Not only is California a big state, it is a very scenic state. We have driven and explored many of it’s highways over the last eight years. There are still some parts that we have not covered. All the roads we traveled on have been scenic. There are some states that are just boring to drive through, at least in my eyes, but not California!
Our main goal this trip was to arrive at Half Moon Bay and set up camp for six weeks. From there we would explore the San Francisco Bay Area and spend a lot of time with our son’s family, who are a mere thirty minute drive away.
There are many areas of California that have captured my heart, but I have to say the coast pulls at my heartstrings. All of California’s coast is dramatic with it’s towering cliffs and jagged shoreline. I enjoyed morning walks along coastal trails as well as bike rides with my husband.
We made a day trip to Santa Cruz, stopping along the way to admire the magnificent coast, stopping at Pigeon Point Lighthouse and even walking down to the beaches. In Santa Cruz they have a boardwalk with shops and carnival rides, which didn’t appeal to us. We really didn’t see a place to eat that interested us, so we set our sights on the Wharf. There is parking on it and quite a few restaurants to choose from. A local had recommended Stagnaro Bros. Restaurant and we were not disappointed with the view, service or food. I had crab cakes and a cup of clam chowder, both were outstanding. John had seared tuna on a bed of sea weed that was also outstanding. It was pricey, but then everything in California is. On the way back to my son’s house, we stopped at one of the many roadside farm stands to buy chocolate covered strawberries. My granddaughters loved that treat.
We have visited San Francisco before, did a tour there, visited Fisherman Wharf and China Town, so those things were not on our list to do this time. Alcatraz was though! It was a very interesting tour. Did you know that Alcatraz was known to have the best food in our prison system? They say there was not a successful escape, but five prisoners are listed as missing and presumed drowned. Al Capone was their most famous prisoner. The view of San Francisco from their recreational yard must had been a psychological punishment.
We discovered a lovely winery while driving along the scenic Skyland Blvd. We drove through Thomas Fogarty Winery and Vineyards, but did not have time to do the tour and wine tasting. I really meant to get back to it on another day. We have toured Nappa Valley on a previous trip and found it to be delightful. I enjoy wine and find wineries alluring. Driving Skland Blvd. allows you fantastic views of the valleys on both sides.
There are lots of hiking trails in the Bay Area, and we took advantage of this a few times. We hiked a coastal trail, through a redwood trail and even a trail in our son’s neighborhood. There were always nice views and a chance for a little exercise.
We stayed at three campgrounds in Halfmoon Bay. Half Moon Bay RV Park was the first one, where we spent five nights. It is behind Cameron’s Pub. We found it to be quiet and very friendly, but very dusty. Then we moved to Pelican Point RV Park, just a little outside of town. We spent four weeks there. We had a view of a golf course in front and if nobody was camped in the sites to our right, we had a small view of the ocean. There is a short trail to ocean access and the coastal trail where you can walk, jog or ride bikes. Reservations for October need to be made in advance. They really book up on weekends due to beautiful weather, pumpkin farms and a Pumpkin Festival.
After that point, we didn’t have reservations. We wanted to stay a little longer and to also see how we would like Pillar Point RV Park. Pillar Point is right on the ocean and is first come first serve. Sunday and Monday are the best days of getting in. They also have a website that they update several times a day telling you how many sites are available. We moved in on a Tuesday to an ocean view site. I think it helped that we were only 15 minutes away. You can arrive as early as you want. We stayed six nights. It is like a big parking lot, with sites that are a little tight, but the view can’t be beat. You can watch the surfers to the left of the campground and there is a nice beach in front. Several restaurants are within easy walking distance. However, they don’t have laundry services. The biggest drawback to us was the road noise. There was road noise all the time, but we drowned it out at night with a portable fan.
We left Halfmoon Bay to start our trip home. More on that in the next blog.