Half Moon Bay is a great bike-camping destination south of San Francisco. It's a moderate and breathtaking 30 miles ride from the city. And with the addition of the Cabrillo Highway tunnel it is now a safe and fast ride (the fabled Devil's Slide or Planet of the Apes routes are no longer necessary). The route below takes you off of HWY 1 most of the way from the right after the exit of the tunnel to the campground -- it makes for a relaxing oceanside ride through Half Moon Bay. In fact, the whole ride connects you with the ocean, as you ramble south from San Francisco, along Ocean Beach through to Daly City where you climb up up and descend through to lovely Pacifica. The town of Pacifica makes for a nice lunch stop before you do a bit of a climb along a rather traffic-heavy, narrow shouldered stretch of the Cabrillo Hwy. Don't fret it's pretty short, a 5-10 min ride in all. You soon reach the tunnel where you can fly through on a wide shoulder, which gives way to a stunning view of the Pacific. Then it's pretty much smooth sailing to camp.
Half Moon Bay State Beach has a decent hiker-biker area ($5/night per biker, at last count) that's basically a patch of grass with a few cypress trees, picnic tables, and fire pits with grills. It's a park frequented by long distance bike tourists doing the Pacific Coast route, so you're likely to meet some interesting bike people in the summer and fall. It's also supremely close to the beach, you're maybe a couple of hundred yards off, and you can hear the crash of the waves as you go to bed and wake up in the morning. Beyond the dunes you'll see from the hiker-biker site, it's a pretty special and beautiful place (see pictures below). There's also a bathroom with showers right close, so you're pretty well set up.
Food and Groceries
New Leaf Community Market (1/2 mi. from camp) - A large grocery store with everything you could need. An impressive salad bar, with fresh hot soups, along with a full deli. A great place to pick up anything you could want to cook a full meal over th(e campfire or to pick up something ready-made. An expansive beer selection too.
Half Moon Bay Farmer's Market (Sat 9a-1p; 1/2 mi. from camp) - Lots of local organic produce and a few great bakeries are highlights in this compact, yet well-rounded farmer's market. A must check-out for Saturday breakfast!
Alternative Ride Home
Instead of retracing the ride back, we favor the challenging climb up Tunitas Creek Rd. over the mountain to catch the Redwood City CalTrain home. It's one of the most stunning rides we know of: lined with redwoods, almost no cars, serenely quiet, and lots of twists and turns. A must if you love to climb! We also highly recommend a stop at the Bike Hut, a self-serve (honor system!) cafe created just for cyclists on the edge of an organic farm (see photos above). It's on Tunitas Creek Road, about a half mile from HWY 1, right before the climbing through the redwoods begins.