Half Moon Bay Camping

The Best Half Moon Bay Camping

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Half Moon Bay is the ideal location to explore all the fascinating places around the California region, from wine tasting to whale watching there’s no shortage of things to do.

I’ve selected three places within an hours’ drive of the area so hire a car if you fancy a few day trips, or hunker down and enjoy a week in a relaxing forest by the lake if you’d prefer a few chilled out days enjoying the brilliant views from your tent.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your tent and your camping gear and head out and see what you will find with my list of the best Half Moon Bay camping.

Camping in Half Moon Bay

Where can I camp in Half Moon Bay?

Sweetwood Campground

Half Moon Bay Camping - Sweetwood Campground

The shore near Sweetwood Campground
Francis Beach, Half Moon Bay State Park by courtney johnston is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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This is one of the best places for families to head out on a summer camping trip, there’s plenty of space for everyone, plus there’s an easy trail to set off down first thing which is a moderate route suitable for everyone.

Visit Sweetwood Campground


Butano State Park

Half Moon Bay Camping - Butano State Park

Walking in Butano State Park
Butano State Park by David Baron is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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This campsite is brilliant if you’d like the shelter of the nearby forest and enjoy outdoor activities. There are over 40 miles of hiking trails spread over four thousand acres of canyons and uplands. Along the route you’ll come across various wildlife and plants including woodpeckers and calypso orchids.

Visit Butano State Park


Francis Beach

Half Moon Bay Camping - Francis Beach
A beach south of San Francisco
Relaxing near Francis Beach
Beach near Half Moon Bay CA – January 31- 2010 (24-29) by Michele Ursino is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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Francis Beach is one of the largest areas of Half Moon Bay beach and has over 50 sites for you to pitch your tent. There’s also a ‘hike and bike’ area if you’re only passing through and staying for a single night. It’s worth noting that these sites have a maximum number of people – 8 – so if you’re a larger group than this, have a look somewhere else.

Visit Francis Beach Campground

What’s there to do in Half Moon Bay?

Half Moon Bay Camping - Half Moon Bay

Visiting Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay by Mitchel Jones is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Aside from the obvious – the multiple beaches – half moon bay has plenty to keep your family entertained. There’s the Fitzgerald Marina reserve and Mavericks, which is a hotspot for any keen surfers out there. Head to Poplar beach for a spot of sunbathing or fishing or even a picnic, or head over to Half Moon Bay State beach for the usual tourist attractions.

Camping in San Francisco

Where can I camp in San Francisco?

Kirby Cove Campground

Half Moon Bay Camping - Kirby Cove

The View from Kirby Cove Campground
view from our campsite by madichan is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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Under ten miles from San Francisco lies Kirby Cove which is famous for it’s breathtaking views of the city in the distance. From here you can also enjoy the great views of the Golden Gate Bridge. To get to the site there’s a steep, mile-long trail to the the parking area but you’ll see some beautiful trees along the way.

Visit Kirby Cove Campground


Rob Hill Campground

Half Moon Bay Camping - Rob Hill

Toasting Smores at Rob Hill Campground
smores – Rob Hill Campground by Anza Trail NPS is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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This campsite is perched on the top of the hill, as the name suggests, so any people from the city will appreciate the sounds of nature. From the site you can enjoy the amazing skyline of the city while being hidden in the wooded areas of the region.

Visit Rob Hill Campground


Anthony Chabot Campground

Half Moon Bay Camping - Anthony Chabot

Hiking near Anthony Chabot Campground
Lake Chabot hike, Castro Valley Oct 2014 by Calmuziclover is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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This campsite is about a 20 minute drive from the city and situated in Castro Valley. It’s completely engulfed by the surrounding woods and sits on the edge of the lake so it’s picturesque from every angle. Each tent site is separated by a few pine trees so it feels quite private.

Visit Anthony Chabot Campground

What is there to do in San Francisco?

Half Moon Bay Camping - Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge. by Bernard Spragg. NZ is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Where to begin? Around the city area you’ll find the Golden Gate Bridge, and the park where you can enjoy the gardens, trails, museums and various festivals throughout the year. There’s also Pier 59 which holds a variety of upmarket food restaurants and family-friendly activities.

Then there’s Alcatraz Island, where you can indulge in wine tasting, sailing or visit the infamous lighthouse.

Santa Cruz

Where can I camp in Santa Cruz?

Koa Santa Cruz Campground

Half Moon Bay Camping - KOA Santa Cruz

Campground at Koa Santa Cruz
Summer Camp Out by Jennifer Carole is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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This campsite is surf themed for all pro-surfers in the family! It’s a huge campground with over 200 sites from tents to luxury cabins so you can choose accommodation to suit your needs. It’s a real wonderland for families, as each site has it’s own table and firepit along with having golf courses, a pool and a bouncing platform nearby to entertain the kids.

Visit Koa Santa Cruz Campground


Big Basin Redwoods State Park Campground

Half Moon Bay Camping - Big Basin Redwoods Campground

Exploring near Big Basin Redwoods State Park Campground
Look Up! by trevorklatko is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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This is California’s oldest state park and by god is it a beauty. You’ll get to see the magnificent coast redwoods hidden waterfalls and nearly 100 miles of trails to explore. There’s a variety of camping options available including ‘car camping’ and options to kit your tent out before you even get there, meaning all you have to worry about is the directions!

Visit Big Basin Redwoods State Park Campground


New Brighton State Beach Campground

Half Moon Bay Camping - New Brighton State Beach Campground

New Brighton State Beach
New Brighton State BeachbyMartin Jambon is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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This site is the perfect mix of sun and shade, as it’s right by the seaside but also covered by the beautiful trees running down the shore. The views will quite literally take your breath away so if you choose to camp here be sure to be snap happy from the moment you wake up. Head down to the sea to kayak or paddleboard to your heart’s content.

New Brighton State Beach Campground

What is there to do in Santa Cruz?

Half Moon Bay Camping - Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz Shoreline
20784-santa cruz island coastbyoliver.dodd is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Head to Santa Cruz for a relaxing camping holiday by the sea, enjoy a peaceful stroll down the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk and have a go at some of the games at the iconic amusement park. Go out whale watching at Monterey Bay or try your hand at kayaking. If nature is more your thing, head to the Natural Bridges State Beach where you might catch a glimpse of a shorebird or even a seal.


I can’t wait to go back to Half Moon Bay. Taking your better half? Check out our best double sleeping bags.

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