumpkins, artichokes), fishing, and tourism. Historically, Half Moon Bay had been known as San Benito and Spanishtown.

A popular spot at Half Moon Bay is the 'Jetty,' or as it is sometimes called, 'The Breakwater.' This is a man-made break with unusual waves shaped by reflections from the breakwater at Pillar Point Harbor. Streams in Half Moon Bay include Frenchmans Creek, Pilarcitos Creek and Naples Creek.


Half Moon Bay usually has mild weather throughout the year. Hot weather is rare; the average annual days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher is only 0.2 days. Cold weather is also rare with an annual average of 2.5 days with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. Typical of central California, most of the rain falls from November to April. The normal annual rainfall is 27.96 inches (710.2 mm). Snowfall along the coast in Half Moon Bay has never been measurable; however, snow flurries were observed on December 12, 1972, and February 5, 1976. There is often fog and overcast during the night and morning hours, usually clearing to offshore during the afternoon. Persistent sea breezes help to moderate the climate along the coast; farther from the ocean, in places such as Pilarcitos Creek, days are often warmer and nights cooler than on the coast.

January is the coolest month with an average high of 58.0 °F (14.4 °C) and an average low of 43.4 °F (6.3 °C). September is the warmest month with an average high of 66.5°F (19.2°C) and an average low of 52.0 °F (11.1 °C). The highest temperature ever recorded in Half Moon Bay is 96°F (36 °C), which occurred on May 16, 2008.[3] On December 3, 1983, calm conditions, low humidity, and clear skies produced a low of 18 °F (-7.8 °C).

The most rainfall recorded in Half Moon Bay in one month was 15.70 inches (398.8 mm) in February 1998. The heaviest 24 hour rainfall was 5.33 inches (135 mm) on January 4, 1982. There is an average of 94.6 days with measurable rainfall.[4]

Climate data for Half Moon Bay, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F 58.0 58.8 59.1 60.7 61.3 63.4 64.6 65.6 66.5 65.0 61.6 58.2 61.9
Average low °F 43.4 44.3 44.6 44.8 47.5 49.9 52.0 53.2 52.0 48.8 45.7 43.4 47.5
Precipitation inches 5.55 4.91 4.36 1.77 0.79 0.26 0.16 0.27 0.44 1.82 3.53 4.10 27.96
Average high °C 14.4 14.9 15.1 15.9 16.2 17.4 18.1 18.7 19.2 18.3 16.4 14.6 16.6
Average low °C 6.3 6.8 7.0 7.1 8.6 9.9 11.1 11.8 11.1 9.3 7.6 6.3 8.6
Precipitation mm 141.0 124.7 110.7 45.0 20.1 6.6 4.1 6.9 11.2 46.2 89.7 104.1 710.2
Source: "Climatography of the United States," National Climatic Data Center (www.ncdc.noaa.gov)



The 2010 United States Census[5] reported that Half Moon Bay had a population of 11,324. The population density was 1,757.1 people per square mile (678.4/km²). The racial makeup of Half Moon Bay was 8,580 (75.8%) White, 82 (0.7%) African American, 71 (0.6%) Native American, 490 (4.3%) Asian, 9 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 1,710 (15.1%) from other races, and 382 (3.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3,563 persons (31.5%).

The Census reported that 11,306 people (99.8% of the population) lived in households, 18 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 4,149 households, out of which 1,264 (30.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 2,373 (57.2%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 293 (7.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 156 (3.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 208 (5.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 41 (1.0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,067 households (25.7%) were made up of individuals and 538 (13.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72. There were 2,822 families (68.0% of all households); the average family size was 3.24.

The population was spread out with 2,533 people (22.4%) under the age of 18, 796 people (7.0%) aged 18 to 24, 2,587 people (22.8%) aged 25 to 44, 3,644 people (32.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,764 people (15.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.2 years. For every 100 females there were 95.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.

There were 4,395 housing units at an average density of 682.0 per square mile (263.3/km²), of which 2,944 (71.0%) were owner-occupied, and 1,205 (29.0%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 1.9%. 7,645 people (67.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 3,661 people (32.3%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 11,842 people, 4,004 households, and 2,774 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,829.8 people per square mile (706.7/km²). There were 4,114 housing units at an average density of 635.7 per square mile (245.5/km²).

