Four miles of broad, sandy beaches stretch out to welcome visitors to Half Moon Bay. Campground amenities include water and sewer hookups are not available, but there is a dump station and a water filling station. Some campsites have electrical hookups. Rental RV’s are not allowed to be dropped off or picked up from the park. Coin-operated hot showers are also available. (approximately 2 minutes per quarter). Francis Beach Campground camping offers 52 individual sites, some suitable for tent camping, others for trailers or recreational vehicles.
Campsite Review: 2/5 Stars
Half Moon Bay State Beach – Francis Beach Campground State Beach Phone # (650) 726-8819
I find it a little disappointing just how close the campsites are to each other here, meaning you’re not going to get anything close to a secluded camping experience. The facilities were dirty/sandy (although you are right on the beach), probably because not only are they being overused by day trippers to the beach and the many campers. Although, they do have coin-operated hot showers available (2 minutes per quarter). They really do pack in the 50+ sites here although there are 3 walk-in sites with great views over the beach and of the ocean, which are separated from the RV (up to 40’) mad house, but then you’re right by all of the day use people and even more out in the open as there is literally no coverage at all. The RV sites have electric hook-ups and there are shared water spigots (not hook-ups).
All of these are reservable by phone at 1-800-444-PARK (7275) or online at www.reservecalifornia.com/ ($35 for tent, $56 or $65 for RV and a $7.99 online fee)
Dogs are allowed at the campsite on leash, but not on the beaches here at all (Although horses are… Guess only one animal per “beach”). If you want a dog friendly beach go just a little south to Poplar Beach where the doggos can roam free off leash and have a blast.
The State Beach Park itself is very tiny. $10 to park, there’s a small visitor centers, beautiful beaches, nice scenery, not a lot of vegetation. From here you have access to the 4-ish mile long Half Moon Bay coastal walking/bike trail which runs right through the back of the campground and into the “park”, and of course there are ~4 miles of sandy beaches to enjoy. Should you need connectivity there is actually (unsecured) wi-fi provided by the park and adequate cell coverage!!
For me personally the campground only gets 2/5 stars :
Overall, remember that while you have great access to the beach and the campground is pet friendly you’re definitely, not exactly going to get a remote camping experience and the dog beach is a little way away. The facilities are a bit dirty and jam packed and could be a little better maintained.
Gear Review: 4/5 Stars
As a Ranger for The Dyrt I sometimes get the opportunity to test out products and what I got to use during this trip as a day pack during this trip was Ethnotek’s Setia 20 Liter backpack. While listed as a laptop backpack I used it to store my snack, water bladder/bottle and other first aid type items. I used the laptop pouch to hold the water bladder and ran my tube out the side. Worked perfectly!! For being a compact backpack, I really liked that it has both padded shoulder straps with a slide adjusting sternum strap and the raised lower back padding which made for a comfy fit and allowed a bit of airflow.
I also like that it’s water resistant and contains a hidden built-in rainfly, not that it has rained once since I’ve moved out to Northern California, but it is foggy and a bit damp first thing in the morning. The top zippered pocket in the top hood is the perfect size for items which you’ll want to have easy quick access to like; IDs, credit cards, extra sunscreen, etc. The main pocket is easily accessible via either the drawstring at the top or the side zipper so you can grab things out of the bottom without having to root around through everything in the pack. I do appreciate the laptop compartment, but for a more urban commuter bag I think this would be better utilized with additional pockets to separate out your work items and as a day-pack I think the laptop sleeve would be better utilized as a water bladder holder if there was a slot to pull the tube through.
The only real drawback I had with this gear was that the side zipper doesn’t have a lock of sort for security. I like that there are the 2 zippers, but I think that having some sort of webbing across the zipper so that you could place them both on that side making it a little more difficult for someone walking behind/beside you to just unzip the side and pull out items. This added security isn’t really needed if you’re out hiking, but if you’re commuting in a large city or on crowded public transportation could really save you from losing some valuables.
Overall, I give the bag 4/5 stars. I really love the company’s mission of keeping culture alive by creating high quality laptop and travel bags that feature ethically sourced handmade textiles. The back is extremely comfortable and has a ton of great features, but I think there are just a few minor tweaks which would make it truly unsurpassable.
· Water resistant 840 denier ballistic nylon main bag fabric
· Built-in handmade textile paneling. Exterior & interior.
· Left side zip gusset pocket for water bottle & quick-grab accessories
· Back-right side zip pocket to access main internal compartment volume
· Main compartment can also be accessed by its large drawstring cinch top
· Main compartment is sealed with a buckle clipped top hood
· A zipper pocket is built into the top hood for easy access storage
· Padded shoulder straps with slide adjusting sternum strap for comfortably fit while wearing
· Built-in rain cover tucks into and can be removed from the bottom of the bag’s back panel
· YKK® zippers
The hike and bike area is next to the RV hookup sites, and it can get a good bit of foot traffic. Restrooms/showers were dirty, but that seems to be from the day visitors to the beach. It was cool and breezy, but still enjoyable on the beach.
HMB in general is pretty cold and foggy most of the year, but I was most recently at this campground on Christmas and it was gorgeous. I would recommend going in the fall if you want sunny weather.
The campsites are not very private, but every time I’ve camped here the people around us have been nice. You can bike or walk a trail here that goes pretty far up and down the coast. The sunsets here are amazing.
If you go in the fall, make sure to check out the nearby crab fishing at Half Moon Bay pier. You can buy fresh Dungeness crabs right off a boat and you can get them steamed at the pier.
This campground has a beach that dogs are allowed to walk on and beautiful places to hike. There is horse back riding available and coin operated hot showers. Great campgrounds.
Tiny little campground on one of the most beautiful beaches. Very peaceful and quiet!
Pitching a tent at the Francis Beach campground was a mixed experience for us. The 3 walk-up sites (36-38) were right up against the beach, which was nice. We arrived on a Sunday night and the beach (open to non-campers) was a madhouse, and people were using all the picnic tables despite no one camping in our area. By the end of the day the bathrooms were in very rough shape. Considering the $35 price tag to pitch a tent, we were a bit disappointed. The campground is likely much nicer in the middle of the week when there aren’t so many people.
Loved camping here! So peaceful, easily accessible from San Francisco
Getting there: Easy from anyplace in the bay. The 92 into Half Moon Bay tends to get a lot of traffic as it's only 1 lane each direction. The beach is right off where the 92 and PCH meet up and is super easy to find. Campsites: The campsites are close to each other, your not going to get a 'secluded' camping experience here. The facilities were kinda dirty, probably because they are overused by day trippers to the beach and not just campers. The sunset, beautiful. The stars, scarce with the fog and ambient light from all the surrounding cities. Dogs are allowed at the campsite on leash, but not on the beaches here at all. If you want a dog friendly beach go just a little south to Poplar Beach where the pups can roam free off leash and have a blast. The Park: Tiny. Beautiful beaches, nice scenery, not a lot of vegetation. What to do: If you want to swim, surf, or just watch the sunset this could be the campground for you. If you want to hike, be alone in nature, or have a secluded experience then go someplace else like Big Sur. There was a LOT of trash on the beach when we were there (beer bottles, red solo cups, bonfire wood/ash). I'm sure this is an isolated incident of some assholes trashing the beach to party, but it should be noted.
The location is great. The cost is reasonable. The views are great. The bathrooms are extremely dirty most of the time though. The beach has some trash, depending on the season. There is not much privacy from other campground plots but the commute to beaches south and San Fran to the north is easy. Overall, fun place but not exactly a remote camping experience.