There were 4,004 households out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.3% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.7% were non-families. 23.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 31.9% from 25 to 44, 28.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 112.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $78,473, and the median income for a family was $92,204. Males had a median income of $60,913 versus $41,265 for females. The per capita income for the city was $37,963. 6.1% of the population and 3.4% of families were below the poverty line. 7.0% of those are under the age of 18 and 6.2% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.


In the state legislature Half Moon Bay is located in the 8th Senate District, represented by Democrat Leland Yee, and in the 19th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Jerry Hill. Federally, Half Moon Bay is located in California's 14th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +18[7] and is represented by Democrat Anna Eshoo.



Half Moon Bay began as a rural agriculture area, primarily used for grazing of cattle, horses, and oxen used by Mission San Francisco de Asis (established in June 1776). Following the secularization of the Mission, Tiburcio Vásquez received the Rancho Corral de Tierra Mexican land grant in 1839 and Candelario Miramontes was granted Rancho Miramontes (later known as Rancho San Benito) in 1841.

The community began to develop in the 1840s as the first real town in San Mateo County. Known originally as San Benito, the town was renamed Spanishtown and attracted a thriving fishing industry in addition to its continued importance to coastal agriculture. Spanishtown became a racially diverse community, settled by Canadians, Chinese, English, Germans, Irish, Mexicans, Italians, Scots, Portuguese, and Pacific Islanders. Regular stagecoach service was established with San Mateo; coaches also served the communities of Purissima, Lobitos, and San Gregorio. Levy Brothers opened a department store in downtown Half Moon Bay. Spanishtown was officially renamed Half Moon Bay in 1874.

The area grew very slowly, even after the Ocean Shore Railroad began serving the community in 1907. The construction of Pedro Mountain Road in 1914 provided better access to San Francisco and probably contributed to the demise of the railroad by 1920. During Prohibition "rum runners" took advantage of dense fog and hidden coves in the area to serve a number of roadhouses and inns, some of which operate today as restaurants. Real growth in the area came after World War II with the construction of numerous subdivisions, eventually leading to the incorporation of Half Moon Bay in 1959. The city preserves a historic downtown district which includes historic buildings dating as far back as 1869.

Due to the financial setbacks from a large legal settlement and a poor economy, Half Moon Bay is currently considering major cuts to city services and possibly disincorporating.[8] Under a disincorporation plan, Half Moon Bay would revert to an unincorporated area within San Mateo County. Tax revenues would flow to the county, which would remain responsible for police and road maintenance. Current Half Moon Bay residents would remain responsible for the bond payments resulting from the legal settlement, which would be added as a lien on their properties.

Half Moon Bay is featured in various shots of the music video for "Not As We" by Alanis Morissette.


Odwalla is based in Half Moon Bay.

Top employers

According to the City's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[9] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Ritz-Carlton 550
2 Nurserymen's Exchange 400
3 Bay City Flower 340
4 Cabrillo Unified School District 206
5 Half Moon Bay Golf Links 201
6 Sam's Chowder House 140
7 Ledyard Company 120
8 Safeway 120
9 Coastal Repertory Theatre 100
10 Ox Mountain Sanitary Landfill (Allied Waste Industries) 100

Pillar Point Harbor

Aerial view of Pillar Point Harbor. View is to the east.

The Pillar Point Harbor at the northern edge of Half Moon Bay offers a protected landing for boats and provides other marine infrastructure. In the late 1980s a new master plan was developed for the Harbor.[10] A variety of fish species have been identified in the harbor area. The most abundant fish include flatfish, particularly the speckled sanddab (Citharichthys stigmaeus) and the commercially important English sole (Parophrys vetulus), several species of rockfish[disambiguation needed ] (Sebastes sp.) with boccacio (S. paucispinis) most abundant, many members of the surfperch family, the most abundant being shiner (Cymanogaster aggregata) and dwarf surfperches (Micrometrus minimus), and the commercially important Pacific herring (Clupea harengus). Smaller populations of many other species, including significant commercial or sport species such as various surfperch, flatfish including halibut (Paralichthys californicus), lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus), and cabezon (Scoraenichthys marmotarus) also are found in the harbor during the summer. Abundant winter species include starry flounder (Platichthys stellatus) and topsmelt (Atherinops affinis).[11] At Pillar Point Harbor, fishermen sell crab and fish catches straight off their boats at discount prices directly to the public, and restaurants will fillet the fish for purchasers.[12]

Local attractions

Video game bus in Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay hosts its Art and Pumpkin Festival on Main Street downtown in October.

Cameron's Pub restaurant, located in Half Moon Bay off State Route 1, owns the "World's Only Double Decker Video Game Bus." For the adults, Cameron's also owns the "World's Only Double Decker Smoking Bus".

The remnants of the village of Purissima, perhaps the only ghost town in San Mateo County, are four miles (6 km) south of the city, near the junction of State Route 1 and Verde Road.

The Best Western Half Moon Bay Lodge is located adjacent to the Half Moon Bay Golf Links.

The Ritz-Carlton hotel chain operates a hotel located along the city's southern coast and is surrounded by Half Moon Bay Golf Links.

At the north edge of Half Moon bay is the famous big wave surf area, Mavericks, off Pillar Point, where pro surfers challenge waves over 50 feet (15 m) and two professional surfers, Mark Foo and Sion Milosky, have died.

Montara Mountain, located North of Half Moon Bay, is a popular outdoor recreation spot, and home to the old Highway 1. Visitors to the Harbor have the chance to purchase freshly caught sea food straight off the boat.

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, located just North of Half Moon Bay past the small airport, is a natural refuge for plants and animals adapted to live at the edge of the ocean.

Half Moon Bay, and the areas immediately around host several state parks and beaches, including:

Local news sources

The Half Moon Bay area is served by the Half Moon Bay Review, the city's only newspaper, which has been in existence since 1898. Three online news sources also serve the city and the surrounding area: Coastsider, Montara Fog, and the local edition of Patch.


The World War II United States Navy seaplane tender USS Half Moon (AVP-26) was named for Half Moon Bay, and retained the name when serving as a United States Coast Guard weather reporting ship USCGC Half Moon for more than 20 years after the war.


The town is served by Half Moon Bay Airport.

SamTrans bus #294 provides service to Half Moon bay from the Hillsdale Caltrain station in San Mateo.


The Cabrillo Unified School District serves the city. Schools in Half Moon Bay include Half Moon Bay High School, Cunha Middle School and Hatch Elementary School although many students are bused to other Cabrillo Unified Schools (Farallone View Elementary and El Granada Elementary) in the unincorporated area north of the City.

The city is served by the Peninsula Library System.


The Odwalla Headquarters in Half Moon Bay  
Hills in Half Moon Bay  
Main Street  
Downtown Half Moon Bay  

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Census
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  3. ^ http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?ca3714
  4. ^ National Weather Service
  5. ^ All data are derived from the United States Census Bureau reports from the 2010 United States Census, and are accessible on-line here. The data on unmarried partnerships and same-sex married couples are from the Census report DEC_10_SF1_PCT15. All other housing and population data are from Census report DEC_10_DP_DPDP1. Both reports are viewable online or downloadable in a zip file containing a comma-delimited data file. The area data, from which densities are calculated, are available on-line here. Percentage totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. The Census Bureau defines families as a household containing one or more people related to the householder by birth, opposite-sex marriage, or adoption. People living in group quarters are tabulated by the Census Bureau as neither owners nor renters. For further details, see the text files accompanying the data files containing the Census reports mentioned above.
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". Campaign Legal Center Blog. http://www.clcblog.org/blog_item-85.html. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  8. ^ Julia Scott (27 August 2010). "The end of Half Moon Bay?". San Meteo County Times. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_15920803. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  9. ^ City of Half Moon Bay CAFR
  10. ^ Callander Associates, Pillar Point Harbor East Harbor Master Plan, December 21, 1988)
  11. ^ Environmental Impact Report for the Pillar Point East Harbor Master Plan, Earth Metrics Inc., prepared for the San Mateo County Harbor District, February, 1989
  12. ^ "FishFone". http://www.smharbor.com/pillarpoint/. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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